Jun 29, 2015

ARC REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Strange Bedfellows by Cardeno C.

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WLK synopsis

Strange Bedfellows - cover  Can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

 As the sole offspring of the Democratic United States president and his political operative wife, Trevor Moga was raised in an environment driven by the election cycle. During childhood, he fantasized about living in a made-for-television family, and as an adult, he rejected all things politics and built a highly successful career as far from his parents as possible.

 Newly elected congressman Ford Hollingsworth is Republican royalty. The grandson of a revered governor and son of a respected senator, he was bred to value faith, family, and the goal of seeing a Hollingsworth in the White House.

 When Trevor and Ford meet, sparks fly and a strong friendship is formed. But can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.


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*** REVIEW ***

Ever since I've become a mm romance fan a lot of mm readers recommended books by Cardeno C., so beside the intriguing synopsis that was one of the main reasons I read this book. If you read her biography, the first sentence says that she "...is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day..." Now, after I had finished the book, I couldn't agree more with that description because this book was just like that.

I'm not crazy about politics nor about books with billionaire MCs, but I was intrigued to see how the author planned to make happen a romantic relationship between two opposite political sides- a Democratic and a Republican. Their political views aside, the main couple Trevor and Ford were also total opposites when it comes to their upbringing and personalities. Trevor was raised in a non-conventional family by parents who had an open marriage and who made their life all about politics whereas family always came second while Ford was raised in a Christian family who valued faith, family and hard work above all. 

Therefore Trevor grew up with aversion to all things which had to do with politics, while Ford was expected to follow his father's and grandfather's steps. Their upbringing, politics and personal values will be the main things that will raise the odds against their potential future. When it comes to their personalities- I liked Trevor better because he was a strong, self-confident and independent character. He was his own person who wasn't burdened by other people's opinion of his lifestyle, unlike Ford who was more the insecure and careful one and whose family had a big influence on him even after 37 years. Plus, Trevor was a dirty-talker and you all know that dirty-talkers are my Achilles' heel, lol.

In my opinion the author took more of a fairy-tale-alike approach to solving all the potential "obstacles" which came in the way of Ford's and Trevor's relationship. That was at the same time a positive and slightly negative thing for me. A positive  thing because the book was drama-free and negative also for the same reason because every problem solved shortly and with ease making the story to some degree anticlimatic.

That is why, as one of my friends said- I liked it and plan to read more books by this author, but I didn't love it. I would recommend it to mm readers who want a shorter, romantic, steamy, emotional and drama-free mm read.


RATING: 3/5 stars


EXCERPT


“Doesn’t matter,” he mumbled to himself as he turned on the shower. “The man’s a politician, which means elections count more than family.” And certainly more than a bar pickup, no matter how combustible their chemistry. 

He rubbed his palms over his eyes, sighed, and stepped under the spray. There was no reason for him to dwell on what’d happened. Even if Ford hadn’t recognized him or had chosen to stay the night, Trevor wouldn’t see him again after sunrise. Come morning, Ford would go back to pandering to his voters and hobnobbing with the movers and shakers in the Beltway, while Trevor would bounce between Manhattan, Silicon Valley, and anywhere else the latest technology companies seeking investors were located. After growing up with parents who viewed family as a prop and had lovers on the side, Trevor didn’t believe in relationships, and even if he did, a closeted politician wasn’t relationship material. 

“Hi.” 

The voice was so quiet Trevor barely heard it over the running water. He flipped around, wiped droplets from his eyes, and blinked in surprise when he saw Ford standing outside the glass shower door.



WLK Author Bio
   
Cardeno C - Logo

Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Cardeno's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."

Connect With The Author On: 


WLK Giveaway


~ Winner's choice of ebook from author's backlist (excluding box sets or anthologies).




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Jun 28, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Ruin & Rule by Pepper Winters

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Genre: Erotic MC Romance

Expected publication date: July 7th 2015

Book summary:

"She is a woman divided. Her past, present, and future are as twisted as the lies she's lived for the past eight years. Desperate to get the truth, she must turn to the one man who may also be her greatest enemy . . .

He is the president of Pure Corruption MC. A heartless biker and retribution-deliverer. He accepts no rules, obeys no one, and lives only to reap revenge on those who wronged him. And now he has stolen her, body and soul.

Can a woman plagued by mystery fall in love with the man who refuses to face the truth? And can a man drenched in darkness forgo his quest for vengeance-and finally find redemption?"

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22925912-ruin-rule

MY RATING: 2.5/3 stars

Possible spoilers!

    SHORT?  I gave it a chance. Kept an open mind. It had potential, but in the end, it still disappointed me. Will I read sequel? Probably, because I want to find out what will happen next.

      First of all, I have to warn you that I have complicated relationship with Pepper Winters novels. There is something about her stories that get my attention, and I cannot resist to the temptation to read them. Not to mention all those pretty covers - Ruin & Rule might have the prettiest so far. My issues start somewhere around third chapter when I get annoyed by characters or story arc or writing. Ruin & Rule lasted longer than that. 

      What I liked? Until the chapter fifteen I truly believed that I would love it. Such an intriguing start! Reader finds out things gradually along with main female character, so there are no clear answers. You are confused, trying to figure out who is who, to make difference between enemies and those who could help out. Along with the MC you are figuring out rules of this crazy new world. And then there is Arthur "Kill" Killian. The president of Pure Corruption MC. Anti-hero. (With kick-ass tattoo! That's something I'd like very much to see!). Even writing was captivating. Yes, it gets melodramatic sometimes, but that first half of the story was so good.

      When did things start to go downhill? At chapter fifteen. The loooongest chapter. Where nothing actually happened. And everything was dragged. And all problems are solved with sex. Hot sex. Until they start to talk.

      What I didn't like?
  • Flashbacks. I was seriously disturbed with those because how overly sexual and mature characters are considering that they are just kids (she is barely fourteen - but there are parts where she's eight). 
  • Memory loss. Great idea, but at times felt a bit forced. 
  • Convenient "situations".  Some things got resolved too easily, just when needed. Like she remembering bits about her past. Very specific bits, all of a sudden. 
  • Biker gang. What biker gang? Unlike any other book of the genre, do not expect "club business" storyline. There isn't much, everything is about our main female character and Kill. Even when there is mention of what they do, it's just superficial. That is why I had a feeling like the world-building was lacking, there's no actual background story to the described events, and answers we do get in the end, aren't shown, but told. Just dropped in one chapter told from Kill's POV. After the lot of  I-can't-tell-yous. Which brings us to the next thing that bothered me.
  • Melodramatic dragging of the story. It was fun to be in the dark at the beginning, but when you read for the hundredth time: "I will tell you everything, but not now. You have to trust me." and then they have sex, or read about her temper tantrums, you just get bored and start skimming. Second half seriously tested my patience. 
  • Kill in the second half of the book. From the badass he became pussy-whipped idiot. Over the night. Just no. 

       Who will like Ruin & Rule? Most definitely everyone who liked Pepper Winters previous novels, especially Monsters in the Dark trilogy. Fans of dark, erotic stories.


Happy reading,
*Copy of the book provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Jun 27, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Man On ( Black Jack Gentlemen, #1) By Liz Crowe

Genre:
MM Contemporary Romance/ Sports

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Synopsis On Goodreads:

Bad boy of European football, Nicolas Garza is about to hit American shores with a vengeance. Signed by the Detroit Black Jack Gentlemen as lynch pin for their expansion club, Nicco only half believes he’s making the right move. But with a past full of ghosts and rotten behavior chasing him from his homeland, he has no real choice.

Parker Rollings is a college soccer superstar, but his parents’ plans for their only son do not include professional athletics. When the Black Jacks approach him to finalize their roster, Parker leaps at the chance to keep playing, leaving behind medical school, stability and his first and only college sweetheart.

Nicco and Parker face off as bitter rivals for a coveted starting spot at midfield and are forced to channel their negative energy into something positive for the sake of the group—and themselves.

All eyes are on the fledgling team in its debut season. It’s crucial that the Black Jacks prove all the doubters wrong. They must make a good showing in the league and with new fans. But player drama, club dynamics, and misplaced priorities may tear it apart before it even begins.

RATING: 2.5/5 stars

*** REVIEW ***

Somehow, when it comes to arcs from Netgalley, I had more luck with mm romance reads than fm so far, but sadly, this book was one of the exceptions.

~ Why it didn't work out for me:

- I had mixed feelings about one of the protagonists- Nicolas Garza. In my opinion he behaved as a arrogant, uptight, spoiled brat/ man-whore / drama queen since the very beginning and even if he did have some redeeming moments later on, I couldn't warm up to him completely. In comparison to him Parker was more likable despite his insecurities. 

- The story was only around 140 pages long, but there was so much unnecessary "high school level" drama that got on my nerves.

- The book is written from three points of views: Nicco's, Parker's and Rafe's, who was their temporary coach. I really didn't understand through the whole story the importance of Rafe's POV. I think it was totally unnecessary and his marriage struggles which had nothing to do with the main couple only added to the drama. 

- Add to that the rushed and abrupt ending which left many questions and situations to our imagination. I thought I was missing pages. Up til' this point I was undecided whether to rate it 2.5 or 3 stars, but the anticlimatic ending with loopholes decided it for me.

There were some good moments in the story too, but for me they eventually became overshadowed by the reasons mentioned above. I'm sure that there will be readers who will enjoy it more than I did. Considering all the great mm romance books I've read so far, this is a 2.5 stars for me.


xoxo,

Purple

Jun 25, 2015

REVIEW: Shards Of Hope (Psy-Changeling, #14) By Nalini Singh

Genre:
Pnr Romance/ Urban Fantasy

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Synopsis On Goodreads:

The “smoldering heat, epic romance, and awesome action” of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as two Arrows find themselves caught in a chilling conspiracy that spans all three races…

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

RATING: 4/5 stars

*** REVIEW ***

“Every white knight needed a deadly black sword at his back.”

Over the years I have lost interest in some series which I considered one of my favs because the more books came out the more it seemed that they had nothing new to offer, but Psy-Changeling series by N. Singh is definitely not one of those. In fact, this series only seems to get more and more captivating with every new installment. Even though my fav books of the series are still with the Changeling leading characters, the Psy race should not be underestimated.

The story was a combination of a dark, thrilling and action-packed mystery, in the midst of which is a slow-building, emotional  and touching romance between the Arrow leader and his right hand. The mystery part revolves around the new villain(s) in the psy, changeling and human world who is trying to estrange the mentioned races, start a war and break up the exiting alliances. These parts of the story will keep the readers on their toes til' the very last page.

“If I take you,” she said, and it was a warning, “I’ll keep you. Always.”


It was so easy to fall in love with the brave, intelligent, powerful and kick-ass leader of the Arrow squad and the male protagonist of this installment, Aden. He always said and did the right thing and he won me completely over with the undying protectiveness of his people and unselfish love for Zaira. For me, he was simply flawless. Both of them had a hard and haunting childhood which left unforgettable scars on their psyche. Zaira was the one who came out more broken and it took time and persuasion to finally let go of her worse fears and nightmares, but I loved her character. Despite her dark side she was a true fierce, kick-ass female heroine I prefer reading about.


The book was mostly written from Aden's and Zaira's POV, but as usual we also get a sneak-a-peek in the lives of our other dear psy and changeling characters whose lives are getting more and more intertwined. We also get introduced to the new characters and their leaders- the water changelings. One more thing- As usual I loved the parts focused on the leading psys Nikita & Anthony K. who in my "humble" opinion have the potential for a great book, so I hope the author doesn't keep teasing us in vain and finally gives us their HEA.

All in all- 4 my-love-is-still-strong-for-you stars. Bring on the next one!

xoxo,

Purple

Jun 6, 2015

REVIEW: Murder of Crows (The Others, #2) by Anne Bishop

Genre:
Urban Fantasy

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Synopsis On Goodreads:

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

RATING: 4/5 stars

***REVIEW***


This year I've said goodbye to some of my favorite urban fantasy series and welcomed some new ones which have the potential to find themselves on my favorite shelf. This is one of them. Dark, action-packed with great pnr world-building which is only getting better and better with every new installment and interesting, endearing and fun characters.

In the Murder of Crows the relations between the terra indigene and humans are escalating and therefore resulting in a lot of bloodbath on both sides, the biggest fight which will happen at the very ending. The side effect of these events is also the increasing number of Meg's prophecies which will save a lot of lives of The Others and make her even a bigger hero and more integral part of them. The author doesn't let us forget that the terra indigiene are far from human. They are dangerous, short-tempered and ruthless, especially if you try to hurt one of their own, but there's also an endearing, almost human-alike side to them which they show through their friendship and protectiveness of Meg and other people who earned their trust and respect.


My only "complaints" are again- the lack of romance and the multiple povs which  can become a bit exhausting from time to time. I understand the reason for the lack of romance, because Meg, even Simon, aren't in the right place right now for something more than friendship, but what can I say- the romance reader in me is getting more and more impatient to see them together, because they seem so right for each other and I hope we won't have to wait for too long. Now, before diving into the the next book, first I'm going to get my fix of romance!

Highly recommended to every urban fantasy fan!

xoxo,

Purple

Jun 5, 2015

Pre-Release ARC Review: Craving's Creek By Mel Bossa

Expected Publication: August 18th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance


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Synopsis On Goodreads:

For the man he loves, he will fight—body, mind, and soul.

Fourteen years ago, on a sun-drenched summer day on the banks of Craving’s Creek, Ryde swore to his best friend, Alistair, he’d never be alone in the world. Though Alistair was destined for the priesthood, there was something beyond holy about the first kiss they shared.

But a fun camping trip went horribly wrong when Alistair was involved in a horrific incident.

Now, at age thirty-one, Ryde’s life is a mess of alcohol and the painful imprint of his last look into Alistair’s desperate eyes. Since the evil they encountered on that shore, his first love has been lost to him—until he learns a friend’s wedding is to be officiated by a priest named Father Alistair Genet.

Amid the rush of emotions, one thought crystallizes: Ryde’s love for Alistair not only has never died, it’s stronger than ever. Stronger than God. But it may be no match for the church…and the repressed memories that are slowly tearing Alistair’s mind apart.

Warning: Contains a drunken confessional, a self-destructive clergyman, and a fight to the spiritual death for love.

RATING: 4/5 stars

*** REVIEW ***

This book was NOTHING I expected it to be and I loved it. You can read the synopsis over and over again and believe me you still won't get the right idea about its content. 

The story is a combination of a contemporary romance, psychological drama and at times it even has elements of a thriller. At the beginning we are introduced to its main characters- 17 year old best friends and neighbors Ryde and Alistar who are also secretly in love with each other. At first glance their life seems pretty ordinary with the usual teenage problems, but the more the pages turn the more we see that that's far from truth. The real truth is more ugly and scarier than that.

There is something wrong in Alistar's house and it has to do with his extremely religious and over-protective parents who aren't letting him have a normal teenage life, but instead keep him isolated from the other kids and keep pushing him to become a priest. Add to that his strange migraines and hallucinations he's been having since his 13th birthday and you have a recipe for a disaster. Ryde is the only thing in his life that keeps him sane, the only one who can save him from the impending darkness.

"Alistar looks at me. There's something in his eyes now. I've seen it before: something huge and ravenous, like a black beast waiting to be unleashed."

Dark, gripping, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and deeply emotional.

To be together the boys will have to fight their parents, the society, the church, time apart, but the biggest battle will be the one against their worse fears and nightmares. Will they be on the winning side? Buy the book and find out.

The author is one of those "sadists" who like to mess with our heads- giving us just enough information to keep us second-guessing everything and leaving some answers to our imagination which might bother some readers, together with religion/faith also being an important element of the story and a HFN ending. There were some loopholes and things which, had they been done a bit differently, could have made this a perfect read, but I fell in love with the characters and enjoyed it nonetheless.

This is not your ordinary mm romance and therefore I don't think it's for everyone. I would recommend it to mm fans of dark reads who want a well-written, unique and thought-provoking story.

"His words are a clean blade stabbing quickly and neatly through my heart. I barely feel the injury, but the cut is deep and permanent nonetheless. Whatever comes now, I'll wear those three words he's just spoken to me like a scar." 


Note to myself: Must read more books by this author!


xoxo, 

Purple

Jun 4, 2015

Spotlight Tour & Giveaway : Better When It Hurts (Stripped, #2) by Skye Warren


Better When It Hurts by Skye Warren 
(Stripped #2) 
Publication date: June 4th 2015 
Genres: Adult, Romance



Synopsis:

Five years ago we lived in the same house. He was the ultimate bad boy. And my foster brother.

Now he’s back. Tougher, harder, meaner. All of it aimed at me, because I was the one who sent him away. It’s payback time. He wants his pound of flesh, and I am helpless to say no.





Purchase:
AMAZON / B & N 


~ EXCERPT ~

The door slams open, and Blue strides into the room. A burst of sound follows him in the seconds before the door swings shut. I shrink back against the lockers before I can help it. That doesn’t stop him. It doesn’t even slow him down as he steps right into my space, just inches from my face, still breathing hard. 

“What the fuck are you doing here?” His eyes are still wild from the fight, violence and victory mixed together. 

I try not to flinch. “I wanted to…to talk to you about something.” 

“How did you know I was fighting tonight?” 

I’m not going to tell on Candy, even if he’ll figure it out as soon as he sees her here. Instead I bite my lip and try to remember the speech I was going to give him. “Congratulations?” 

That wasn’t it. 

He shakes his head. “No, Lola. This isn’t one of your little games. I’m not one of the men you can lead around by my dick. Not anymore.” 

And then I do flinch, because the reminder of our past is too painful not to. “I’m not trying to lead you anywhere,” I whisper. 


His lips curve into a cold smile. “No? You brought me here, didn’t you? Just you and me and the rest of the world locked out. You made that happen.” 


Something pricks my eyes—tears. No no no. I can’t possibly cry in front of him. I don’t know why I’d cry at all. This is my life. I’m long past wishing for something different, aren’t I? I look down at the concrete floor so he won’t see me struggle. 

Of course he doesn’t accept that. His fingers—sweaty and gloveless—lift my chin. “Why’d you come here, Lola?” His voice is suddenly lower and strangely seductive. Maybe that’s how fucked-up I’ve gotten, that cruelty turns me on. “What do you want?” 

My fingers fumble as I pull the wallet from my back pocket. It’s still warm from my body as I hold it up. “This is yours. I stole it. I—I took it by accident.” 

That wasn’t what I’d meant to say at all. I’d meant to explain the situation like it happened—that I’d woken up with the wallet in my bed. That I had no memory of it, but obviously there had been a mistake. I’d taken nothing from the wallet, no harm no foul. 

Instead I’d stuttered like I was thirteen again, stealing everything I could slip into my pockets, confessing to my foster dad before he whipped me with his belt. 

Blue takes the wallet from me, his expression speculative. It’s almost as if he’s never seen it before, even though I know it belongs to him. I rifled through his things, touched the stone-faced plastic image on his license. And he knows I invaded his privacy that way, just like I invaded his pocket when he brought me home. 

He tosses the wallet onto a bench behind him, dismissing it. His hand lands on the locker beside me, blocking me in. His eyes meet mine. “You still steal.” 

“No,” I say, but his wallet calls me a liar. Naturally he’d remember the worst thing about me. I’d helped him remember. “Not anymore. Not usually except…I must have been drunk or something.” 

“You didn’t used to drink.” 

“A lot’s changed.” I used to hate the taste of beer. It reminded me too much of foster brothers with groping hands and tongues. I still couldn’t touch the stuff, but every now and then I used alcohol to try and numb the pain. It was just a shame it never worked. 

His gaze scans my body, unapologetic as it measures me, probes me, demands all my secrets. “I can see that.” 

I shrug, pretending to be unaffected. No, I am unaffected, damn it. “You see more than this every night.” 

“Less. When you’re naked up there onstage, that’s what you show to every man.” His eyes are hooded. “This is what you wore for me.”




AUTHOR BIO:



Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender. For those new to her work, consider the bestseller Wanderlust, Prisoner or the Dark Nights series starting with Trust in Me.


Author links:



*** GIVEAWAY ***

~ Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL) $50 Gift Card to Amazon



xoxo,

Purple
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