Book Review ‘Fast and Furious’ by Trista Ann Michaels

13629186“The three of them could at least give her one night before the darkness enveloped her world again.”

Not sure what’s coming over me wanting to read a straight romantic suspense thriller. But, I was interested in the whole fast cars, hot chick, hot guy’s theme. It was basically research. I ended up enjoying it more than I thought.

I wouldn’t call it romantic at all, it was sex, total erotic sex and it worked! It reads like a TV episode with fast scenes that throw the reader into the world very quickly. I loved the whole undercover cop in to deep too get out story and then having three Navy Seals sent in to help. I loved the story and how Allie struggles with the possibility that she’s next to get a bullet in her head.

Chase, Logan and Blaine are great characters, all clearly different. Their friendship is addictive and real. The cast is kept simple and you had time to get to know them. Same with Allie, the only female in the book. I didn’t know what to expect with the sex scenes because I usually don’t care for them and prefer romance, However, I would be lying if I said this book didn’t get me going a bit. It’s the most erotic book I’ve read so far.

Allie’s basically a proud slut and she admits it! but as a reader you love her. (I had an image of Megan Fox in my head). Her predicament only adds to the tension, then she lusts for the three hot as hell Navy Seals and….. well, I didn’t expect all three taking her at once in quite so much detail. With the threat of death you may as well live your sexual dreams right?

“What you need right now is a good night’s sleep.”

“what I need is a fuck,” she growled.

I loved the characters, the basic story and the relationships. Sex was really hot. The only criticism was that the story built up and then fizzled out without a real confrontation. There is no antagonist, it’s more the treat hanging over Allie. So, it was a bit of an anticlimax.  I would have changed the ending, with Allie showing us a strong police officer.

 

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Book Review ‘Alien – Out Of The Shadows’ by Tim Lebbon

alienoutoftheshadowsI genuinely think it’s a difficult task to write an ALIEN novel. It’s been done so many times and fans want the same things. So, I guess it’s really a task to be original and find a tone and voice that captures what fans really want and also to bring something new to the table.

Tim Lebbon has done some incredible work and I love the guy, but this novel didn’t work for me. I totally disagree with the amazing reviews from sites and magazines. I’ll keep it simple. In the first 10-15% of the story, you, as the reader have been introduced to chest bursting, facehuggers and dark shadows of monsters. What are they going to do with the rest of the novel? How will they keep momentum and tension up? How will they keep you in suspense? The answer… they didn’t.

In act 1 you have met the Aliens. The rest is slow and repetitive. Simply put, characters that you are not invested in or have little emotion for, walk through corridors and caves. I couldn’t picture what the writer was describing, especially scenes, and actions which is incredibly frustrating as a fan. The description of the characters ship was fine, as we have the films for reference, but outside I really had trouble picturing the scenes and eventually gave up trying. You are desensitised to the Aliens very quickly and there is little fear.

Why they needed Ripley is baffling. She is a marketing tool to get readers to buy it (that’s just my opinion). Maybe, it was a requirement of the publishers that she had to be in the novel. You can remove her and the narrative would play out fine without her. She is not needed and the dream sequences of her daughter felt like padding to fill the story and I eventually passed over them without reading.

It would have been a better story if Hooper had remained the main protagonist. He was great at the beginning and even better in the final 10% of the story. Ripley’s introduction ruined what was initially a great character, and he quickly becomes diluted. The introduction was very strong and Hooper and his relationship with his captain had huge potential. The feel of the world was there and the tone was set.

Great cover.

Spencer

 

BOOK REVIEW ‘Into the Darkness’ (Darkness #book 1) By K.F. Breene

Into the Darkness coverBeing a USA Today Bestselling Author, I had to read book 1. Upon reading the synopsis, it sounded like something I’d really like. Sasha is the main protagonist. A young girl who, for most of her life, has seen strange paranormal shadows at the edge of her peripheral vision. To her it’s normal, but she’s realised & learnt how it looks to others. So she keeps it all pretty quiet.

I found the whole idea really intriguing. Sasha’s a well rounded character and not as flaky as some female leads tend to be. Some of the writing was absolutely beautiful, as were similes and metaphors.

However, the novelty disappeared quickly & I got tired of listening to Sasha’s thoughts. The book is written from a first person perspective.  It was okay initially, nevertheless, I did rapidly get tired of it and wanted the pace to pick up.

What I disliked the most was that it reads as a teenage ‘young adult’ fantasy/paranormal novel in a type of ‘Twilight style’ but then, adult graphic sex is thrown in like a brick through a glass window. It’s so inappropriate I was staggered! Was I reading the same book? The sex jarred against the overall tone and spirit of the book. It felt really forced, as if the author was told to go back and but sex scenes in it to make it more adult.  It doesn’t work and felt hugely wrong, you didn’t have to do this. You remove the sex and the narrative is solid without it.

‘The Boss’ (the hunk to tempt Sasha) was forgettable. I wish he’d been given more depth and development. He’s the contrast, conflict & love interest for Sasha, but this didn’t come over to the reader. It’s no good describing how hot a guy is & how he jumps in rescuing girls & acting moody, show it in other ways!

It’s okay creating an alternate world like Harry Potter’s alternate magic world that ‘Muggles’ can’t see, but you need to establish the real world first. Into the Darkness doesn’t do this and that really throws the reader.

The story just dragged on, far too long.  It got to the stage, when I kept checking how much of the book I had left to read.  The narrative got messy and confusing. It was slightly difficult to see what the author was trying to show. So, you end up continuing to read hoping it’ll eventually make sense. By the time some sense appears you have already given up.

Will I read the follow up? No. I would however, try other work by this author.

Spencer

Book Review ‘An Unlocked Heart’ (Collars and Cuffs, #1) By K.C Wells

An Unlocked Heart (Collars and Cuffs, #1)“It had been such a powerful experience for him, sleeping next to his Dom while wearing his collar”

I was hearing such positive comments about this series, I just had to read the first book. I knew at the beginning it was going to be different from the man on man books I’ve read over the past year and I have to say, it certainly was.

Born and raised in the UK, I was extremely happy to find the story set here and in a familiar city, Manchester. What this book does is stand high and proud next to the many US and Canadian books I’ve loved and read. Usually, I find a difference in UK writers, the tone and storytelling is always very different to me. This book however, is equal and at time even better than its overseas brothers.

The two leads, Leo and Alex quite rightly steal the show. It’s their story that keeps you reading. There are several obstacles that the two have to overcome. E.g. Alex coming out to his family and Alex discovering Leo’s job, to name a couple. In retrospect, it’s a bit like having TV episodes. Each week a new obstacle on their journey to be together. It’s simply great.

I thought I knew a lot, but I was proven wrong. I certainly learnt many things about the Dom/Sub culture and how devoted, respectful and passionate it can be. I felt a little uncomfortable at times, but that’s because I didn’t understand or wasn’t familiar with certain rules, contracts and procedures.

“Once this collar is on, you will address me as Sir. Everytime you speak to me. Is that understood?”

The only things I disliked about the story were personal things. I’m not a big fan of coming of age stories featuring a young character exploring his sexuality and I found, there was to much sex, and I tended to skim over these scenes, but that’s just me. If you love your erotic sexual scenes you’ll be in heaven. None of this detracted from my enjoyment of reading the story.

It’s easy to read without overly descriptive scenes so you can put your own imagination to locations and people. It is a love story. Just because the sex is Dom/Sub doesn’t mean a thing. Infact, it comes over as a more committed, stronger and sensual arrangement.

I didn’t get tearful (lol) and I will be reading the next Collar & Cuffs book in the series.

Spencer.

Book Review ‘Jason’s Fall’ (The Rift Book 1) by James Lee Hard

Jason's fall“He didn’t answer. Instead, he ripped my clothes off and tossed them aside, leaving me naked.”

Why did I decide to read this book? Firstly, who doesn’t want the man in your dreams to be a reality? The promise of a normal guy getting caught up in an ongoing war between angels and demons is something I couldn’t ignore. Additionally, A demon with an overprotective obsession with the lead protagonist Jason, really peaked my interest. I love that kind of intensity (or maybe it’s because I’ve never really had that sort of attention, therefore, I seek it out in literature).

Secondly, it’s written by a man and this was very noticeable in the sample. I didn’t expect to see a difference between male and female writing, but there is. I had to look at the author’s name to confirm the gender. I could tell the erotic thoughts were definitely from a man (lol).

Finally, I read the author’s bio and saw myself staring back. The similarities between James Lee Hard and me were uncanny and this is what sealed me reading the book. I actually got my housemate to read the author bio that I copied onto a word doc. He thought it was me.

So, what did I think? I was shocked to find I was 68% of the way through the book and we were still only in act 1. I don’t like to read too much beforehand and so I hadn’t spotted that this book is only 44 pages long. Finishing, it felt like a TV episode and I’m not sure I like this format (at the moment). I can understand the episodic nature and for a writer, it’s a great way to keep motivated. You get feedback from the first instalment to carry on and take on board readers thoughts.  I was just surprised that it wasn’t a finished piece. I think the author is trying a technique out and I can see the benefits of it.

I don’t call this a gay romance, not if we take just book 1. This is erotic, and well done, but not romance. It has an edgy, forced sex appeal to it. Tones of dominance and control, which is fine. It’s more primal and I liked that.

The beginning with Jason heading to the subway and his ‘encounter’ was the strongest part for me. This would be one hell of a teaser for the opening episode. As Jason gets on the tube all self conscious looking at everyone and realising the stains on his suit, the titles would have come up.

What lets it down for me, is that I don’t yet get a feel for Jason or his world. He’s walking around in a dream state, feeling in a bit of a rut.  At the moment, I’m not invested and don’t care about him enough. You need to feel for and know Jason, to be with him on his journey. But things happen very quickly. Jason is thrown into a world of gay sex and demons and we don’t care for him yet, so we don’t feel for him or empathise. That’s what the first act should be about. Jason should resonate and identify with the reader, but this doesn’t happen.

It’s written from a 1st person perspective which goes back to the above comments. If you are going to see things from Jason’s’ perspective for a whole book, you need to like and care about him or the audience disengages.

Saying that, I like Jason’s internal fight with himself being straight, but wanting this particular man (Blaine) and the need to give away his sexual control. This is enticing to read, and more of this struggle is needed. I could visualise ever scene and saw it all in my head clearly, together with some really nice imagery which gets a big thumbs up from me.

“The silky darkness of the night was cut in half by a lightening bolt that struck the ground.”

There’s enough here for me to want to read book 2. There is a lot of potential here. I definitely want to read one of James Lee Hard’s other completed books now.

Oh. I love the cover.

Spencer.

Book Review ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ Gwen Hayes

27511088Simply a great Christmas short story. Totally all about the two characters, Simon and Adam. It’s a will they or won’t they story. No antagonist, just Simon’s fear of intimacy and allowing himself to love again.

Although you see the view point from both guys, Adam’s the character we probably identify with the most. Whereas, Simon is our dream guy (lol) handsome, rugged, masculine, and unemotional. He is the most interesting and I enjoyed his internal conflict.

Many times as I read I was saying to myself “go on Simon, say something to him” or “Simon, just touch his hand.”

The only negative for me was, that despite being snowbound, I would have been terrified, taken to a log cabin in the woods by a bearded lumberjack with emotional issues who doesn’t communicate  well. Maybe I’ve watched too many nasty TV series and films.

Simply a sweet story for Christmas.

Spencer

Book Review ‘Seven Psychics’ Book 1 by J.C Diem

Seven Psychics BK1What a great surprise this book was! It’s my first none ‘man on man’ book in a while. The summary appealed to me so, I downloaded a sample, loved it, and downloaded the full version.

I thought this was really well done.  I would however, argue that it’s not a romance. Looking at the cover you get the impression it’s a story about a girl who falls for a tough young military style guy, when in fact, this is the B story.  The main story is Lexi’s journey, from a girl to a woman. This surprised me, as I expected the bulk of the story to be the traditional romance and the missions to destroy ‘seven psychics’ to be what held the romantic story together. In reality, it’s the opposite, and it was terrific to see.

It’s a classic hero’s journey. You see Lexi change throughout the story, I’m not talking about physical changes. I mean, she grows as a character and she isn’t the same girl you meet at the beginning. That’s what all good stories should have. What’s even more incredible to me is that I loved this character. Usually, teenage girls appear annoying, weak and cringy, but Lexi is well developed and interesting from the beginning, she’s the reason you keep reading this story. I knew who she was and was invested in her fairly quickly. That’s rare for me to find, and the author has done a great job of writing this character.

It’s a comfortable read with a small cast of characters, which I prefer because you can picture them and get to know them well. The antagonists are varied enough to keep the interest going but not so engaging as to pull you from the main cast. Sex scenes are handled nicely considering the young age of the characters and I appreciated this.

I’m surprised it took Lexi so long to catch on (trying not to spoil it too much). A point to mention is that, this is solely Lexi’s journey, seen from first person perspective. The love interest, Reece Garrett, is not as developed and remains primarily a background character. I hoping he will become as interesting as Lexi in the sequels.

I will definitely be reading the series.

Spencer.