Book Review | The Dragon King’s Heart by C.K. Noel

Krispin Adair has been alone for years. After his family was killed by his brother in the ultimate betrayal, Krispin accepted his lonely fate. Until a chance encounter brought him face to face with his fated mate…

Ben Morgan, on the trail of a rogue gargoyle, finds himself in an ambush. Attacked and left for dead, he knows there’s no hope for him. But when he wakes, he finds himself face to face with his Beloved and an ultimatum; if he wants to live, he must bond with the dragon king… and bear his son.

While the pair are making things work, they learn that Ben’s attack was just the start of something bigger–a war between the species. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an old shadow emerges with one wish–destroy all dragons. Can they stop the war? Will the figures determined to kill dragons get their wish?

Buy links:

How was it?

Now available as an audiobook, the first book in The High Garden Dragons series is short but has a lot of story. A lot happens in this novella and it’s quite entertaining throughout. There’s a decent amount of world building, some political intrigue, and a few surprises.

Although quick to happen, Krispin and Ben’s romance was sweet. I liked their chance encounter and how their relationship evolved. The Dragon King’s Heart is an mpreg story and I laughed out loud at how casually Kris sprung this information on Ben. The story in general moves fast and there’s enough action in and out of the bedroom to entertain.

This is the first audiobook, I’ve listened to where I feel like the story is far better than the narration suggested. I still think that Aaron Ross did a decent job with it but at times I had to rely on what was said to figure out who’s p.o.v we were on.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Dragon King’s Heart is available on Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Book Review | Primal by K.A. Merikan

Jag. Uninhibited. Possessive. Walks on the wild side.

Dane. Gentle giant. Monster lover. Plays it safe.

Dane always knew his illicit fantasies of rough sex and dangerous men would one day lead him down a path of no return, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stay away.

After being beaten half to death by his ex, he wakes up in a collar, chained to a wall by a wild man who claims Dane as his property.

From the moment Jag lays his eyes on Dane, he knows he wants to keep him. Big, strong, with colorful ink all over, he is the most unique man Jag had ever seen. But Dane has to be tamed if he is to become Jag’s mate for life.

All Jag needs to do is assure Dane that he will be protected and provided for, because the sparks are already flying. But Dane keeps nagging about irrelevant things like his family, responsibilities, and the Internet. No wonder Jag needs to keep him chained for longer than he expected.

The only way out for Dane is to play the role of Jag’s obedient, loving ‘mate’, and bide his time until he can escape. But while Jag is absolutely batshit, and his junkyard den lifestyle is insanity, he also showers Dane with treats, worships the ground he walks on, and f*cks him like a monster, the way Dane always dreamed of in his most secret fantasies.

Buy links:

How was it?

Primal was  a roller coaster of emotions for me, I went in blind like I most often do, and immediately started feeling really bad for Jaguar, who seemed sweet but rough around the edges. However this sweet wild man got me worried that he was slowly becoming irredeemable, because the situation he got himself in was getting from bad to worse at one point. While I understood where Jaguar was coming from, I found him brave and loved that he followed his instincts when it came to his attraction to men, I still did not excusing his actions regarding Dane.

It is real skill that Merikan has to make this crazy, f’ed up situation engaging, somewhat cute and…rational? Because I believed in Jaguar’s intentions and Dane’s feelings for him. I didn’t feel like the wrong things were getting glorified, Jaguar’s actions, as misguided as they were, seemed understandable once I got who he was. Jag left his unconventional family behind years ago, but he didn’t let go of his father’s teachings and beliefs. We may not go as in depth with Dane as we go with Jag but Dane is so much the average Joe, the guy next door, a canvas for readers to see themselves in that he didn’t need it as much as Jag did. Because Jaguar’s “crazy” needed to be explained and understood.

The second entry in the Wrong Side of the Tracks series is a book that I would have ignored because of the premise alone and maybe some of my prejudices about how romances featuring captivity or kidnapping are written and what they seem to promote. This was scary, lovely and sweet with a gem of a character that is the definition of a diamond in the rough. this book didn’t disappoint and I love how it all turned out in the end.

One thing I have to admit though, is that for a little while I thought this was a shifter romance because of how Jaguar talks and acts but he’s just a wild.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Primal is available on Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

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

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Book Review | Trial by Fire by Ariana Nash

The third book in the thrilling Shadows of London series.

It’s not just Kempthorne’s secrets bubbling to the surface of London’s streets …

Outmanoeuvred at every turn by the figure known as “M”, only Alexander Kempthorne can free Dom, but juggling the horrors of his own past, containing a rising preternatural threat and the twisted machinations of “M” might just be too much, even for Kempthorne. Can Kage Mitchell be trusted to help?

Alexander Kempthorne lost an agent before. He’ll not lose another. He’ll do anything to save Dom, and if that means revealing who and what he truly is, then his time has come.

Buy links:

How was it?

Twists and roller-coasters of emotions can be fun but when most of the decision making habits of the main characters you follow, doesn’t make sense to you, it’s a bit of chore. In a Tide of Tricks Kempthorne grew on me, so it was great that for almost a quarter of Trial by Fire we see life outside Wordsworth, subsequently spending more time with him, which was pretty amazing. And you know what? I did not miss Dom.

With M’s identity revealed I really thought this was going to be an engaging action-driven part of the story. Instead it was a lot – at least too much for me – going back and forth to places for dubious reasons. It almost felt like filler. Sometimes, I even felt the story edits as the flow wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be.

So reading it wasn’t the smooth and exciting ride I wanted it to be but there was enough to keep me going. The sexual tension between Dom and Kempthorne is top notch here. In previous entries, I didn’t understand the attraction between the two and didn’t see it has necessary, whereas here it was entertaining and juicy.

Despite the twists, emotion filled reveals, and gut punches I was tempted to skim this one too many times. It didn’t totally grip me, except when it comes to the evolution of Kempthorne, and his relationship with Dom.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Trial by Fire is available on The Book Depository, Amazon and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Book Review | Vampire with Benefits by E.J. Russell

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

Buy links:

How was it?

This is my first E.J. Russell read and I jumped in blind not realizing that this book is the second entry in the Supernatural Selection series but that didn’t matter much since the story is easy enough to follow and got more engaging as it went along.

Cas and Rusty were great together from the start, even when they were snipping at each other, I was rooting for them. They had great chemistry and the heat was goood. I liked Rusty in an instant and he was amazing throughout. Cas also grew on me, eventually, but he got on my nerves just as much. I guess his antics added some spice to the story – it didn’t really need it – but it allowed for the ending we got, which I quite liked.

I seriously hope we’ll see more of them in future books because Cas and Rusty’s secret is very juicy, and I doubt that Rusty’s ex will let him go, in particular when it’ll come out of nowhere to him.

Vampire with Benefits is a delightful read with a snarky and sometimes annoying vampire, and this gem of a beaver shifter who can’t shift.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Vampire with Benefits is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Book Review | Charlie Sunshine by Lily Morton

Sometimes love is a lot closer to home than you think.

Charlie Burroughs can’t keep a man. All he wants is a good relationship like the ones he sees his friends having, but none of the men he picks ever work out. Despite him trying to be the perfect boyfriend, the men are either threatened by his looks or his epilepsy or a combination of the two. It’s lucky that he has his best friend Misha to turn to. The two of them are closer than peas in a pod and fiercely loyal to each other. He can’t imagine his life without Misha in it.

Misha Lebedinsky is the complete opposite of his best friend. Being the support system for his mum and twin sisters leaves Misha with neither the time nor the inclination for a relationship. Quick and frequent hook-ups are his favourite means of communication and any other pesky emotional needs he has are met by Charlie, who he’s devoted to. He lives a life of happy compartmentalization with no intention of ever changing.

All of this changes when the two best friends move in together. Being in close proximity means that they suddenly start to see each other in a very different light. But Charlie struggles when his drive to be the perfect partner clashes with the fact that he’s in love with a man who knows every little thing about him. And even if he can get past that, can a relationship ever work with a man who’d need a dictionary to tell him what love means?

From bestselling author Lily Morton comes a love story about a sunny librarian who has relationship written all over him and a cynical banker who doesn’t even have it in his blurb.

This is the second book in the Close Proximity series but it can be read as a standalone. 

Buy links:

How was it?

I devoured the Mixed Messages and Black and Blue series so I jumped at the opportunity to read this one. It started well and good since I love a good slow burn but the characters need to pull their weight. So when one character seems far more interesting than the other it’s not as fun.

Charlie, the title character, was not my favorite. The more I learned about Charlie, the less I connected with him, and I even started to question Misha and Charlie’s friendship. Charlie has epilepsy but he’s not really taking care of himself and that kind of put me off but the way he was written in general made him seem like different people at different times with maturity level that seemed a bit too low for me at one point.
The other odd thing for me was the underwear thing – I know it’s nitpicky and maybe weird but I know the kind of underwear my friends like my bestie in particular – it was weird that it came as a total shock to Misha.

As for Misha, I understood him, I got him and he seem consistent. He’s hands down my favorite part of the story. He made me laugh so hard at one point but even that came so late in the book. So overall it was a nice read but it didn’t fully grabbed me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Charlie Sunshine is available on Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Book Review | Just Here for the Pain by K.A. Merikan

Sid. Drummer for The Underdogs. Secretly yearning for pain and submission.
Asher. AKA Stan. Stalker. More than meets the eye.

It’s hard to find good hookups while on tour. Sid wants pain, humiliation, and the kind of sex that isn’t easy to get from one-night stands. So for now, he’s given up, settled for an online Dom to get his rocks off, and focused on his band instead. The Underdogs are getting increasingly popular, but there is one fan who has followed Sid since before he even joined the band, and he’s driving Sid mad! Rich, spoiled hipster brat looking for the bad boy experience. If he knew what Sid was really into, he would run for the hills.

Asher is convinced that Sid is The One, his One True Love, his endgame. Years ago, Asher lost his virginity to Sid, and from that moment on, he knew it was meant to be. They had a spark, that honest connection that couldn’t be faked. The members of Sid’s band call him a stalker, but all he wants is to offer Sid his love. When Sid finally chokes out what he wants, Asher is more than ready to unleash it on him.

But the last time Sid was out as gay and submissive, he got badly burnt when his former band kicked him out, and the doors to many opportunities slammed in his face.
Asher wants the whole world to know that he’s dating Sid. Problem is, Sid would much rather keep the relationship as pain-with-benefits.

Buy links:

How was it?

With a title like that I knew to expect BDSM, in fact despite this being my first K.A Merikan read, I’ve sort of associated the author with kinky, BDSM stories.

However what I didn’t expect was to be far more interested in the plot than the scenes, as in BDSM scenes. It’s not just me not totally being into that level of BDSM play, because I’ve read a few stories depicting acts that I probably wouldn’t try, yet those stories still totally enthralled me into them. In this case I was game but not feeling it almost going through the motions at times. Yet I’d bet that to the right reader these BDSM scenes might be the hottest thing ever.

What grabbed my attention was the story between Asher and Sid. Their history is so weird and complicated that it grabbed me throughout. Their character growth were really good. The author didn’t shy away from the resentment stemming from their shared history, and managed not to saturate the story with angst and too much lack of communication drama.

I went in for the kink but totally stayed for the romance. The portrayal of BDSM is good, even great if you’re into it, but the romance is just as captivating.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just Here for the Pain is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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.

Buy links:

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.

Paper & Blood is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com