Book Review | My Iron Knight: An Enemy Territory Story by S.J. Coles

Dash Cassidy loves his town even more than his bike, but his priorities have a violent shift in gear when an irresistible Russian hitman comes along.

Blurb

Darius ‘Dash’ Cassidy has ended up president of the small town of Salvation’s Iron Knights motorcycle gang, almost by accident. His sister, Zara, is the more business-savvy and ambitious of the two, but their father—the infamous Butch Cassidy—was far from politically correct, so Dash was left in charge.

Up to now, Dash has been more than happy to muscle his way through life as his father did before him, even if he is starting to suspect that something might be missing.

But now there’s a new player in town. Iris Damaro has plans to make Salvation the center of her international smuggling operation. Dash isn’t going to sit still while Damaro steamrolls through his town, but when the crime boss sends her alluring Russian number two, Nikita Vasiliev, to do her negotiating, Dash realizes he may be in over his head.

Can Dash figure out where his priorities lie before his town—or his heart—is lost forever?

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How was it?

This story is dark and gritty, a good enemy to lovers, action packed read. The chemistry between the main characters, Dash Cassidy and Nikita Vasiliev, is intense and explosive. Emotions are high and the heat searing and hot, for a short-story it’s completely engaging and very entertaining.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Iron Knight is available on Amazon.

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I received an advanced copy of this book and this is my fair and unbiased review.

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Book Review | Paper and Blood by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland.

There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted hands, paper and pen can work wondrous spells.

But Al isn’t quite alone: He is part of a global network of sigil agents who use their powers to protect the world from mischievous gods and strange monsters. So when a fellow agent disappears under sinister circumstances in Australia, Al leaves behind the cozy pubs and cafes of Glasgow and travels to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery.

The trail to his colleague begins to pile up with bodies at alarming speed, so Al is grateful his friends have come to help—especially Nadia, his accountant who moonlights as a pit fighter. Together with a whisky-loving hobgoblin known as Buck Foi and the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, Al and Nadia will face down the wildest wonders Australia—and the supernatural world—can throw at them, and confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries.

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How was it?

It seems like the banter is the main driving force of this story; it works at times, there’s even a few memorable quotes and pearls of wisdom in there but that’s about it. The adventure we go on this time around seemed mysterious and exciting but kind of fell flat in the end. If it weren’t for the innuendos behind some of these jokes, I’d swear this was a so-so middle grade book.

As much as I love re-entering the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles, I don’t remember it being so…underwhelming is not the right word, I guess I’m whelmed. It almost makes me doubt my fond memories of the main series. It’s the same lavish, mystical world building with Al MacBharrais having his own interesting way of using magic – through ink sigils on paper – and yet I’m hardly captivated or excited by what I’m reading. I wasn’t bored at least the book has that going for it but I’m frustrated because the way the inks and sigils work are great, the little backstories on how they’re made is interesting, and Al’s group of friends/employees are awesome – Nadia in particular. There’s also a strong supporting appearances of three, well four characters from the Iron Druid and it didn’t help as much as I thought it would. I still feel like these characters’ potential is not fully realized but I still have hope.

I may have preordered this book before reading Ink & Sigil but I’d still give a shot to the following book in the series, in hopes that the first two were intro and filler episode before a grand finale or a thrilling new entry.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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Book Review: Color Him Gay by Victor J. Banis

Steve thought to cut in on the source of blackmail money that Dingo Stark was paying the boys who wanted to COLOR HIM GAY but his hatred took him too far. As his screams drift through the still air, it’s up to the debonair secret agent, Jackie Holmes, that Man from C.A.M.P., to arrive in time to save the day!

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How was it?

For most of it Color Him Gay is  a silly, camp, gay spy story with a rough moments – maybe triggering ones for some – and a Gary Stew for a main character. Steve might get knocked down a bunch in this book but when it comes to the breath of expert level skills and knowledge he has it’s a bit much. However, the idea of a gay secret agent who fights for and protects queer folks from a society that isn’t always kind to them sounds good to me. The story and writing style might be a prime example of its era – the book was first published in 1966 – but it still resonates. The atmosphere the main characters are living in is still feels fresh, homosexuality is more accepted and mostly decriminalized now but there’s still a stigma to it, making it hard for some of us to live without fear.

Like I mentioned there are rough moments in this story like murders, beatings, rape and such, but the way they are brought about doesn’t really work with the overall tone that is mainly light and fun. So it’s a bit jarring yet it kind of works.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Color Him Gay is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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Book Review: The Bentley Twins by Malcolm Van

Jacen is content to spend the Christmas holiday alone, but when his twin brother Jonathan surprises him with a night-long visit on Christmas Eve with the idea of having a party, things take an unexpected turn. When the party is a bust and just a few hot male friends show up, the twins are coerced into a strip dance-off, but there’s a lot of liquor involved, and sexual tensions quickly escalate in this hardcore taboo novel filled with brotherly love, Christmas spirit, and a heavy dose of gay twincest that will leave you begging for more! The late Malcolm Van delivers some of his best work in his final penned piece of literary gay porn.

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How was it ?

I love how I came to be aware of all of Malcolm Van’s books, I a friend gifted me the two Summertime Butt Slut audiobooks and I enjoyed them, so that lead to a reader – tell me if you want to get name checked – gifting me my first taboo gay erotica, which blew my mind – I’ll review it here if I feel brave lol – then last Christmas I got a slew of taboo erotica gifted to me by the same reader.

Having read Stevie @ Home – my first taboo exotica – I’m less apprehensive or weirded out about reading stories dealing with taboo subjects like incest. However in this case I thought it was the least interesting part of the story, which is odd given that it’s the “main” attraction, the selling point. The full title alone suggest twincest but Jacen’s encounters before hiw twin Jonathan shows up are far more interesting, and captivating. So for the rest I kind of went through the motions, maybe it’s the set up and/or the twincest itself but I doubt it since the author previously managed to make me look past taboos and enjoy a story that was hardcore.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Bentley Twins Raunchy Christmas Eve is only available on Smashwords as far as I know.

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December readings | Personal Development, Dystopia, Thrillers & Smut

Title: The Lost Daughter
Author: Elena Ferrante
Genre(s): Contemporary, Cultural, Literary Fiction
Page count: 140 pages
Published: 01 March 2008

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Genre(s): Post Apocalyptic, Fiction, Dystopia
Page count: 333 pages
Published: 09 September 2014

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Killing Floor
Series: Jack Reacher 1
Author: Lee Child
Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Action, Crime
Page count: 524 Pages
Published: 25 April 2006

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Bullet Journal Method
Author: Ryder Carroll
Genre(s): Self-Help, Productivity, Personal Development, Journaling
Page count: 336 Pages
Published: 23 October 2018

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Cold Fire
Author: Keegan Kennedy
Genre(s): MM Romance
Page count: 428 pages
Published: 29 Junes 2017

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Home Invasion!
Author: John Valjean
Genre(s): Adult, MM Erotica, Taboo, Dubcon, Fiction
Word count: 8920
Published: 16 April 2019

My review | Book

Title: Daddy’s Construction Workers
Series: Forced Assault
Author: John Valjean
Genre(s): Adult, MM Erotica, Taboo, Fiction
Word count: 6600
Published: 17 October 2019

My review | Book

If you’re interested in any of these books are also available on The Book Depository, Smashwords, or you can get them from the links above at no extra cost to you

Book Review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

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How was it?

My first experience of Jack Reacher was the Tom Cruise Jack Reacher: Never Go Back version back in 2016 and the trailers for the 2012 movie before that. So I was curious about the original book version.

It starts out very slow and methodical, just like how Jack Reacher seems to be. A quiet man who observes, analyzes and acts accordingly. We are taken along on his thought processes and see how he scrutinizes everything around him. It’s quite fascinating if it weren’t for how obvious the bad guys were. Maybe the trailer for that first Cruise Reacher movie spoiled this book for me and that opening scene from the trailer seems to be summing up this story.

Another striking thing about Reacher, he’s not willing or eager to help, at first. He intervenes when he has to and when it serves him. He might be a bit selfish but to me it came off as a guy who just minds his own business. However the reason why he gets involved into the case made sense, yet seemed a bit too coincidental. Too much time had been spent establishing that he didn’t want to get involved so it had to be something big enough for him to join the investigation.

Although there is a small chunk that I zombie read, I’m pretty sure there are some plot holes in this book, an obvious one for me was the big deal that was made of Reacher not carrying any ID but he somehow took a plane and I don’t remember him going to get his ID or nothing. The other thing that really doesn’t make much sense is how Finlay got his job because they needed an idiot for it but there’s someone involved in the scheme at play here that who should’ve known that he’s a competent investigator.

So there are major non-sensical things in this book but it still entertains. It never became a chore to read or boring for me, despite admitting zombie reading some of it. It is a bit cliché for sure but the investigation part of the story was good even thought I would have expected it to be more action driven.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Killing Floor is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

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How was it? For a book written in 2014 the first part rings very true to the early days of COVID. However I was glad that the pandemic this book is kind of about isn’t the sole focus. We’re not spending too much time on the descend, the collapse of civilization, but it basically goes from the bottom up.

The story has a nice pace to it. I loved the back and forth between the past and the present, telling us what happened to the world and how the people the story follows lived and are living. The clever way some these characters are connected was an odd delight. Whether they knew it or not they basically had one connection in common, Arthur Leander, an actor who died on the same night the Georgia Flu pandemic began. There’s nothing mystical about the way they’re connected – at least I didn’t see it that way – they just happened to have crossed paths with Leander at one point in their lives pre-pandemic.

At some point, the steady pace in which the author tell us about this “collapsed” world with none of the trapping of modern society, felt slow or maybe monotone. I wanted to get to the end and was tempted to skip ahead. It wasn’t really out of boredom but a crescendo toward the end would have been appreciated. Besides the connections between the characters and the marvelous way this post apocalyptic world is described, there’s not much going on. There’s no big mystery to be solved, or cure to be found, and the book doesn’t need that but there’s a sameness that creeps in that makes the book a little interesting the further you go along. It takes the book a tad too long, even though it’s quite still somewhat entertaining.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Station Eleven is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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