Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: Just Business by Anna Zabo



By Anna Zabo
4 Stars

Available at:



File Size: 913 KB
Print Length: 266 pages
Publisher: InterMix (June 16, 2015)
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B00IDD9V1U


I've read Anna Zabo before, and while I've enjoyed her writing I was not prepared for this leap in her skills. This was a deeper, fuller story than I expected. Steamy attraction, surrounded by tension, right out of the gate, had me wanting to see what these two would get up to

Blurb:

“ Blurb -
Justin White may not look like an up and coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company’s CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can’t seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli—and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom….

Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control—and push them both far beyond their limits. But will his need to dominate Justin drive him away—or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?



once the leather came out. I couldn't have been more wrong in thinking this was just another spank and wank bdsm story. So wrong.


THE CHARACTERS

Justin White -
If Justin was a submissive, he was likely a horribly bratty one. Every one of Eli's nerves sang at that thought.
Eli Ovadia - 
"Eli was a wall of indifference."
THE STORY

Eli's parents, his tragic youth and his cold demeanor butted up against Justin's job, school and family stress, plus the damage his ex-"lover" left him with, all adds up to a difficult tangle to work through. Zabo didn't set herself up for simple solutions and she didn't take the easy path. By the end of the book you will believe that these guys belong together.

I read this book over a month ago and have started this review several times. It was always going to be a positive review, but the hangup comes with deciding what I can tell you about the story. I can summarize the characters well enough, but the story is so much more than I was prepared for that I've been pondering it all this time. My initial inclination was to review this as a sexy romance. But it's so much more. (I keep saying that, don't I?) 

I expected kink. I expected emotion. I expected passion. But I didn't expect the deeply explored and fleshed out reasons for their troubles.The trust issues that both these men have are debilitating and form the basis for the entire book. There is solid reason for these issues, and the author does an excellent job at revealing the depths of their scars.

Eli with his debilitating guilt.
Justin with his misplaced (but well earned) assumptions.

Ms. Zabo gave me a richly developed relationship story when I was expecting a role in the hay. I should have known better.
"I was teasing, Justin." Gone was the mask and what lay behind it was far more complicated.
THE WRITING

At times I was very angry with this book. Justin had misconceptions about Doms and I wanted to scream at the author, "No, don't categorize all of them." But I just had to read on to see what the whole story was. There were valid reasons for Justin's beliefs, and it proves that Zabo had control of this story all the way through.

This is solid storytelling with sex that fits the relationship, not the other way around. Sex scenes that help the characters learn about each other even when they get it all wrong. And that's a rare thing to see in m/m romance. How often is sex the tonic that heals all wounds? Instead, here, it exposes raw pain that has to be healed with patience and understanding.

Eli, at times, came off as too dramatic and even over-drawn, but as he begins to soften, the reasons behind his intensity become clear. His misery and pain reached me. Seeing Eli get a bit of hope was so sweet, but it all comes at a cost.

And as for the provocative, titillating bdsm theme? All I'll say here is that there is a scene involving Eli's cane that is NOT to be missed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Zabo, the author of Takeover, writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where she fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. She also has a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.


Anna Zabo's website

~ ~ ~

I would like to thank Anna Zabo for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.



Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: Base Instincts - Demonica series by Larissa Ione 3.5 Stars


Base Instincts (A Demonica Story)
by Larissa Ione
3.5 Stars
Available at:
Author: 
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-308-7
eBook release: 
Sep 14, 2015
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Word count: 
~40,000
Type: 
This title is part of the Demonica universe.

THE CHARACTERS

Raze - A compassionate healer who can never have the relationship he craves.
Unfortunately, what he wanted was something he couldn’t have.
And for some reason, Slake’s face popped into his head, the poster boy for Can’t Have.
His cock throbbed again.
The fucker.
Slake - An assassin about to lose his soul is a pretty tricky guy. 
In Slake’s world, there was no room for kindness. He showed none and received none. Sometimes, he didn’t believe it existed.
THE STORY

We meet Raze and Slake in a demon nightclub called Thirst and instantly enter the world crafted

Blurb:

“ Blurb -
As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.

by Larissa Ione which is a fusion of everything we love in paranormal romance. Bad, good, hot and homey. Evil, kind, dark and exciting. Sexy, romantic, loving and deadly. In other words - this place has it all. And that is what draws you in, deep in, to the world of Demonica


Raze is a medic at both Underworld General and during stints at Thirst. Raised by humans he has compassion and a wider world view. But he lives a lonely life knowing he can never have what he wants, he only gets what he needs. And what he needs is sex every 12 hours or so.

Slake has stupidly sold his soul and is running out of time to ever get it back. When he meets, and drools over Raze, he thinks he might just have the chance he needs to keep himself out of Sheoul. 
One corner of Raze’s mouth tipped up in a half smile.“I’m only dangerous if you piss me off.”
“What if I get you off ?”
There's a neat solution to the conflict and it has a real world message. Sometimes this sort of thing would bother me, but not here. I flowed well with the story and didn't feel preachy. 
"No one should be judged solely by their species,"...
THE WRITING

It's been four years since I read a Demonica book, but I never forgot the world. Ione's unique creation left an indelible impression.Which is why I begged to get this book as soon as possible. I'm happy to say that it was very easy to get right back into the place. Even though things have certainly progressed I felt like I grasped everything clearly. And it didn't feel like a rehash. Well done. There's also a handy glossary to either refresh or educate the reader.

The beginning of the book felt like something of a checklist of everything that romance readers require; tats, muscles, leather pants, adjust said pants, check, check, check. But then we got into the story and the seminus needs of Raze gave a solid basis for the book giving it a unique tension and story line.

But it took me a good while to really feel like these guys had more than sexual attraction. There were some pretty big jumps to emotion which felt choppy at times and seemed to rob a bit of my connection to the romance, but I enjoyed the overall story enough that I just went with it. At the same time there isn't a lot of pretense between Slake and Raze. They're hot for each other and they don't spend too much time fighting it.

Bottom line I know that I've read more emotional, more complex books from Ione so I know what she's capable of. I can't help but hold it to those standards. That being said I really enjoyed the book and recommend it. The Demonica world is completely engrossing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books, hit several bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today, and has been nominated for a RITA award. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.
~ ~ ~

I would like to thank Riptide Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.


Base Instincts Book Tour - A Demonica Story Larissa Ione


Hi, everyone! I'm so excited to be on the Base Instincts blog tour. Raze and Slake's story was a labor of love for me, and while theirs isn't the first m/m story I've written, it's a first for the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series. If you're curious about how it all started, be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the first two books set in the Demonica/LOD universe, and for more information, head on over to www.LarissaIone.com!

Blurb -

As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.




Lisa's Review of Base Instincts
About Larissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran and former EMT, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion for writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge . . . just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her US Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.


Giveaway:

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a tote bag with swag and signed copies of Pleasure Unbound and Desire Unchained, the first two books in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 19. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don't forget your email so we can contact you if you win!

~ ~ ~

Visit Lisa Arbitrary at Goodreads

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Review: Then Came Cal by Lee Barrows 4 Stars


Then Came Cal

By Lee Barrows
4 Stars

Available for purchase at: 

Pride Publishing
Amazon


Book Information via publisher -
HEAT RATING: Burning
BOOK LENGTH: SHORT STORY
WORD COUNT: 12,983
ISBN: 978-1-78430-764-6
SEXOMETER: 1
FORMAT: EBOOK
GENRE: CONTEMPORARY EROTIC ROMANCE GAY


A surprisingly smart, full read that left me contented and  hoping to get more of Sean and Cal. And Cassie!



Blurb - Sean Hutchins is having the worst day of his life…

After losing what he thought was his dream job, Sean Hutchins walks away to suddenly find not only his professional life, but also his personal life, falling apart. Seeking comfort in his best friend Cassie, the last person Sean expects to run into is Cassie’s big brother—and Sean’s long time crush—Cal.

Cal is supposed to be on vacation visiting his baby sister, not babysitting her and her best friend, Sean. And he definitely is not supposed to be staring at Sean’s hot ass. But after spending some time with the guy, Cal finds himself having confusing feelings for him.

Should Cal act on his attraction? And can Sean find a way to put back the broken pieces of his heart and his life?


THE CHARACTERS

Sean - Humorous, smart, sexy and being tested at every turn. Luckily it's his strength that shines through.

Cal - Gorgeous, dependable, but confused. He's got a "comfortable life of quick hook-ups and even quicker goodbyes." Who could want more?

Cassie - Ah, to have a best friend like Cassie. She's uplifting and supportive and ready to go into battle. I like her!

Paul - The douchenugget!

THE STORY

To say Sean is having the worst day of his life is an understatement. Assuming that he'll get hit by a car on his way home just goes to show how down his day has been. Fortunately his best friend comes to the rescue with pizza and beer and some damned good encouraging support. 

Sean's long time crush, Cal, is visiting his sister and is suddenly being kicked out for the night so that she can give her friend the attention he needs after his fubar day. Cal decides he doesn't want to get involved so he heads out to a pub, but not before bumping into Sean on the street.
What would it be like to be with someone who didn't hide, who didn't play games, who was that honest?
Sean is adorable and perfect boyfriend material and usually the type of character that takes all of my attention. But it was Cal who had me thinking and dissecting. He's more complex and it's interesting to watch him make his way through all the roadblocks he's put in his own way.

THE WRITING

Whoosh, this is a whirlwind read! It felt lightning quick because it had just the right amount of tension to keep me glued to the page and enough spice to be a page turner . The sexy bits were hot, but not over done, just right.

If I have any complaint it's that the ex didn't "get it" more. But then I'm just vindictive and wanted him to hurt a little. *bad Lisa*


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Barrows believes in young love, old love, new love, forever love, redeeming love, forgiving love, lose-yourself love, find-yourself love… Love for anyone and everyone.

Incurable romantic and aspiring writer of LGBTQA+ YA/NA modern day fairy tales.
Email 
Goodreads 
Twitter 


~ ~ ~

I would like to thank Lee Barrows and Pride Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.




Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review: The Result of a Straight Razor (Mako Shark 2) by Nicole Castle- 5 Stars


Straight Razor
(The Mako Shark Book 2)

5 Stars


  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Publication Date: August 20, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B014839Q86
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled 

Available for purchase at:
Amazon


You can read my 2014 interview with the peculiar Miko here.

Funny

Entertaining
Heartbreaking
Insanely Romantic
and Bunny Ears!



Blurb - Miko is in mourning. He is plotting. Miko is thinking about death and vengeance. About forgiveness. And love. Miko is getting some new tattoos.


THE CHARACTERS

Miko (The Mako Shark) - There just isn't anyone else like Miko. Thank goodness! But how can anyone not completely love this endearing assassin? Yes, I said-endearing assassin.
"He hates the violence."
"But he loves you."
"Yes," Miko said. "It is my lot in life."
Nasir shrugged. He couldn't disagree. 

Toby - As boyfriend and lover, Toby seems to have the most painful role in this whole series. His denial is over. He's in full reality mode now. 
Toby's voice was already shaky and Miko knew that no matter how this night turned out, what he was doing to Toby now would be the most painful thing he'd ever done to anyone. "I am sorry."
Nassir - Dark, silent, deadly and Miko's best friend. And he's always right. Always. And he has a tattoo gun.

THE STORY

Miko MUST avenge his friend's death which leads to many discoveries not the least of which is discovering that Frank has a boyfriend, Blondie. What a lovely, tangled conundrum Ms. Castle is taking us on.  Miko begins to see  possibilities, but he knows just how dangerous he is. And that danger puts those he loves in harm's way. 
Nasir's expression was grim as he inspected the damage, and even though his expression was rarely anything but grim, Miko felt somehow responsible for the sadness that his friend may not even be experiencing. Miko, frequently felt responsible for things that weren't his fault, as if subconsciously trying to give himself some level of importance when he knew that he wasn't. 
The tragedies that Miko encounters in this book are balanced by his relationship with Toby. But Miko struggles with an immensely guilty conscience that doesn't always guide him well. Fortunately he has Nas and Toby and even Joe Russell to advise him. Remember, Nassir is always right.

The bathtub on the cover of this book brings focus to the story and Miko's reasons for revenge. It also has a great backstory to it, ask the author about it when you get a chance. But, in the meantime, linger through an entirely different bathtub scene in this book that is gorgeous, tender, and strange. It is a classic example of Nicole Castle's craft.

THE WRITING

Wit. That's the crux of it all. Nicole Castle's wit and humor and twisted use of morality, or er, immorality, totally works for me. I've read these characters over and over and each time there is something I missed before. Something more to savor and to be shocked by and to get lost in. I wonder how strange it must be for an author to have fans tell her that they love her murderous, nefarious, entirely insane characters? Which is more twisted, the reader or the writer?


You'll need to pay attention to the chapter headers for clarity, but the timeline is clearly defined. This book is written in a manner that takes you through some earlier hits in Miko's life, something that the author also does on her blog. She writes mini-hits that are almost like shorts and give a delightful richness to the full world surrounding Silva's assassins. These "greatest hits" are your bonus material and not to be missed. Just like this entire series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Castle was raised in New Mexico. She now lives in Oregon. Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder is her first book.

You can reach her on:

Goodreads 
Facebook
As well as view Frank and Vincent's continued adventures at:
Nicole Castle's Not-Blog

~ ~ ~

I would like to thank Nicole Castle for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.





Other Fun Stuff!