A Stella Release Day Review: No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes


RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Wyatt Findley is an up-and-coming artist, attending a prestigious art institute in St. Louis. His mentor, Lukas Callahan, has snagged a sweet house-sitting job for him in a gorgeous home in a well-to-do part of town. Wyatt can’t help but notice two men who live just across the street.

They make an odd couple, since there must be a good twenty years difference between them. And yet there is something about the younger man that calls to Wyatt.

Shylor Lind has been living with Randy Grant for fifteen years, ever since Grant hired Shy’s mother as his live-in housekeeper. But five years ago, their relationship changed when Shy’s mother sold him to Grant and took the money and ran. Since then, Randy has been training Shy to be his submissive, dominating him in every way. There is nothing Shy can do about the situation, and he has nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

And then Wyatt enters his life… and nothing will ever be the same, as Wyatt engages in a battle for Shy’s very soul.

No Way Out was not an easy book to read for me, it deals with some very sensible themes, not all readers can feel comfortable with them. So my advice is to read the blurb carefully, check the tags and when you have all the info, decide to give it a chance or not. Personally I picked the story because I loved the author when she wrote the Crescent Bay Chronicles Series and other titles too.

Although hard to read, I deeply enjoyed the novel, I found it well done and developed. I have to say I particularly liked the character of Wyatt, always so caring and mindful with Shy. Sure, he had no idea how to approach and relate with someone so clueless about everything that happens in the world like Shy, someone who had known nothing outside of his role as slave.

While I adored Wyatt, I had huge doubts on Shy and his personality. A couple of times i have to admit I was scared the author was going to make a huge mess. Because, let’s be honest, she chose to write about a complicated matter, I don’t think it was easy to define and give a life to a character so abused. I was really afraid I wasn’t able to feel him, instead his subtle strength flourished with the help of a gentle man.

At the end, with No Way Out I got a lovely story, sweet and simple yes, but so full of life and hope, so much hope. And now I am very curious to know what it will be of Shy, to see him one more time in the real life he missed for so many years.

The cover art by Christine Coffee is beautiful, it depicts the novel perfectly, all the colours, the lights and the darks, well balanced exactly how well balanced in the plot where all the scenes. I love it.

SALE LINKS  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon


The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit https://www.nokidhungry.org/

ebook, 200 pages

Publication Date: August 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781640804982

Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Review: Moro’s Price by M Crane Hana


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Crown Prince, techno-geek, and secret sadomasochist Valier has lusted for years after the gorgeous gladiator called “The Diamond.” Meeting the escaped slave on a rooftop, Valier discovers Moro Dalgleish wants suicide before his former masters can reclaim him.

Infected with a deadly symbiont, Valier proposes empty sex to satisfy his urges and grant Moro’s release from a horrible life. Neither man plans for Moro to survive, or how the morning after will shake three empires to their foundations.

Okay, first of all you should be aware that this story is full of triggers. There’s lots of violence, rape, brainwashing, torture and suicidal thoughts, amongst others. If you’re easily triggered, stay away from this book. It’s incredibly dark.

Now, I have a thing for slave stories and it’s no big secret I love SciFi. “Moro’s Price” was an excellent combination of both. The world Moro and Val live in is very dark and complex. I liked the world the author created, even though it could have used a bit more worldbuilding. A hastily thrown together glossary at the end is NOT enough. The author does mention that there are more books set in this universe, which apparently have more world building. If I can ever find those books, I’m definitely interested.

I immediately found myself rooting for Moro. He’s suffered through incredible things and still there’s a strength in him. He’s not completely broken. Sometimes, his recovery around Val seemed a bit too fast and also a bit inconsistent, though. But I guess that’s kind of to be expected. His new situation isn’t exactly easy.

Val is a bit obnoxious at times. He’s cocky and arrogant, which has a lot to do with his royal heritage. But most of the time he just made for an interesting contrast to Moro.

The sex scenes were hot. Val is a sadist at heart, though he doesn’t live it out too much with Moro. Both Val and Moro have a strong bond to Cama, the goddess of Val’s people. It’s a bit like there are two minds living inside Val. There’s one sex scene between Moro and Cama, but it’s not overly explicit. The sex scenes between Val and Moro and the scenes of Moro being raped are much more explicit.

Aside from the slightly lacking worldbuilding, which left me a bit confused at times, the SciFi plot was intriguing. There’s lots of potential and I seriously hope there’ll be a second book in this series.

Honestly, if you like dark SciFi slave stories, then you should definitely give this a try. Just don’t expect a light, easy read!

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow does an excellent job with the cover and subject matter.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Published June 26th 2017 by NineStar Press

An Ali Audiobook Review: Violated by Jamie Fessenden and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Violated audiobook coverDerek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.

One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.

Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.

This was a very emotional story.  Derek is content with his life if not happy.  When he is violated by his friend he realizes how much he doesn’t like some aspects of his life.  He does everything he can to deal on his own without anyone’s help until he pretty much loses everything except his dog and cabin.  Russ can’t help but tell there is something wrong with his new neighbor and will do anything he can to help Derek and help him move forward.

You can’t help but connect with the characters and feel just how they are.  I could feel how desperate and isolated Derek felt about what happened to him and how hurt Russ is for Derek when he is told the story.  It takes awhile for Derek to fully open up to anyone and begin to move forward in his life after all that has happened.  This story had a great HFN ending a couple years in the future.  It made it more believable because with all that happened there really isn’t any way that everything would suddenly work out, they will always need to work thru their emotions together.

KC Kelly did a very nice job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters feel their emotions in his reading as he used different voices for the characters.

Cover art by LC Chase is perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 9 hrs 42 min
Published: March 21, 2016 (ebook first published August 7, 2015)
Edition Language: English

The Werewolves of Manhattan are Back in AC Katt’s ‘Marking Kane’ (excerpt and giveaway)


MarkingKane_WD (1)

Marking Kane (Werewolves of Manhattan #4) by A.C. Katt
Release Date: March 4, 2016

Goodreads Link:
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Lex Valentine


Gabriel Martin has hope. Three of the Alphas on the council have found mates in the past year and a half. Returning to New York from Atlanta, he comes across a human who has been raped in an alleyway. The human is his mate, Kane Brady.

Kane has been teaching at the local high school and refuses to rubber stamp the education of their star basketball players—almost paying the price with his life. He’s unusual as he’s a Human Omega but he can’t be intimate with Gabriel because of his horrific experience.

It’s up to the Alphas and their Mates to help Kane recover and accept all that it is to be with Gabriel.


Pages or Words: 51,655
Series is best read in order – His Omega, Remy’s Painter, Scarred Mate, Marking Kane
Categories: M/M Romance, Paranormal, Shifters (Wolf)


First Week in December Friday

The faculty room at New York City’s McClellan High School reeked of industrial strength cleaner, sweat socks, and chalk. The walls were made of dirty beige concrete blocks and the linoleum was beginning to crack. Today it was empty save for Coach Tom Hughes and Kane Brady, the junior year English teacher, who were involved in a heated exchange.

“Neither Johnny Sanders nor Deon Jackson did the work. They didn’t turn in one homework assignment all semester, they refused to take all of their tests and didn’t even bother to do their term papers. I have to fail them.”

“Do you realize that Johnny is the power forward and Deon is the point guard for McClellan High School’s basketball team? This year’s team has a shot at the state championship.”

“Tom, they’re not here to learn to play basketball, they can do that on the street or at the Y. They’re here for an education and they won’t get one if we continue to pass students along without them doing the work required to get a passing grade.”

“Are you telling me physical education isn’t important?” Coach loomed over Kane, who was only five-foot-six.

“Physical Education is as important as English is to their development. If they failed to show up for your class, sat on the sidelines for every exercise and disrupted the class on a regular basis what would you do? I know you’ve failed students.” Kane’s eyes blazed.

“I didn’t fail our two, star basketball players,” the Coach huffed.

“Talk to them about what happened. I didn’t want to be unreasonable so when I realized they were on the team and failing my class, I told the boys in November what they had to do to pass. I also told their parents. They didn’t do it. They didn’t turn in one missed homework assignment or the term paper I assigned in September.”

“They don’t have time for all that shit, they have to practice. The other teachers go along. This is your first year here. You fail Deon and Johnny and you’re out on your ear.” Coach drank the sludge they called coffee and stared at Kane pointedly.

“And I’m out on my ear if these kids don’t pass the standardized tests at the end of the school year.”

“There are ways of getting around that.” Coach Hughes was trying to physically intimidate him, and Kane wasn’t buying it.

“So which do you suggest, do I sacrifice their education so they graduate without being able to read passed a sixth-grade level? Or do you suggest I fail them and give them the incentive to pass next semester so they can play ball?”

“These boys can get scholarships for college if they play,” the coach said belligerently.

“And if they don’t do the work here, their professors will fail them because they can’t keep up and they won’t be able to play or pay for the education they were promised.” Kane was practically begging the coach to put the kids and their futures first.

“They have difficult lives at home.” The coach got sanctimonious.

“No, they don’t. They have both of their parents and both sets of parents work. Deon’s father is a policeman and Johnny’s mother is a nurse. I’ve spoken to them and they agree with my decision. Their boys have gotten out of hand. They are aware that their sons have not done any school work for the past two years, with the school turning a blind eye. As I said, I have their full support. The parents would rather have their sons educated than have them only know how to play basketball.”

“They don’t have the mental capacity to do the work.”

“I’d like to see you tell that to their parents. If they were incapable of doing the assignments, I’d suggest putting them in a remedial class, but they can do the work, they just refuse to do it.” Kane glared at the coach.

“One way or another, you’ll pay for this. Those kids were my ticket to coaching college ball and I’m not going to lose out because of you”,” Tom shouted. Kane shrunk back. The coach was six foot six and about two-hundred fifty pounds to his one-forty soaking wet.

“Get them another student to tutor them. If they catch up, I’ll change their grade,” Kane offered.

“Fuck you, Brady. Either you pass both Deon and Johnny, or you’ll pay the consequences. This is what happens when you let fags teach school.”

“I could have you fired for that remark.”

The coach pushed him up against a wall, shook him and said, “Buddy, you’re not going to be around long enough to complain.” He let Kane go and Kane slipped to the floor.

Tom Hughes tore out of the faculty room and down the corridor.

Kane had stood his ground but was shaking in his boots. He wished he had someone to talk to about this, but this was his first year teaching and since he came in August from Indiana, he hadn’t had time to make friends. The coach had been at the school for five years. What is my word worth against his?


The coach approached Johnny and Deon in the locker room. “He won’t budge. If you get your papers in, he’ll pass you, if you don’t you fail. You should have made a token effort.”

“Why should we have to be in class with a fag? Why would I want to do work for a fag? He needs schooling of a different kind. By the time Deon and I are through with him, there’ll be a new teacher in English three who gets how to play the game.” Johnny’s smile boded no good for Kane Brady.

“Yeah, let’s see how much he really likes to take it up the ass.” Deon poked his friend in the ribs. “We’ll make it a team effort.” Deon laughed out loud.

“Yeah sort of like a class project,” Johnny smirked.

“I didn’t hear you say that. Remember, if you get caught, it will go worse for you than if you fail,” Coach told them. “You’re courting jail time and then no college or pro team will have you.”

“You’re just as guilty as we are for encouraging us not to participate in that fag’s class and you’ve threatened other teachers before this.” Deon spat. “This one is the first one to face you down. The fag has balls, who knew?”

“If he fails us, you don’t get to coach college ball. If we get caught, you don’t get to coach college ball. It would be in your interest to let us know where he lives so we can take care of business, and to provide us with an alibi if we need one.” Johnny stood waiting for the requested information.

“He sometimes stays late to review papers and make up his lesson plans. You can follow him home. If you get caught, you’re on your own.”

“No, we’re not. You’re right there with us. We told you what we’re going to do, if you don’t report us, you’re as guilty as we are. But, we all know you won’t make any waves because you want that college coaching position.”

“All right, go, do your worst. If you get caught, I know nothing.”

“Right…” said Deon as he elbowed Johnny in the ribs and smirked.


Kane hadn’t realized it was after nine. He was grading papers. It was easier to do that at school. Here he could spread out unlike in his efficiency apartment. However, his apartment was only two blocks from work on the edge of New York’s trendy SOHO and convenient to shopping. It also had huge windows which let in more light than the usual city apartment. His was a neighborhood in flux. He lived in an old tenement and there was a pricey new high-rise down the block at Ten Sullivan. It was the tallest building in SOHO.

Kane sighed, gathered up his papers, put them in his satchel and closed up his classroom.

“Good night, Ernie,” he called to the janitor as he left the building.

“Good night Mr. Brady. You be careful. There’s a lot of snow and ice outside and they’re predicting another storm. Schools will probably be closed tomorrow.

“I’ll be careful. Thanks.”


Kane shivered in the cold. The walk home seemed more difficult tonight, feet dragging through the snow piles with the wind gusts almost picking him up off the ground. He kept on looking over his shoulder. Kane was sure someone was following him. Every time he glanced backward he saw shadows in doorways.

He looked around again and watched five boys in ski masks come out of an alley. They were walking quickly toward him, with seeming purpose. As they got closer, he realized that they were following him. He began to walk faster. They also picked up speed. Kane started to run.

Buy the book: MLR Press


Meet the Author

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC is a late bloomer, however, she claims to have found her niche writing LGBT romance.

She hangs out at ACKatt.com and ackattsjournal.com; where she keeps her blog. To get snippets of new releases and Works in Progress subscribe to AC Katt’s Kattery by sending an e-mail to mlhansel@gmail.com.

Where to find the author:


BannerTemplate Tour Dates & Stops: March 4, 2016

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Full set of ‘Werewolves of Manhattan’ by A.C. Katt.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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A Sammy Review: Better the Devil You Know by Bey Deckard


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Better The Devil You know cover“I am serious. I know I have your fear—and I thank you for that—but you’re only just tasting the beginning of what fear can do to you. I find that a good, firm grasp on fear and pain helps to create fertile ground for proper rehabilitation and personal growth… But don’t take my word for it. I just work here.”

Byron isn’t like other men. For those who go out on a weekend night to celebrate, he prefers to spend his time indoors with a victim, savagely ripping them to pieces. For him, it’s a source of joy. For him, it’s life.

But his own crimes and murders of over fifty people eventually catch up to him, and when it becomes time for his soul to be reaped, the devil himself comes to collect. Still, Hell’s never seen evil quite like Byron before, and it’ll take more than torture to get to his core.

The fear of death is what drives man to succumb to his pain—fear weakens the resolve. Without the fear of death, what is left?

Weak stomach? Like things light and fluffy? Then heed my warning and keep on going. This story is gore and macabre from beginning to end.

Verging on torture porn, Deckard manages to weave plot into an infinitely dark story. Bits of Byron’s life are given at times, playing the reader like a true fiddle. Out of nowhere comes sparks of an interesting and intriguing plot. There are times when you may wonder what the point of it is, why read something so dark? Maybe you’re sick, maybe not. No matter the answer, this story is a true mind fuck.

Small hints of something that may resemble pieces of romance take parts of the readers heart, drawing you into a connection that is manufactured for a purpose. To find out why, though, you must read to the very end.

Even more surprising than the conclusion (though I figured it out a bit before it was unraveled), is the little bits of humor. In a story so depraved, it seems impossible to smile, but then the author would throw in a little phrase here or some joke there and it’d break the darkness.

Paired with a dash of hotness, the story is a quick read, but not for the faint of heart by any means.

The cover by Bey Deckard fits the story. It’s dark and has a menacing feel.

Sales Link:   All Romance (ARe)  | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 128 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Bey Deckard
edition languageEnglish

A BJ Review: Kraken by M. Caspian


Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Looking for a spooky, creepy Halloween month read?! Check this one out!

Kraken: A gothic erotic horror with tentacle non-con.

Kraken coverWill MacKenzie’s boyfriend Parker gave him an ultimatum: move to a remote off-shote island with him or call it quits. Will initially chooses the latter but it rips his heart out. It doesn’t take him long to decide that he’d picked wrong, and he finds himself heading off into the unknown to fix his mistake. After a terrifying incident on the docks sets the mood for the excursion, Will is further chilled to find that most of the locals think they recognize him? And why can’t he seem to leave the island once he’s arrived?

Please do heed the reader advisory. This story contains scenes that may offend some people, including rape, extreme violence, tentacles, and reference to past sexual abuse of children.

If you can get on board with all that, then step right into a tale that is deliciously eerie right from the beginning with a bit of a gothic feel to it. Ominous and foreboding are good words to describe how this made me feel right off the bat. It made me shiver even as it gripped me and drew me inexorably in.

Next came enticing layer upon layer of mystery that kept me guessing as to exactly what the heck was going on. I encountered quite a few WTF moments before things began to become clear. And them, YIKES! It’s horrifying, and the author pulls no punches in describing that in detail for us folks. Strong visceral visual images abound.

Do not doubt it, this book is a m/m horror, genuine monster erotica—and it’s high on the gore and slime factor. Not recommended for the squeamish. Take a sociopath, cross him with tentacles, give him time to mature into a truly evil villain and you have the inkling of the idea of what a read is in for here.

One of the more unusual takes on shape shifters that I’ve encountered. Nice world-building. Well-rounded characters that grow and change throughout the story.

I’m not going to go into attempting to describe the plot, as it’s better that reader’s experience it for themselves. I’ll just say, it creeped me out, it made me shiver and shudder, it made me very glad I was nowhere near an island or a boat or an ocean or any body of water… but it held me spellbound as all was revealed.

If you’re looking for something unusual and dark with a satisfying ending, this author delivers up tentacle-sex with plot that fits that requirement in spades.

The cover is perfect for this story.

Sales Links:   Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 193 pages
Published December 22nd 2013 by M. Caspian
ISBN1311997350 (ISBN13: 9781311997357)
edition language English

A Stella Review: ACID by Wulf Francu Godgluck & S. van Rooyen



RATING 4,5 stars out of 5
(4 stars for the story and 5 for the cover, too beautiful to ignore!)
ACID cover

Dear Author,
This is obviously a real tough guy – he likes his guns, booze and cigarettes. His new robo arms are pretty damn awesome, even if the story of how he lost his normal arms isn’t pretty and it took a long time to get used to the new ones. He’s a man of action, not words, and you’ll never hear him spout sappy declarations of endless love. The love of his life clearly needs to be just as tough to keep up with him.

Basically, I want a story with this tough guy and his equally tough love interest(s). Romance shouldn’t be the main focus of this story, I want a kick-ass plot with at least a bit of world building, please! Established couple or not, ménage or not and the genre is up to you. Kinky sex would be a huge plus, but only if you can work it into the plot. I’m fine with whatever ending works for the story, I don’t need a HEA. Every shade of consent is fine by me. Kink-wise I’m pretty much open to anything, even extreme stuff like med-kink and sounding.

Photo Description (see it here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17401437-acid-by-wulf-franc-godgluck-s-van-rooyen-8-31):

A man with bionic mechanical arms sits in a dusky room holding a cigarette between his robotic fingers. A shot glass with amber liquid in his right hand. Faded scars and wounds cover his collar bone and abdomen; he stares at nothing, obviously bored with the world he lives in.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

Story and Content Information:
Genre:science fiction, horror

Tags:revenge, slaves, dystopian, genetic mutations, dark, cliff-hanger

Content Warnings: cannibalism, premastication, rape, forced pregnancy and childbirth (only mentioned), gore, extreme violence and murder, no HEA/HFN, and swearing (It’s Wulf Francú Godgluck; what else did you expect?)


“So, let’s get some shit cleared and out of the way. There aren’t many rules… but these are mine.
The first rule of ACID City: Avoid. Do not get involved in other people’s shit. People will fuck you over, in any way they can. And enjoy it.
Two: Lie. Everyone lies. There has not been hard, honest truth in this world for God knows how long. Except for one…
Three: Fake it. No one is who they seem— not even ourselves. Your heart will fuck you over. Your feelings are a bunch of shit made up to make you believe you once were human… but there might as well not be any more humans left. The ones that are… just don’t have the humanity to give a shit.
I broke every one of my own rules.
And I hate him for it.”

Please read the warnings because they are there for a reason, ACID is not for everyone so if you are not comfortable with dark books, don’t even think about reading this one.

This is not a nice story, you can’t sympathize with any one character. It is really violent, not just in the death scenes, too many times it was very disgusting.

The book is set in the ACID city, a dark place with no natural light, lived in by criminals and the altered (a new species created in laboratories where human DNA is been mixed with animal ones), there are no laws to obey, just stronger (or sicker) men to follow.

The Dark Heart Cartel is run by Vex Noux, a cryo-ibernated man with mechanical arms who woke up seven hundred years after his death and his life was nowhere to be found. He was married with Johan and had a son, Danny, who was only four when Vex had to leave to join the war, where four months later he died on the battlefield. He’s not a nice guy so don’t let you be moved by his story. There is not one drop of good feelings in it.

There are a lot of characters in ACID, like the gungers,the city enemies and slave traders or Jozi whose parents had been killed when they couldn’t afford the rent anymore and now he’s looking for revenge. But you are going to meet more, all of them well defined. As in the world development, amazing and so well done. Nothing is said in a general way, every little detail is well explained. It’s a complex world and it could have been difficult to follow it but the authors did  clear work, so there was no confusion for me.

Some parts are really hard to take, too strong even if you are used to reading dark stories. I overlooked them because I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, even if I shouldn’t have been surprised since I know Wulf’s mind , this is a scary place, ACID did surprise me. It’s a book full of hate, betrayal, f***ed up beings and things. They gave me chills more than once and the authors went often where they shouldn’t have gone. And of course I can’t talk about the ending but be ready for a big cliffhanger, something I was expecting from the start of the second half of the book. I have no clue who got the idea, I don’t know S. van Rooyen but I know Wulf and I was sure he would have created something twisted and cruel like that ending.

I still can’t believe it I liked this really sick (please let me use the adjective) story, but I couldn’t put it down for a minute, it was addictive, no other word can describe what I felt. Just a suggestion, if you’ll decide to give ACID a chance: don’t read it while having dinner as I did. Bad mistake!

Cover art by Wulf Francu Godgluck. I LOVE this cover so much! The lines, the front, the colors, everything is perfect. 5+ stars!

SALE LINKS (free) Goodreads M/M Romance Group


ebook, 78 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
Edition Language English


A Free Dreamer Review: The Demon You Know by Barbara Elsborg


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

the Demon You know coverA good demon?

Ezra is a timekeeper in Hell, responsible for building and maintaining the clocks that tick away eternal torment. He’s never believed he deserves to be in Hell, and when the reason he’s there is revealed, he’s horrified…yet filled with hope. But is this just another form of torture? When Ezra’s given a chance to go to the surface, he’s determined to uncover the truth, but his fellow demons seem just as determined he won’t survive the journey.

A bad angel?

Roman doesn’t understand why an angel who failed his training the first time round has been given the job of policing paranormals in the UK’s capital city. He’s consumed by unhappiness. He might not be in Hell, but sometimes it damn well feels like it.

When Roman meets Ezra his failings come back to haunt him. Ezra makes him want to break the rules, but an angel protecting a demon? Discovery would bring an eternity of suffering, and with a boss none other than the archangel Michael, it’ll take more than a miracle for the lovers to stand together.

Let me start off by saying that while this is part 3 of a series, it works perfectly fine as a stand alone. I didn’t even read the blurbs of the two other books before starting this one and I had absolutely no trouble understanding what’s going on.

You should also be aware that this is a pretty dark book. There’s rape, there’s dub-con, there’s violence and there’s depression and potentially suicidal thoughts. If that’s not your kind of thing, back away slowly.

So, there’s Ezra, sweet, gentle, good Ezra. He lives in Hell but has no idea why. Usually you have to be at least 16 before you’re sent to Hell. But not Ezra, who was apparently born in Hell. He works as a timekeeper, making sure the countless clocks that are part of the eternal torment of the demons are in working order. He’s different from the other demon. For one, he’s far smaller than even the females and he looks unusually normal. That makes him a prime victim to the other demons, who delight in making his life miserable. He was also chosen as one of a handful of demons to go to the surface and corrupt humans for a week. But Ezra has other plans: He wants to run, to hide, to never go back down to Hell again. He wants to see snow, see clouds and for once in his life to experience what it means to be cold.

Then there’s Roman, the jaded head of supernatural London, who makes sure the other supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, faeries, gargoyles) stick to the rules and remain undiscovered. He’s an angel, but not a very good one. Angels are supposed to be free of sin, yet he always lusts after other men. He’s very unhappy with his life. Maybe not exactly suicidal, but definitely close. He doesn’t care too much about whether he’s dead or alive one way or another.

Of course Roman is part of the team that has to catch the demons before they can do any serious harm. When Ezra and Roman meet, it’s lust at first sight. But why can’t Roman sense Ezra’s a demon? And how can an angel and a demon ever have a HEA?

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.

I liked both Roman and Ezra from the beginning. They were nice guys. Though in Ezra’s case, I’d have to say he was too nice. He was so very sweet and kind, even though he’s only ever known sorrow and pain. He’s been raped countless times, yet he’s all too happy to have a sexual relationship with Roman. The past abuse seems to have no effect on him whatsoever, except that he’s kind of sad and occasionally flinches back when Roman makes a sudden move. That’s something I definitely don’t like. If you’re going to include traumatizing events such as rape and abuse, make sure your character actually is traumatized. Rape doesn’t make you go all sweet and submissive and happy to be of help to strangers. Though I did like the way he acted otherwise, he was funny and witty and had an interesting story to tell.

Roman is jaded through and through. He’s hurt, he’s lonely and he hates his life. It’s a little hard to understand just why he is so miserable in the beginning, but I promise there is an explanation eventually. I thought he was far more realistic that Ezra.

Since the two of them fall in instant lust, there’s plenty of sex. Almost too much, really, even if it is very hot. A little less sex and a little more world and character building would definitely have helped me really like this story though.

I’m generally none too fond of insta-love/lust and “The Demon You Know” was no exception. I get that they found each other attractive from the very beginning, so I understand all the sex they had, even at the most inappropriate moments. What I had a hard time understanding though was what made them fall in love with each other. It’s understandable that Ezra falls for the first person to have ever treated him kindly. But I have absolutely no idea what made Roman return those feelings. They barely knew each other. They only spent a few hours together, really. And why would Roman risk everything for a demon, when he knows it will only be trouble and that Ezra must have done something truly awful to be sent to hell?

Usually, I avoid books about angels, simply because there tends to be a strong element of religion and belief present most of the time. Being an atheist, this tends to bore or annoy me easily. “The Demon You Know” had very little religion and belief for the most part. Sure, there was a bit of talk about God and the devil, and about the Seven Deadly Sins, but for the most part, it just focused on the two MCs. I liked that.

To sum it up, “The Demon You Know” is a quick, hot read, without a lot of depth. With more depth, this could have easily been a truly great story. As it is, I had fun and I finished it within two days. If you don’t mind the darkness of this and are willing to suspend your disbelief for a bit, you’ll most likely enjoy this too.

And I’ll definitely take a look at the previous book, Bloodline, which is about two of the minor characters in this book.

Fiona Jade’s cover is just wow. Breathtakingly beautiful. I think it matches the story well, you can see Roman’s anguish and the flames from hell licking at the bottom of the cover and his wings show Ezra’s influence. The background shows various famous sights in London, so it does not only reflect the protagonists but also the setting. It’s one of the most beautiful covers out there, one that I’d love to have in my physical bookshelf.

Sales: Loose Id LLC  |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 233 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Loose Id LLC (first published April 27th 2015)

A Sammy Review: Song of the Lonesome Cowboy (The Society of Masters ) by Lynn Kelling


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

If William could find love and escape oppressors, find his own kind of happiness, maybe there was hope for all of us—myself included. I wanted to write a song about that—the struggle to own your dreams, to chase them and hold on no matter who tried to kick you down. Sometimes it was like love and happiness was a big bucking bull, trying to knock you off, to bolt free or throw you into the dirt, and all you could do was hold on and pray.

Song of the Lonesome Cowboy coverThey say that fame comes with a price. For many people that price means their privacy, the constant, watchful eyes of people just waiting for you to mess up so they can catch it on camera. That’s one payment for fame, but for Tucker, that’s barely a paper cut compared to the way his debts have been paid.

He sold himself to get where he is now, famous and just finishing a tour with his best friend. For six years he’s had a shadow following him, haunting him inside and out. The end of the tour and a champagne delivery bring that shadow into view, looming even greater.

Jess Grayville, a member of the band, seems to be the only one to see through the facade Tucker’s carefully constructed and always thought he held in place so well. But Jess isn’t just going to let him drift along anymore, but in order to move on, Tucker will need to face unimaginable demons, starting with himself.

Everyone had secrets. People wanted to fit you into a neat little box, but life wasn’t like that. We were all more complicated than we appeared to be on the outside. It was a good thing, something to be thankful for. All of those unexpected details were what gave people and circumstances their beauty.

First, I want to put it out there that I’m a fairly heartless person when it comes to books. Yeah, I feel what they write, but I don’t really become captivated easily. When people say dark, I often expect it to be a difficult topic with a lot of angst and pain thrown on top of it. This book I would consider to be truly dark – not just an imitation of the theme.

The author doesn’t simply skim by horrible memories of rape and abuse, Ms. Kelling takes them head on and in graphic detail. The thing is, as horrible as it is, she doesn’t do it just to have these scenes thrown in. They serve a purpose, a point… they are necessary to understanding Tucker and his pain. I truly felt my heartstrings being pulled on during this book, and the sadness ran quite deep. To put it simply, this book is not for the faint of heart. At times, it’s literally like reading someone’s living nightmare.

So why do it? Well, because books like this give me faith in humanity. They show people in their darkest, most vulnerable moments, and then it gives them hope. Is this hope always easy? No. It’s difficult and oftentimes tragic, the road is rocky, but the fact is that there is a road, and these are stories worth telling.

The author did a fantastic job of capturing the thought process of someone with an abusive past. There was conflicted thoughts and Tucker really went through a process with himself, one that continued even after the last page. There was no easy fix, and I appreciated the reality in that.

Now to the relationship, which really was not, in my eyes, the primary focus of this story, but it was a really lovely part. I really enjoyed seeing them come together. I would’ve loved to find out more about Jess though, as I felt his story was half told. But still, I appreciated their love and how they grew together.

The story was hard to get through but it was still a good book. Unfortunately, the cover by Siolnatine is a complete no go for me. I appreciate the symbolism of things such as the chains and the dark background, but beyond that, it’s really not an attractive cover for a good book.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 270 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Fantastic Fiction Publishing
original titleSong of the Lonesome Cowboy
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Society of Masters

Review: Clipped by Devon McCormack


Rating: 3 stars out of 5


Clipped cover

What are mortals to do when everything they thought they knew about Heaven and Hell are reversed?  God is planning their annihilation and Satan is their only hope.

Once God and Satan were lovers and the Earth was created as a gift for Satan.  But when Satan left God, his fury was apocalyptic. God intends to destroy the Earth and all humans.  It is left to Satan’s fallen angels to thwart God’s plans and save all humanity.

The demon Kinzer and his fallen angel lover, Janka, are agents of Satan, sent to spy on The Raze, a group of angels who are working with God to bring about Armageddon. When someone exposes their true allegiances, the Raze rips off Kinzer’s wings while torturing and killing his lover, Janka. Now wingless and powerless, Kinzer escapes. His mission? To track down all Satan’s allies to warn them about a traitor in their circle.  The hunt is on for the Antichrist—a powerful weapon that could prevent the apocalypse and both sides are getting nearer. It’s up to Kinzer to protect the unborn child and his mother.  And if he can avenge his lover’s death while doing so, then even better.  But first he has to stay alive….

Clipped is a story sure to instill strong emotions and reactions in all who read it.  It is a book that readers will either love or hate. Or even hate to love. Its plot contains religious content that some readers might find offensive. And  its rough, and brutal sex scenes are sure to turn off those looking for romance and/or sexual relationships that are consensual and with not a lot of bloodshed. To those readers, I say this is probably not the book for you.  But some of you are going to love it and with good reason.

What drew me to this story? That amazing cover for one.  Its dramatic and powerful.That kneeling winged man just cries out for his story to be told.  And, truth be told,  the story found within does contain both of those elements.McCormack’s plot is also unusual enough that its reversed theology is both interesting and fascinating in concept and details.  McCormack’s idea of flip flopping the roles of Heaven and Hell is intriqing.  By upending the idea of good and evil and the roles that Satan and God play, not only with each other as lovers but as the guardians of Earth, McCormack has designed a world where he can throw out all previously conceived notions of angels and demons and create his own pantheon of celestial creatures and infernal agents at play.

Within McCormack’s wonderfully twisted world, God rules over a unequal hierarchy of preternaturally exquisite beings called higherlings.  We know them as angels.  Not all angels are created equal in God’s eyes.  Some are created just to be ethereally beautiful, so much so that they are privileged,  Janka was one such being.

In McCormack’s words “… Janka was privileged, granted all that he desired from the Almighty. He’d been one of Heaven’s most desirable creatures. He was doted on, loved, adored. It left him, like so many of the Almighty’s elite, filled with a natural conceit. When Janka gave orders, Kinzer resisted. He fussed and barked. He wasn’t going to listen to a higherling, especially not one that had been afforded such luxuries…”.

These were luxuries that other less well crafted heavenly beings would never attain.  I loved this.  An entire line of what is basically heavenly himbos who were created by God to be sublimely gorgeous.  And that ‘s it. Big on beauty, and also big in their sexual appendages (think elephantine in length).  Not, however, big on the brains department.  That was saved for those lesser beings, also pretty and well endowed (inhumanly huge in every way although not prodigiously so), just not gloriously unimaginably over the top like the higher ups. That latter one is Kinzer.  Who abandons his current lover to be with this exquisite creature so high above Kinzer’s station as to be unobtainable. But obtain Kinzer does to his eternal regret. I’m not sure McCormack ever made a good argument for  this change up in lovers.  You just have to take it on faith that Janka’s beauty was too much to resist. Yes,beautiful, irresistible twits are everywhere, even in Heaven.

And with such inequality comes revolution, an ex lover  who rules in Hell and the fallen.  And now its God versus Satan and a rush is on to save the world from a spurned lover.  Yes, not from Satan, but from a revengeful and petty Almighty bent on smiting to oblivion his gift to Satan, now his ex.  So now we have two teams and the object of their mission is to find the mother of the Antichrist, who along with her unborn child, will determine the fate of Earth and all humanity. The teams consist of spies for both the Leader (Satan) and God.  On God’s side is the Raze, a group of sadist higherlings that report directly to the Almighty.  The mother of the Antichrist?  A drug addled whore who, realistically enough, thinks she is going crazy.   During one such battle to find the mother, the two groups came together.  Kinzer, a fallen, knew that someone within his team had betrayed them to the Raze.  He was brutally dewinged and his lover killed before his eyes.  All great stuff when creating a compelling story.

Its what happens within that narrative framework that didn’t exactly work for me. The major sticking point here would be the type and quantityt of brutal, painful sex that overtakes the actual storytelling.  One particular human is involved….a young boy called Kid who was kidnapped off the streets and is forced to work in a depraved brothel where anything, and I do mean anything goes.  It is here where a captured Kinzer finds himself deposited by his nemesis.  The action found within this brothel includes rape with not only multiple partners but cutlery as well.  Its crude, bloody, and its descriptions are as graphic and raw as the events taking place.  I predict that some readers are going to stop reading here.

McCormack can definitely write a scene because he will be able to pull emotions from his readers with characters that you will care about in a situation that is as intense as it is dramatic.  It is how you feel about rape, non consensual sex and torture that help form your feelings toward Clipped.  If those things fall  outside your reading comfort zone, then you most likely will want to skip this story because things only increase in intensity not lessen.

Why?  Because the Kid, who has huge emotional (and why wouldn’t he) issues as well as an abusive past history, continues on the run with Kinzer and not in a romantic way.  But there will be sex between the mortal Kid (who has a mortal’s body) and an immortal with the aforesaid ginormous sexual member.  So more forcing, more bloodshed and yes, quite a bit of angst and horror.  This is not a romance by any means.   Even the fallen on fallen sexual encounters  include brutality and blood.  Definitely not for the fainthearted.  I can see that such painful sex might be indicative of the Fallens status.  Not worthy of love and kindness, only brutality and pain.  I kind of get that.  And it does work in small doses.  But I am talking almost continual sex scenes of all combinations, and somewhere the plot gets lost for a while as the demons get their daily dosage of pain and sex in.

I also found it amazing or amusing or both that the devilish and heavenly creatures are as poor with their communication skills as the humans they deride. Because had several of the main characters actually talked to one another, this would be a much shorter novel.  That didn’t bother me, I just found it funny. What did make me flinch? Well, all the sexual degradation and humiliation not withstanding, it is the ending that peeved me the most.  It just ends on an astonishing event.  Boom, over and done.  I was flabbergasted because the fight scene was wonderful and I wanted to see how McCormack was going to resolve it, twists and all included.   But he didn’t . It ended on a cliffhanger.  It wasn’t until I went searching through various interviews that I found out that the author intends to turn this into series that I was mollified somewhat. Only somewhat.  Just my opinion but if you are going to end your story in that manner, let the reader know that this is a series or that a sequel will be coming.  Don’t let them think that a standalone story is missing an ending.

Anyhow.  Yes, there’s more to come.  And for some of you that will be a wonderful thing. There are enough elements here that I can understand that.  Others of you have already left the room by now having found out that this is not the story for you.  I get that too.  Like I said you will either love this or hate it.  I will leave it up to you.

But this amazing cover?  That will be on ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Best Covers of 2014.  That is genuinely a heavenly (or devilishly) gorgeous cover.

Cover art by Wilde City art director.

Buy Links:       Wilde City Press            Amazon                 ARe

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, English
229 pages
Published April 9th 2014 by Wilde City Press (first published January 1st 2014)
edition languageEnglish

Publishers Warning: This title is erotic and contains homosexual content, graphic sex, violence, and strong language. Readers uncomfortable with rough sexual situations should not purchase this book.