Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: Remember When by Harper Logan

Remember When by Harper Logan
Novel: 216pgs

3 Pants Off

Blurb: Could forgetting everything bring them together? When Cuke awakes in the hospital, a piece of him is gone. Three years have disappeared from his mind, and he’s doesn’t even recognize his life - or the people in it. And then there's this super hot guy who appears to be his boyfriend...

Bouj will never be able to erase the memory of Cuke's skull cracking against the pavement during a typical game of basketball. He'd do anything to help his roommate piece his life back together, but he runs into an awkward situation when Cuke seems to think Bouj is his boyfriend. He knows he should correct his friend's mistake... and yet, something stops him.

Will Bouj realize that his feelings for Cuke run deeper than heterosexual affection? And even if they find love in each other's arms, will Cuke ever remember how they got to this point? 

Trying to Forget

I’m having a hard time with how I feel about this one. On one hand I really liked it and got through it quite quickly, and on the other hand; what in all the crack in the world. This was totally crazy, weird, and a touch juvenile. While the premise sounds like it could make for an interesting read, the delivery kind of fell short.  

Cuke just took a basketball to the head and now he’s in the hospital with no recollection of the past three years. Seems like the ball has left more than a little bump on the head, seemed it also shaked his brain up. In a hospital room with no one he recognizes, and the good looking guy holding his hand seems to be very familiar with him so there can only be one explanation. That guy is his boyfriend (because logic).  

What ensues is ridiculous game of charades between Cuke and Bouj. Cuke can’t explain the person his “boyfriend” is trying to tell him he’s been for the past 3yrs, nothing about anything makes any sense about the person he’s become and the one he remembers. He can’t quite figure out why his relationship with Bouj is so awkward and he’s wanting to got to the sexy bits already. Seems he’s got his head in the clouds and the boyfriend might actually just be a best-friend.  

Alright, so as I said the book had potential but it really turned out to be ok and lack lustre. The dialogue is juvenile, it lost most of it charm and became all cliché and I was not impressed. Surprisingly I was never bored reading it, and was surprised by how quickly I got through the story. I’ll give it that, I could not look away. 

Cuke and Bouj together didn’t quite work for me and then the insta-love element really threw me from their characters. I felt as if they were playing dress up with their lives and I couldn’t buy it. Their relationship started off as a lie, and just remained a lie to me. I wasn’t invested! 

Overall, I kinda liked it. The plot was over the top, it wasn’t executed quite well, and that cover has nothing to with anything. Remember When didn’t quite deliver but in all honesty I didn’t hate it. I’m willing to see what else the author has to offer.

Review: The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews

The Winning Edge (Cold War #1-2) by Keira Andrews
Novel: 214pgs

3.5 Pants Off

Blurb: After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira is distracted to say the least. He’s worked for years to have a chance at Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Playing cat and mouse with the steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life, but they can’t keep their hands off each other as the Games approach.

Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be at stake if he and his partner take anything less than gold. Who will stand atop the podium? And can secret lovers from different worlds make a life together once the competition ends? 

This gay sports romance from Keira Andrews features enemies to lovers, two alpha men, sequins, and of course a happy ending. Content previously published as novellas Cold War and Holding the Edge.

Causing An Ice Melting

I’ve only read one Keira Andrew’s book previously and really liked it, so when I saw there was a figure skating romance being offered up by the author I had to jump on (Yuri on Ice feels anyone). This is also a enemies (rivals) to lovers story. Let’s just say, I don’t understand how they even had ice to skate on because things were hot, hot, hawt! 

Dev wants to be a champion on the ice, he wants the gold for him and his partner but theres a team stopping him from achieving his dream and it’s the Russians. The team also has Mikhail Reznikov, colder than the ice he skates on and crazy beautiful. Dev is feeling things he shouldn’t and his eyes should be on the prize and not gloriousity that is Mikhail’s ass. When an angry encounter leads to some mutual getting off, Dev has more to worry about than winning a competition he now has to protect his heart from the cold. 

Mikhail is seen as cold and aloof and he’s accepted that. He’s got a job to do and that’s winning gold at the olympics. Its not that he wants to win its that he needs to win at all cost. He has no love for skating anymore, its become a way to keep his family safe to keep himself safe but Dev Avira has come and put a chink in his plan. Their chemistry is molten and Mikhail is putting all that he is in jeopardy but staying away from Dev is impossibly hard. He makes him need! 

The book is broken down in two parts and honestly I liked the first part a lot more. It had intensity, excitement, and a taste of the forbidden. Dev and Misha are fighting an attraction that neither of them needs, but the chemistry is so delicious and risks behind it is all so electrifying. I loved their coming together and the apprehension that Dev faces knowing that his ass and mind should be on the ice and not on Misha (easier said than done). 

The second part, while alright is not without it's faults. This is where the story hit a plateau for me. There was all this excitement in the first part and the second became a repetitive storyline about why they shouldn’t be together. The sex, sizzling but that dirty talk got me feeling some sort of way. Like some badly produced porn with dialogue, I could not deal. I was all “no more talkie, please no more talkie”. I was all on board for them having their happy ending, but the balance was off and by the end their I was just waiting for it to be over.  

Overall, I liked the story. In the beginning I was loving the story, loving the figure skating just loving it all but by the end there it was falling apart for me. The conflict was dragged out and then came together with an anti-climatic reveal. So this one was just an alright read for me, sucks cus I really dig the figure skating.

SideNote- Big applause for representation. It is great o see a person of colour on the cover and also represented in the book.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Wolves of Black Pine by SJ Himes

Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga #1) by SJ Himes
Novel: 598pgs

4.5 Pants Off

Blurb: An ancient civilization long hidden from humanity is on the brink of chaos and war. 

Peaceful for thousands of years, the wolfkin clans are mysteriously losing packmates, kidnapped and killed by unknown foes. Among the dead is Luca, youngest grandson of the two most powerful wolves in the Northern Clans, but he is forced into a half-life, hidden in the far northern wilds of Canada and cut off from his kind. Those who raised him have no idea the creature they harbor in their midst, and name him Ghost. He begins to lose himself over the long years, and though he barely recalls his true name, the one wolf he never forgets is Kane.

Heir to the wolfkin clan Black Pine, Kane is charged with hunting down the traitors who betrayed their kind to the humans. Years fly by, and more wolves are dying. He refuses to give up, and he vows to never again fail another of their kind, as he failed young Luca years before. His heart tells him Luca lives, but his mind tells him that it’s foolish hope, his guilt eating him alive.

Fate and magic change the course of their lives, and the two wolves long separated by the years find their paths intertwining, though the reunion does not come without cost... 

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What a ride this was, a magical wolfy ride of epic proportions. I can say with honesty I’ve never read a gay shifter book where the characters are so woven into the world building. It wasn’t just about, you’re my mate and I claim you its a world of magic, politics, friendship, and family. I went in with a slight trepidation thinking it would take me at least a week to read or I might DNF at some point. Oh ever did I play myself!! I devoured this in a little over a day. Wolves of Black Pine gripped me by the pants and didn’t let go. 

Shamans, Alphas, Betas, lesser Alphas, all with some kind of strong gift is what this shifter world is made of. Little Luca was meant to be a great shaman, because his grandfather said so and he was to teach him ways of a wolf so revered and honoured by its people. Until a traitor among their midst snuffed his light and his family. Now he’s lost his grandfather and the security of the pack. He now has to navigate a world he doesn’t know in the body of a wolf that came too early. 

Kane has spent the last 15yrs searching for a traitor within their midst and looking for the humans responsible for the death of his pack-mates and of his little Luca. A light so bright gone so quick, but deep in hearts of hearts Kane feels like Luca isn’t gone. Even though 15yrs have passed but the hope in heart has never faded. Now wolves are going missing, turning up dead, and it’s all connecting to that heartbreaking day. Someone’s hunting wolves and Kane is hunting them.

I’m not gonna get too deep into the meat of it, but let’s say Kane’s feelings were spot on and little Luca ain’t so dead and ain’t so Luca anymore. Things happen, people change, and love comes a knocking. With all that they still have to catch some killers. 

Things I liked: The world building is A+ it totally had me captivated. Its not just a backdrop to a love story but intimately woven into the story telling. 

Love all the Alpha dynamics and hierarchy. It leads to salty feeling individuals. 

I loved the relationships, pretty much all the characters (except the assholes I didn’t like them). 

Things I didnt like: The coming together of Ghost (aka Luca) and Kane. It just didn’t sit well with me. It was too easy, too freaking perfect their coming together. I can understand Kane’s joy of finally having Luca home but their progression to an actual relationship was too soon. 

Which leads me to my other thing. Ghost took to everything like fish in water. Too easy peasy beautiful cover girl for my liking. All of it made the book a good read instead of a great one.

The fact that it is so damn long. While its entertaining, it needed a tightness because after awhile I felt like I was coming down from a sugar rush. I felt like it needed to be a lot cleaner. Every bad thing that happened felt too formulated. I wanted to be surprised and I never was. Ever!!

Regardless, I very much enjoyed reading Wolves of Black Pine. The author is solid at storytelling and created a wonderful shifter world. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel but I’m in no hurry. 

Review: Scars and Secrets by Avril Ashton

Scars and Secrets ( Loose Ends Book 1) by Avril Ashton
Novel: 281pgs

5+ Pants Off

Blurb: After an undercover assignment that changed his life forever, FBI agent Donovan Cintron is barely hanging on to sanity. His new mission is to forget, by any means necessary, so he tries his hardest. Pills. Booze. The warm bodies that never quite measure up to what he’d had. What he’d lost. It’s almost a relief when he learns his identity might be compromised—except he’s not the only one exposed. So is the husband he hasn’t stopped needing all these years later. He’d been aching to die, but for Levi Nieto, Donovan will live. To protect. To regret. To remember.

The realization that everything he loved was a farce sent Levi Nieto spinning out of control, and running away from the memories. Now Donovan is back in his life, still fully entrenched in darkness. Their physical connection is one thing, but the truth of who they are to each other remains trapped among the anger, violence and lies suffocating them. Fixing what’s broken will take more than each man exposing his scars. Secrets—and blood—must be spilled.

I am just…. 

Like where do I begin? This book was just a pure banger and I didn’t want it to end. I know I’m getting an angst ridden read when it comes to Avril, but this had me choking on my own spit and had my heart racing, I haven’t felt them feels since “Watch Break me Break You” left me ruined. Scars and Secrets is a thirst trap, and I am thirsty. My throat is mad raw!!

Donovan Cintron has got a job to do but that job didn’t entail falling in love and building a family. The thing with keeping secrets is that eventually they come to light and leave a mess of hurt behind. That’s what happened with Van, his secrets lost him his husband and family. With everything he does clothed in danger it’s finally coming back to bite him in the ass and his husband and son are put in danger. It’s time for the prodigal husband to make a return and save his marriage and in the process save his own life. 

Levi Nieto found love and lost it. Lies and betrayals has shaped his life for the last seven years and he never thought he would be able to move on from that. Now his life, his sons life is in danger once again and it’s all because of the man he married. Donovan came into his life to build him up only to knock him down. Now he’s face to face with the man that left him wrecked and bodied, how can they move past all this hurt. Ones thing for sure, their passion is blazing fire and it seems not even distance could dim the flames. 

First of all, first off all…this f*cking book left me in tatters. That’s not to say I didn’t have a few problems but the pros far outweigh the cons and I feel like I been ruined for any other books I read this year. It’s like Miss Ashton goes into brain and write the things that make me lose my pants. Levi & Van are walking, talking porn advertisement. I read sex scenes with a slight disinterest because I’ve been doing this so long, so it takes a lot to get my motor running. Their heat left me deceased and just shooketh to the core. I like them together, I love them together but I feel like I hardly know them apart. Their surrounding overshadowed their story and I wanted to know how they fell in love. 

“Want you to feel me” Levi’s mouth was at his ear, breath harsh, loud, broken. “In your fucking chest. When I come inside that ass, you better taste it on your tongue”. 

The plot is one crazy twist after another filled with favourite characters from the authors other works. My heart was just in a happy place seeing characters that I know and love in one place coming together with a common goal and shaking sh*t up. A lot of interesting shockers here filled with Avril’s signature dramatic flair and I was all in for it. I swear I am just so in love with the freaking book its essence is dunked into my bones. 

What I’m having a hard time with, is Vans addiction being glossed over and it was a full blown addiction. He had some demons and I feel they weren’t addressed properly. Man needs rehab, therapy, and a cleanse. Alas, I’m still all for this regardless of its faults I’m still utterly in love and ain’t nobody can tell me otherwise. I give kudos to Avril regardless of writing, high marks for diversity alone. Her stories ain’t filled with cookie cutter white boys all over the place, and all these bad boy types is my aesthetic. Hats off to my Jamaican rude boyz!! 

Overall, this has been a pleasure to read and experience and I might be ruined for the rest of the year. Scars and Secrets is unapologetically Avril Ashton and I am looking forward to reading the series. I have to take them in small doses because I’m trying to live. I am a lifetime fan of this author. Big ups Avril, keep writing the mans dem!!

SideNote- Take caution going into this series if you haven’t read the other series (Brooklyn Sinners and Run This Town). 

SideNote2- Walking around with a girl boner for the rest of the month.