Lenni Reviews: "Wounded Pride" by Remmy Duchene and B.L. Morticia

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Brian Daystar is celebrating the opening of his youth center for at-risk kids but notices a considerable lack of support from his country music star boyfriend, Corey. When Corey finally bothers to call Brian, he's drunk and not alone. Deciding to end it, Brian takes a vacation to New York to face Corey while staying with Renford Kline; a retired attorney considering becoming a law professor. Brian is attracted to Renford but Ren's experience with men has never gone beyond college experimenting. Both are attracted but Brian's past traumas and Ren's reluctance to get feelings involved may keep them from the happily ever after they have been wishing for.

First off? Ren, 39 isn't 'old man' territory. I could see if he was pushing 55 (seeing as he's retiring) but, no.

This is one of those romances where you think there would be more time spent on building the relationship between the main pair before they hop into bed but nope. Not really a criticism on my part; just saying the writing and tone made me expect that. As is, the flaw in this standard romance cycle is I feel some of the character elements could have been explored more; like Brian's pretty dark past and Redford's previous attraction to women. It doesn't make the book bad at all. In fact, I find it sweet and the smutty bits are written well. But those deep personal issues could have used more attention. A fun romp even if I was left a bit wanting; 3.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: "Jackass Flats" by Julia Talbot

*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+

Tate is a 30 something cowboy who believes the best days of his life are behind him.He spends his nights getting hammered in bars and one night a young soldier named Dave helps Tate bumble back to his apartment. The two become close and form a relationship but Dave's military life poses a threat to their relationship.

Mild spoilers so skip this paragraph if you wanna avoid them but around 30% in, sudden gay married friend is sudden! I mean, geez what an asshole...

Anyway, other than the out of nowhere dickweed friend, the story felt well paced and very realistic. Dave and Tate take things slow at Tate's request and the patient way they come together is refreshing to see. Their chemistry goes beyond a 'hookup-turned- relationship,' their feelings come through the pages. Yes, of course there are some steamy scenes but just having Tate and Dave interact with each other left me with a happy feeling when the story was done and I wouldn't mind reading more in this series or by this author. 3.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: Dreamlands #1 by Felicitas Ivey

Keno Inusaka is a hacker who stumbled into the computers of a secret organization called The Trust. This organization prides itself on hunting demons so they kidnap Keno and keep him prisoner, letting the world think he's dead. When the facility he works in is breached, Keno finds himself in the Dreamlands; living among the same sort of creatures The Trust kills. He is given as a gift to Samojirou Aboshi, a demon, who treats Keno with more respect than anyone at The Trust ever did. When a team of soldiers come to bring him back, Keno isn't sure if he wants to go, having found a place where he is safe and loved. But The Trust doesn't want to let him go.

This is a pretty awesome first outing for a fantasy series. It's well developed with fun world-building, interesting characters, and an engaging story. Keno and Samojirou are a cute couple and their relationship develops slowly over time. They don't jump into bed right away because Keno's past abuse is addressed and worked through with patience and care; so there isn't much in the way of out and out smut. There are some steamy love scenes so this book is for mature audiences.

If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that the story is terribly short on decent human beings. A lot of fantasy or science fiction stories have "the monsters are more human than the humans" angle but I found myself thinking too often that there are too many assholes in this book. It made me kinda depressed! Other than that, 4.5 out of 5 for this book! I look forward to the next one!

 

For more reviews and silly things, check out Haunting Hypatia.

Lenni Reviews: Choices: Golden Collar Book 1 by Grace R. Duncan

Teman and his best friend Jasim are thieves for hire in the 11th century; living a life of relative freedom. When they're caught after a job goes wrong, they are given a choice: dungeons or place pleasure slave. Iron collar or gold. Vowing to escape, the pair chooses pleasure slave and end up serving the royal court and their guests.

Bathasar is a reluctant prince uninterested in the throne. When Teman saves Bathasar's life and in return is publically abused by Bathasar's brother, Mukesh, Bathasar becomes infatuated with Teman. When Mukesh's sadism threatens war with another nation, Bathasar must step up to save his country. However, rising to rule would give him the power to release Teman from slavery and Bathasar must decide if he can let Teman go.

Despite how trippy it is for me to read an audiobook, narrated in my edition by Joel Leslie, this book is long, decadent, and very heavy on the sex scenes. You're pretty deep into the book (around chapter 10) before the story between Bathasar and Teman kicks off. This is not the book for you if you don't like a slow build to your romance or massive amounts of man on man sex (since you get several full chapters on the 'training'). But if you like a well developed, smutty, and beautifully written (and spoken, in this case) romance in a historically based setting, 'Choices' is an amazing book. I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5 for being nearly perfect; as I tended to zone out during some of the sex scenes waiting for the plot to keep going.

For more reivews: check me out at Haunting Hypatia at literaryloon.com

Lenni Reviews: "Bane" by Amelia C. Gormley

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I must have said a dozen or so times in my tenure as a book reviewer here that I'm going to be writing a review for you guys for the second book in a series without having read the first one. Well, surprise! Bane is the sequel to Strain, which I have indeed read! I happened upon it in one of my free ebook newsletters so when I saw this book in my review box, I snatched it up.

Bane follows the further adventures of Rhys Cooper, a man with a strange immunity to the virus which has ravaged the planet. The virus has three strains that do three different things: infect you with a disease called Rot, turn you into a monster called a revenant, or a super-human they call Juggernauts (or Jugs for short). Scientists in the Clean Zone have caught wind of Rhys' immunity and asked him to be a test subject for a possible vaccine but his partner; Darius Murrel, and the rest of Delta Company don't trust the government. It is the same government that developed this virus, had the Jugs fight for them, then banished them from society.

While as steamy (read: smutty) as the first book, Bane focuses more on the twisted story of trying to find a cure and a safe place for uninfected people and the Jugs they fear. With the virus in the book is so virulent, transmission and risk of another outbreak is a constant concern. The tension surrounding a possible vaccine, how it will effect the balance in the word, and whether or not it will even work, was the most riveting part for me, and I look forward to a sequel if Gormley has one in the works.

As for the M/M romance aspect of it, Rhys and Darius are pretty well established as a couple. The main romantic conflict comes from characters introduced in a different book; Nico Fernandez and Zach Houtman. Nico is a Jug and Zach is one of the doctors working with Rhys on a cure. Kept apart for a decade by Nico's infection, they are thrown together again. Their possible reconciliation is the backdrop to a well built, post-apocalyptic landscape.

To sum it all up, Gormley has sharp world building skills and a red hot pen for her erotic portions of her books. If you like your M/M romance with a sci-fi bent, Bane is a welcome addition.


If you like Lenni’s reviews; she also has her own writing posted at www.atthequillsmercy.com

Lenni Reviews: 'Rule of Three' by Lore Graham

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Ian is an adept magic user but his rival, Jae, always teases him that he doesn't take any chances with his work. Finally having enough, Ian does the research and summons a demon he can show off to Jae to prove he can do something risky. The demon Ian ends up with is an incubus named Alistair; and a sexy romp progresses from there.

This short novella gives you exactly what it promises; a smutty romp with two guys and a demon. It has the sort of pacing that occurs when you need to get three men in bed and naked in under 50 pages; rushed and dirty. But, yeah, that's the price of admission here, folks. You don't get short erotica for the character development. Alistair is my favorite by far, of course. He seems to have the most personality out of the three.

What made me stumble was the replacement of pronouns like "his" "him" and "he" with "ze" and "zir." I just rolled with it after awhile. If you are looking for a quickie with some magic and fun, 'Rule of Three' isn't half bad! A little short for $3.99, in my opinion; but if you are looking for a m/m/m fantasy short story, you may want to check it out.