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.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Review: Ghost Wolf by Hurri Cosmo

Ghost Wolf by Hurri Cosmo
Painted Hearts Publishing 
Novel: 390pgs

2 Pants Off (Based on what I read)

Blurb: Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter.

I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was around eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t. 

I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work, and honestly I don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver...or something. Metallic. I kinda thought it looked cool in the full moon. “Pack Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn't my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street, but he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly either, but a guy can’t be too careful. And romance? Way off the radar. 

Only now someone has started killing wolves. Started leaving broken bodies lined up in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it's got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, do they stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me? The hell of it all is this: being a shifter isn't common knowledge. It bothers me enough that now I want to find out more. See if there's anything I can do. Kind of like a super hero. 

Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this too. I can turn invisible. Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue.

I don’t even know how to write an eloquent review for this. I mostly wanna spend my time tearing into it about all the thing that went wrong, but that’s mostly not my style. I did DNF this book around the 60%, I was mostly holding out for it to get better. For the writing to get better, for the characters to get better for the overall plot to get better but it never clicked for me. Everything felt contrived, juvenile and not well executed. It was a problematic formula with a problematic and immature MC. His voice from the very beginning ruined my enjoyment of the story. 

Trevor shifted into a wolf for the first time at eleven, which both surprised and terrified him. He knew he was something else but he had no one in his life to tell him what he was and why it’s happening. A chance encounter with another wolf proved that there were more like him but apart from the old man telling him crazy things he still had no clue about who he was. When his mentor dies and leaves him a ring- “one ring to rule them all”, I kid, wrong book. He leaves him a ring that makes him invisible with no actual instructions as to what it another ring is really for. 

So Trevor has got this power, is a wolf shifter, and proceeds to go into adulthood as complete idiot. I don’t know what was wrong with this kid, but everything he did and said irked me. He was so wishy washy with an amazing ability but fumbled about like a baby animal learning to walk. He meets Ryan (his fated mate) and everything just got worse. 

Thing I like: (the sounds of crickets in the night). I love the cover 🤷🏽 I really do!

Things I didn’t like: Do I got enough page room for this? I didn’t like the story, I didn’t like the writing. I don’t think anything was executed well and it was taking too damn long to get to the point.

The book is too long for no reason and with nothing to carry it, it was hella boring. I wasn’t there for any of it. 

Overall, I am very disappointed. I wanted to give a new author a chance and I feel bad that it didn’t work for me. The idea behind it could have made a great story but it didn’t come together well. Ah, such is life you win some you lose some.  

SideNote- Every-time I looked up at the title on kindle it said GostWolf (like legit GostWolf) and not Ghost Wolf. I don’t even know…is it one word or two???


Review: Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy

Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy
Novel: 330pgs

3.5 Pants Off

Blurb: He promised to never leave me. But when I needed him the most, that was exactly what he did…

From Bestselling Authors Sloane Kennedy & Lucy Lennox comes an exciting new series about how a twist of fate can change everything...

He promised to never leave me. But when I needed him the most, that was exactly what he did…
Wilderness guide Xander Reed has spent fifteen years trying to forget the night he turned to his best friend in his darkest hour, only to find the young man who’d sworn to always have his back was turning his on Xander instead. Two thousand miles and fifteen years of building a new life in the quiet backcountry of the Rocky Mountains should have been enough to put the memory of Bennett Crawford out of his mind forever, but old wounds run deep and when Bennett suddenly reappears in his life as part of a wilderness expedition Xander is guiding, the scars he thought long healed break wide open.

I’d only ever wanted to protect Xander from getting hurt again. I never considered the one he needed protection from was me…
Bennett Crawford was faced with an impossible choice the night his best friend needed him.

He chose wrong.

As the only son of one of the wealthiest families in New England, he should have had the world at his feet, but losing his best friend at the tender age of fourteen changed everything. And even though Bennett’s managed to hide behind a mask of contentment as he takes his place at his father’s side in the family business, inside he’s searching for the piece of himself that’s been missing ever since Xander Reed walked out of his life. Bennett’s only saving grace is his work with a group of inner city kids, and when he’s given the chance to show the troubled teens that there’s a bigger world out there waiting for them if they just have the courage to reach for it, he takes it.

But when he steps off that bus for what was supposed to be a week of fun and adventure, he’s instantly returned to the past when he discovers their expedition guide is none other than the boy he let go so long ago. Only, the soft-hearted, insecure little boy Bennett once knew is gone, and in his place is a brooding, bitter man who isn’t interested in second chances.

People leave. I know that now and nothing Bennett has to say to me will change anything…
All Bennett wants is another chance to show Xander that friendship was only the beginning. But when a stubborn Xander refuses to even hear him out, Bennett realizes he’s going to need to fight dirty.

Because now that he’s found Xander again, he’s not letting him go a second time…

First time reading Lucy Lennox and Sloane Kennedy as a duo, but having read Sloane Kennedy before I can see where her/ writing style comes through. I admit I am intrigued by what else this duo has to offer and I am looking forward to diving into more of their work. 

First things first, the blurb once again does too good of a job with telling what the story is about. So I won’t spend too much time giving an overview of the story. Because it’s boy meets boy, boys become the very best of friends besides their social status, in the time of need when one boy needed the other most he was pushed away and left with a broken heart that remained with him into adulthood. 

Now as adults. Xander and Bennet haven’t seen each other in 15yrs and a chance meeting has them spending more than seven days in each other’s company. Old hurts rear its head and new feelings appear. Xander is faced with the challenge of facing Bennet as a man, its hard when he hurts like the little boy that was left behind.  

Things I liked: I liked the story itself, was very entertaining and I like the writing style. 

I’m such a fan of angst and pent up anger and this book offered it up in drones. Xander and Bennet are engaging as characters and really just want them to get their happy ending and move forward. You want them to have their friendship back. The setting of the story is also another win. I really wanted to get out there and hike and look at some beautiful bodies of water and get some fresh mountain air in my lungs.  

Things I didn’t like: The unnecessary conflict to carry the storyline. There is nothing I dislike more than conflict that feels very contrived. Like the only way feelings can move forward is with something awful happening (near death experience) to bring honesty and realizations out. I don’t know about you guys but that stuff irks me. It feels fake and dishonest. 

The terrible communication between the MCs -insert eye roll- it was annoying and frustrating. It happened way too often between these two grown ass men. 

The fact that all this love shit was going down while these adults were responsible for kids. There was just way too many moments that I hated and as parent myself wouldn’t leave my kids in these dudes care. Most of the time they were running around just thinking with their dicks. 

Overall, I liked reading this. Its no masterpiece but it’s a solid read with likeable characters and surprisingly a very strong message of family. I like this writing duo. I feel like Lucy Lennox balances Sloane’s way of doing the happy happy thing. I am very much looking forward to reading book 2.  

SideNote- The dog Bear in this book will capture your heart. He is the softest thing ever.