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Parting Shot

Parting Shot - Mary Calmes 3.5 Stars

Ahhh another Mary Calmes... I've only read her Matter of Time series and the quasi spinoff [b:All Kinds of Tied Down|22402178|All Kinds of Tied Down|Mary Calmes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1401888434s/22402178.jpg|41827079], so these characters are all interwoven and very familiar to me. This particular spinoff features Jory's ex Aaron Sutter, whom we last saw being set up with cop Duncan Stiel in [b:But For You|16007018|But For You (A Matter of Time #6)|Mary Calmes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356199874s/16007018.jpg|21772346]. Of course they hit if off immediately - it IS insta-love on a grand scale but are you suprised?? You shouldn't be.

However unlike the initial Sam and Jory stories, this was pretty high in the smex with just a touch of kink. AND unlike AKoTD, we get it immediately and throughout. The over the top ridiculousness and the hijinks were not as blatant but just enough to lend a little hilarity and fun.

Aaron is a successful and powerful billionaire, always in control.
Duncan is a badass homicide detective, always dominant.

If the idea of two alpha men who are used to being in charge in and out of bed but let their guard down, show their vulnerabilities only to each other, flips your switch - then this is the perfect story for you. To make the pot that much sweeter, I would say that this was the hottest Calmes book I've read to date.
Shift - Andrea Speed

So the saga of Roan, aka Batman, continues and I was not disappointed. In this installment, there was a lot of character development where motivation and feelings were explored more. We see a different side to Dylan. Though he feels powerless to keep Roan safe, he makes his needs known, pushing Roan to be more aware of the consequences of his actions. He's deceptively insightful, surprisingly forceful. Holden too plays a major part, becoming an invaluable part of the team. He's full of street cred, the perfect partner as he works the opposite angles of their investigations. His moral ambiguity allows certain things to get resolved. Will it complement Roan or corrupt both of them further? And let's not forget the fabulous group of kickass hockey players. What started off as a client/investigator relationship changed to almost a surrogate family. Tough, fierce, crazy - their loyalty and acceptance were a joy to read.

I continue to appreciate the exceptional humor, the bitter sarcasm. At times this was a lot of fun - at others, the mysteries/cases were particularly dark and disturbing. Speed as always, continues to show the absolute horrible depravity and evil that some are capable of, and this was probably the most brutal entry yet.

There's a lot of debate and back and forth regarding Roan's other half. Some are scared of it. Some want him to embrace and own it. Others want him to use it to champion all infecteds, while many condemn him for merely existing. He too, constantly struggles with the uncertainty of his condition. Can he keep his humanity? Who's in control of whom? Surely he must realize that his very nature allows him to do what he does best - protect and mete out justice. But of course being a "superhero" does have potential consequences; his greatest fear being that it will hurt those he loves. Time will only tell if Speed allows him to come to peace with this internal fight and whether or not his living by the sword will be his undoing.

<b>"He was born this way, caught between human and virus, lion and man, a hybrid compromise between two incompatible states... he was a thing that shouldn't have been."</b>


Thanks to Desinka, Meep, Otila, Rosa, Sheri and Sofia for another fabulous BR!

One Breath One Bullet - S.A. McAuley

As I look back on what I just read, I'm a bit unsure of the details - the plot somewhat nebulous...

What I can tell you is that this reminded me a little of [b:Special Forces - Soldiers|7842653|Special Forces - Soldiers (Special Forces, #1)|Aleksandr Voinov|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1268851627s/7842653.jpg|10939227], where the two MC's are seasoned, hardened military alpha men on opposite sides. They are sworn enemies in a war that has been going on for over 300 years. Despite the fact that they should hate each other, should have probably killed each other many times over - they keep coming back, keep hanging on to a "relationship" that has been brewing for the last 13 years!

This novella packs a punch with plenty of twists and turns, both politically and emotionally. These stoic soldiers have no room for feelings, let alone attachments. Do they dare? This definitely ends on a precipice… and I'm intrigued.

The Trouble With Tony

The Trouble With Tony - Eli Easton I have to give props to Easton - she totally knows how to build the sexual tension to an astonishing level that always makes me squirm - and I definitely mean that in a good way. She does this so deftly by escalating the situation and drawing out the foreplay, that the actual act itself - the main course - doesn't really matter since we've already gorged on the appetizers. Seriously that massage scene? Whoa!

There's no point in rehashing the blurb. This was fun, funny and obviously hot!! How can you find any fault in that? You can't.

Siempre

Siempre - Tessa Cárdenas So this is about how Sean and Jaime meet and what should have been a surprisingly easy start to a fantastic coming together, manifests into something quite complicated. Jaime is not out to his deeply religious family so they must hide their relationship from his cousin who dances with Sean. As predicited this brings a lot of complications and ultimately they fail in keeping their secret. The fall out as suspected is not pretty.

To me this was a thoughtful look on what it's like to struggle with being gay when your family thinks it's morally wrong. It also realistically touches on just plain old relationship angst that I think all of us have gone through. The euphoria of meeting someone, connecting with them and having fun. The doubts and worries over whether the other is just as serious as you are. Throw in commitment issues, communication roadblocks, and meddling friends.

Simply put, I liked this book. I did want a little more from Jaime's perspective and details about his family. This ended a bit abruptly but I see there's a sequel - something that I'll most likely check out because I was not ready to let this couple go.

Safe in His Arms

Safe in His Arms - Renae Kaye 3.5 Stars


If you have read any of this author's works, then you know her stories often have a lot heat and heart to them. This one does not disappoint.

Lon - big, intimidating and capable of being tough when warranted. He's kinda a loner and harboring a lot of guilt over a family tragedy.

Casey - young and horrifically abused. He's trying to put his life back together despite some understandable insecurities and fear.

A very sweet, hot tale about two people who on the surface don't belong together but fit so perfectly despite some serious obstacles. Renae Kaye does not disappoint with this easy, at times fun, and emotional, tender read.

Nothing Special

Nothing Special - Jay Northcote If you want a break from something long and complicated then check this out. This was a simple tale - sweet and fun.

Geeky Noah thinks he couldn't possibly keep Sol's interest.
Sol is so genuine, how could Noah doubt him?

I admit not much happens but the angst is minimal, the smex is lovely and of course there's a happy ending!

On Fire

On Fire - Drew Zachary 3.5 Stars

Um, let's just say that this entire book is basically smex. So if you want PWP then this would be a really fine choice.

What little plot that does peak out was sweet and tender as Sam and Robert navigate their differences and realize that they're just as compatible in bed as they are out of it.

It starts off with a bang and really doesn't stop. Ever. Seriously.

Dark Places

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn As Libby investigates her family's death to exonerate her own guilt, she unravels some unbelievable reveals.

Best intentions go horribly wrong.
Dreams and plans are misinterpreted.
Greed and fear create lies.

Actions do have consequences and when all these things conspire willing and unknowingly, it creates an amalgam of events that ends up in tragedy. A tragedy that doesn't really get justice because when it's all said and done, there's no bringing back the dead.

This was not an easy read.
This does not contain a happy ending nor a satisfying conclusion.
This was something that was hard to get through but admittedly, was compelling nonetheless.

Thaw

Thaw - Jordan Castillo Price A too quick, but sweet glimpse at these two. It warmed the heart and made me smile.

Sweet Filthy Boy

Sweet Filthy Boy - Christina Lauren First off - if you liked the Beautiful series by this duo, then I think for many this will be a no brainer and I'm confident you'll enjoy this very much. However for me, my thoughts are going to be biased because this was the first hardcore M/F I've read after reading close to 200 various M/M fics and I have to be honest… I haven't really missed it much.

Don't get me wrong - this book had plenty of dirty, explicit, hot smex with a good amount of feels. There was some great dialogue and I enjoyed the setups/situations that these two got into. Ansel is an awesome fantasy. He is pretty much perfect and very swoon worthy. How can one not love a man who is gorgeous, kind, spontaneous, playful and sexy?? Seriously, he is definitely a work of fiction because I really don't think someone like this comes close to existing. Who wouldn't want to find themselves a French man who offers you a fantastic summer getaway in his home country?? Anyone??

However I'm not as invested in Mia. To me she was like many of the other female characters in novels like this. I can't be too harsh - this is New Adult and that means she has a lot of growing up to do to figure out what makes her happy. Unlike the Beautiful series, this was solely in her POV and I missed the alternating narration of both the female and male characters. I've always been more intrigued with the male POV - their emotions, vulnerabilities and pleasure. So while this was entertaining, I felt something was missing, something I can't quite pinpoint or articulate fully as to why this didn't hit my buttons as it used to.

Overall - Ansel 4.5 stars / Mia 2 stars = 3 stars total

Never Was a Stranger

Never Was a Stranger - Dira Sudis 3.5 Stars

Ahhh the conundrum and confusion that comes with time travel. What is the benefit of meeting up with your future husband? Sex benefits of course! Oh yeah!

I'm not going to overanalyze this but I did enjoy the dirty explicitness!

"And you know everything I like, don't you? You probably know things I like that I don't even know yet. And you can show them to me for the first time - you can't tell me you don't want to be the one to do that."

Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor - MissAnnThropic 5 Stars

WTF? Stiles wakes up and discovers it's the future AND he is married to DerekTempterHale! How the hell did that happen?

I won't ruin it for you but basically this is the funner version of [b:Now as Ever|23634622|Now as Ever (All That Is and Has Been)|venis_envy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1417305324s/23634622.jpg|42448021] and we go forwards instead of backwards obviously. Stiles has no freakin clue how his present self - who is not even really that good of friends with Derek - could possibly be happily married to him 7 years from now.

What stands out the most for me, was that this was probably the best fic I've read that showcased Stiles' voice. Not only was he out of this world funny but his inner turmoil was sharp and realistic and just oh-so-him! As his future life with Derek is slowly revealed, his reactions are priceless - especially as he learns how their coming together was passionate, brash, and impulsive. On a serious note, I also loved Derek in this. I loved his LOVE for Stiles and how much he's changed, how much they've changed because of each other. They have built a life and it's amazing. And do not forget the Sheriff. Their whole dynamic was just fantastic!

So this was a very romantic story full of humor and extra, extra hard tugs on the heart strings. It once again beautifully hammers the point that their fate is destined - time, alternate realities, dreams, magic, real life - none of it can keep these two apart. And dammit!!! I want more!!!

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Like a Melody (it won't leave my head)

Like a Melody (it won't leave my head) - Jerakeen

3.5 Stars

Stiles has a beehive for a brain which technically means he has a magical destiny bond with Derek.

This little gem has a lot going for it.
*Flailing, rambling Stiles that isn't over the top
*Broody, "I don't deserve to be happy" Derek
*Awesome Sheriff insight
*UST, angst, and feels

With spot on voice and characterization this was quick, simple, and satisfying. But wait!! Click here for more banter and sexy times - there's 4 other shorts to enjoy as they explore their new bond and navigate their relationship!

Zero at the Bone

Zero at the Bone - Jane Seville Are you in the mood for action and suspense? What about plot twists and turns? Up for some angst and feels? Well this has all that and more!

D is a bad ass, cold assassin. He also has a somewhat vigilante sense of justice, only taking hits that he thinks deserve a bullet to the brain. Out of nowhere, he is blackmailed into killing surgeon Jack Francisco, who had the unfortunate luck of witnessing a mob killing. However he can't go through with it and thus sets in motion a series of events and consequences that he couldn't have fully predicted.

This story had layers and as they were peeled away, more and more emotional depth was revealed. That one life saving moment changes D, as Jack slowly brings him back to the land of the living, slowly humanizes him as walls are torn down. Soon feelings and attachments grow between these two unlikely allies and it runs the gamut of being intense to awkward to heartbreaking to hot!

The gray areas of morality are touched upon often and not shied away from. The stakes are high and one wonders what are the lengths these two will go to to get their happy ending and will the cost ultimately be too high? Full of fierce intensity and vacillating emotions, take heed and hang on for one wild ride!

Now as Ever (All That Is and Has Been)

Now as Ever (All That Is and Has Been) - venis_envy 5 Stars

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OMFG my mind is blown!

In essence this is a time travel story as Stiles mysteriously awakens 10 years in the past and knows, as well as you and I, that the space/time continuum is not something to be messed with lightly. Inadvertently - definitely inevitably - he is discovered by Derek and the connection is immediate. Will the consequences be dire; is there a chance to change the future?

Something to note is that present day Stiles and Derek are not in a romantic relationship; their friendship just starting to really solidify right before Stiles is wrenched away. What makes this absolutely amazing is all the feels. There is a roller coaster of emotions going on here as Stiles confronts his past and is witness first hand to Derek's life before Kate and the havoc she wrecked on the Hales.

On a side note we know what happened to Derek. We know what he lost. We know how that changed him. This peek at him and his life before the tragedy makes that loss so much more painful, more tragic - visceral in the reality that all he loved was taken away from him in such a cruel manner. It pretty much nails with precision, makes one fully aware in understanding Derek's future grief and resulting pathos - how and why he is who he is.

So yes, this is raw with emotion. The intricacies of the plot are amazingly smart, soulfully extraordinary. The reveal in the resolution once Stiles returns home is absolutely ingenious. The connection between these two transcends time, death, and apparently reality and logical thought. If you want epic romance, an explanation of their otherworldly connection or a definition of their love, then this profound story, to me, explains its amazing existence.

Their love was "deeper, stronger, made of something so thick that even the universe itself couldn't break it."

Again. Seriously. Mind. Blown.