Review: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by L.A. Witt and Cari Z

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Author(s): L.A. Witt and Cari Z
Publication Date: August 21, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 283 pages
My Rating:  4 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

SO. GUYS. I finally finished reading this book! It’s not that the story is particularly angsty or disturbing, but I just couldn’t handle Asher’s storyline. Like, at all. It was just too much trying to read the books in this series back-to-back. The story between Darren and Andreas was already strong without it, so I think Asher’s story was a little too much and kept this from really feeling like a HFN/HEA series I was expecting to read.

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Audiobook Review: Until You (At First Sight #3) by TJ Klune

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Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Michael Lesley
Publication Date: February 27, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Audiobook Length: 5 hours and 4 minutes
Page Length: 149 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Together with their families and friends, Paul Auster and Vincent Taylor request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.

Paul Auster and Vince Taylor just want to have a simple wedding. Really, is that too much to ask?

As the big day approaches, they struggle to keep everything from spiraling out of control. From meddling friends and intrusive family, to a certain drag queen’s idea as to what constitutes a normal bachelor party, Paul and Vince have their work cut out for them.

I honestly was NOT expecting to cry this much listening to this book. I didn’t have the best things to say about Paul and Vince in Tell Me It’s Real, but I think I’m going to go back and listen to that book in audiobook, because I think Michael Lesley might be able to change my mind on the story. Because this book hit me right in the feels. It was so heartfelt and the confessions were so raw…I couldn’t take it and this left me sobbing. Happy tears, but still. I wasn’t expecting it. ❤

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Audiobook Review: The Queen and the Homo Jock King (At First Sight #2) by TJ Klune

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Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Michael Lesley
Publication Date: February 29, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Audiobook Length: 17 hours and 5 minutes
Page Length: 350 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.

Or so he tells himself.

It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

I feel like listening to the audiobook for this series was a nice change of pace from actually reading the book. I had initially started reading this book right after I finished Tell Me It’s Real, and I just wasn’t into it. TMIR was too…shocking a book to read after finishing The Art of Breathing to be honest. It was too over-the-top and the instalove and the comedy just wasn’t my thing.

But I did want to give this series another chance, and since I absolutely love Michael Lesley’s narration in the Tales from Verania series, I decided to give this series another chance. And I’m glad I did! I love the characters so much more by audiobook, and the really long stream-of-consciousness type ramblings from the characters are much more tolerable (I was fine reading Bear’s POV in the BoaTK books, so I don’t know why I couldn’t read them here). This is the one series by TJ Klune I’ve struggled with reading, but the audiobook knocks it out of the park and now I realize why so many people love this series.

This story focuses on Sandy and Darren, and the UST is unreal. You don’t usually get contemporary romance books that are 17 hours long (most are around the 7 or 8 hour mark), so the sexual tension between Sandy and Darren feels that much longer. I’m a huge fan of slow burn romances, and Sandy and Darren absolutely have to work for their HEA here. And the payoff is so worth it.

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ARC Review: The Wolf at Bay (Big Bad Wolf #2) by Charlie Adhara

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Author: Charlie Adhara
Publication Date: September 24, 2018
Format: ARC
Page Length: 249 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Going home digs up bad memories, so it’s something Bureau of Special Investigations agent Cooper Dayton tries to avoid. When he’s guilted into a visit, Cooper brings along Oliver Park, his hot new werewolf partner, in the hopes the trip will help clarify their status as a couple…or not.

When Park’s keen shifter nose uncovers a body in the yard and Cooper’s father is the prime suspect, Cooper knows they’re on their own. Familial involvement means no sanctioned investigation. They’ll need to go rogue and solve the mystery quietly or risk seeing Cooper’s dad put behind bars.

The case may be cold, but Park and Cooper’s relationship heats up as they work. And yet if Cooper can’t figure out what’s going on between them outside of the bedroom, he’ll lose someone he… Well, he can’t quite put into words how he feels about Park. He knows one thing for sure: he’s not ready to say goodbye, though with the real killer inching ever closer…he may not have a choice.

THE ANGST, Y’ALL. THE ANNNNNNNNGST.

I thought The Wolf at the Door had angst, but this book takes the cake. Book one was a very strong book, and I was quite impressed with the depth and complexity of the story, but this one is even better. This brings family drama to the forefront, with a mysterious dead body buried in the backyard as the…lovely backdrop to the story.

Cooper is essentially tricked into returning home to see his father, Ed, and brother, Dean, and we learn that “home” is actually not all too far from where Cooper lives. But, he’s taking to avoiding his family because he’s not out to his family and doesn’t want his dad to have yet another reason to nag about his life.

Sometimes letting people get to know more about you didn’t bring you closer, it just gave them more reasons to want to walk away.

Ed was the local sheriff in their hometown, and it was always expected that both Cooper and Dean would follow in their father’s footsteps. Cooper’s brother did, but Cooper ran off to join the federal agency. First, the FBI, and after his injury on the job, the BSI. Ed never fails to harp on Cooper for working for the government and wants him to return home and work with his brother (now a sheriff). Cooper has lived a life separate now from his family, and had ever felt like his connection to the family was through his mother. So, going home after the years he’s spent away isn’t his idea of a fun weekend. Especially not with his new work partner he only recently began sleeping with – Oliver Park.

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Review: The Wolf at the Door (Big Bad Wolf #1) by Charlie Adhara

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Author: Charlie Adhara
Publication Date: February 19, 2018
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 350 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Hunting for big bad wolves was never part of Agent Cooper Dayton’s plan, but a werewolf attack lands him in the carefully guarded Bureau of Special Investigations. A new case comes with a new partner: ruggedly sexy werewolf Oliver Park.

Park is an agent of The Trust, a werewolf oversight organization working to ease escalating tensions with the BSI. But as far as Cooper’s concerned, it’s failing. As they investigate a series of mysterious deaths unlike anything they’ve seen, every bone in Cooper’s body is suspicious of his new partner—even when Park proves himself as competent as he is utterly captivating.

When more people vanish, pressure to solve the case skyrockets. And though he’d resolved to keep things professional, Cooper’s friction with Park soon erupts…into a physical need that can’t be contained or controlled. But with a body count that’s rising by the day, werewolves and humans are in equal danger. If Cooper and Park don’t catch the killer soon, one—or both—of them could be the next to go.

Romantic suspense with shifters? COUNT ME IN. I’ve been on a bit of a romantic suspense binge, and I absolutely love shifter books, so this book was perfect for me to pick up. I had already read that this book was highly recommended by people I follow, and it did not disappoint. I love how this story keeps you guessing until the end. There’s ANGST and I just want to give Cooper a hug. He’s precious and his dry wit is everything.

This story is about Cooper, an agent who gets stuck working with a werewolf, Oliver Park, as part of the Bureau of Special Investigations and The Trust’s joint public relations initiative to show the two sides can work together. The BSI’s job has long been to hunt down unregistered werewolves, or to capture any who may have committed crimes, and this puts them into a sticky situation with the entirely werewolf run organization, The Trust.

Although the story is about shifters, the story tackles discussions on racism and discrimination that’s relatable today.

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Review: Power Play by Cara Dee

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Author: Cara Dee
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 276 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

I was my own worst enemy. For as much as I depended on order and a structured life to easier manage my bipolar disorder, fire was irresistible and indisputably my favorite toy to play with. On the ice, it turned me into a hotheaded hockey player. In the bedroom, my attitude was my last defense, a front I wanted to see tumbling down. But lately, all I got was burned.

Love sucked. Correction: it sucked when you were in love with your parents’ closest friend and he didn’t feel the same. I admitted my feelings for Madigan Monroe over a year ago, and I was still waiting for a response. Now my balance was gone. My anxiety was all over the place, my fits of rage had just earned me a suspension from the team, I questioned myself at every turn, and being home for two weeks was gonna make it impossible to avoid Madigan.

I used to be his Abel, his sweetheart, his trouble. It’d been the two of us against the world since I was a kid. I’d even discovered we had kink in common! On paper, I was seemingly perfect for him. Maybe that was why his nonverbal rejection hurt so much. Or maybe it was because, recently, he seemed hell-bent on us “being friends” again.

Whatever. I was a loser, and I couldn’t resist him for crap.

(DD/lb-dynamic.)

This works as a m/m prequel to the Auctioned books, and is technically marketed as a standalone. BUT. I felt there were a little too many secondary characters who had been introduced in the Camassia Cove series that wind up in this story with little to no explanation to who they are. It’s great if you’ve read that series before this one (the series contains both m/f and m/m, I think). But if you didn’t know ahead of time, then you’re kind of at a loss at who all these people are and it’s hard to keep up with so many characters.

This story is an age gap DD/lb romance between Abel and Madigan. Abel has been in love with Mad forever, but Mad never quite saw Abel that way. And when Abel confesses his feelings to Mad in the middle of the night, Mad essentially ignores Abel’s confession and does his best to avoid Abel altogether.

Abel and Mad used to be close, but with the confession driving them apart, it’s put Abel in a bad space. He wants his friend back, even if it doesn’t seem like Mad wants anything to do with Abel.

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Review: Auctioned (8392 #1) by Cara Dee

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Author: Cara Dee
Publication Date: June 28, 2018
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 207 pages
My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Gray Nolan’s biggest problem in life was the torch he carried for his closeted coach. He was just another happy-go-lucky dude, a college student and hockey player, when his ordinary existence was interrupted, and he became a human trafficking statistic.

He and seven other young men were taken aboard a luxurious yacht where they were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Gray was beaten, shattered, and almost defeated by the time his buyer stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke.

He was Gray’s new owner.

Darius Quinn had vowed never again to find himself in a situation like this. His days as a private military contractor were over. No more missions, no more risks, no more personal attachments. Yet, here he was, after weeks of searching, face-to-face with his broken prize.

It was time to get the knucklehead back to his family.

Quick and easy was Darius’s plan.

Then everything went sideways.

—————————————————-

Auctioned, book 1. (Does not end with a cliffhanger.)

This was a too dark for me and not really my cup of tea until the very end. The content in this novel was too much. I quickly skimmed through the first 15% (don’t ask me why I kept reading), but I will say that the last 30% of this book is satisfying and everyone gets what they deserve. And it was really the last bit that saved the book for me and has me open to reading the rest of the books in this series (there’s supposed to be a total of five). I somehow keep stumbling upon books with human trafficking topics in romance books for some reason. It’s probably the flashy covers and Amazon advertisements to be honest and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

This book is…different. In a way. Yes, the “owner” is the love interest, but this is possibly the first time I’ve come across a book where the “owner” is actually a hired gun by the “slave’s” family to bring him back home. The relationship is all a ruse. So that’s a key difference and what puts this book in a murky grey area for me.

Trigger warnings for extremely graphic descriptions of physical abuse, sexual abuse, rape (mentioned), and torture of queer characters.

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ARC Review: The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy

 

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Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: August 6, 2018
Format: ARC
Page Length: 378 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

The Chase read more like The Royals than Off-Campus to me. And even then, I still think I like both of those series more. This was a start, and I am interested in seeing where this series goes. I really loved Summer, but Fitzy wasn’t quite what I was expecting. So, I think I had my expectations set too high? The book started out strong, but I felt like it just kind of fell apart with all the different subplots (and none of them were really all that fun).

Trigger warnings for sexual assault, victim blaming, internalized ableism, use of the term “spirit animal,” and drug use.

***THE REST OF THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS***

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ARC Review: Criminal Intentions: “The Cardigans” (Season 1, Episode 1) by Cole McCade

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Author: Cole McCade
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Format: ARC
Page Length: 212 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

ABOUT SEASON ONE, EPISODE ONE

When a string of young queer men turn up dead in grisly murders, all signs point to the ex-boyfriend—but what should be an open-and-shut case is fraught with tension when BPD homicide detective Malcolm Khalaji joins up with a partner he never wanted. Rigid, ice-cold, and a stickler for the rules, Seong-Jae Yoon is a watchful presence whose obstinacy and unpredictability constantly remind Malcolm why he prefers to work alone. Seong-Jae may be stunningly attractive, a man who moves like a graceful, lethal bird of prey…but he’s as impossible to decipher as this case.

And if Malcolm doesn’t find the key to unravel both in time, another vulnerable young victim may end up dead.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Baltimore homicide detective Malcolm Khalaji has his own way of doing things: quiet, methodical, logical, effective, not always particularly legal. He’s used to working alone—and the last thing he needs is a new partner ten years his junior.

Especially one like Seong-Jae Yoon.

Icy. Willful. Detached. Stubborn. Seong-Jae is all that and more, impossible to work with and headstrong enough to get them both killed…if they don’t kill each other first. Foxlike and sullen, Seong-Jae’s disdainful beauty conceals a smoldering and ferocious temper, and as he and Malcolm clash the sparks between them build until neither can tell the difference between loathing and desire.

But as bodies pile up at their feet a string of strange, seemingly unrelated murders takes a bizarre turn, leading them deeper and deeper into Baltimore’s criminal underworld. Every death carries a dangerous message, another in a trail of breadcrumbs that can only end in blood.

Malcolm and Seong-Jae must combine their wits against an unseen killer and trace the unsettling murders to their source. Together, they’ll descend the darkest pathways of a twisted mind—and discover just how deep the rabbit hole goes. And if they can’t learn to trust each other?

Neither will make it out alive.

I should preface this by saying that this IS a book series, but the author is labeling each book like an episode of a TV show. So, this series is going to be like a procedural? A majority of the story is going to be about solving the latest crime but there’s also a hint of a story about the main characters that connects the books together. Which I didn’t know when I started reading this book.

I was expecting something  more like the romance suspense books I’ve read before, where it’s more balanced at maybe half and half split between romance and crime, but this book is more like 90% crime and 10% romance. But because this series is modeled after crime shows, I guess that’s okay. This is like that pilot episode where everyone is just trying to get to know each other.

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Blog Tour + Review + Excerpt: Star-Touched Stories (The Star-Touched Queen #2.5) by Roshani Chokshi

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Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Page Length:  304 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Gauri and Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she will have to battle her insecurities and maybe, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

As the excitement builds for Chokshi’s next series THE GILDED WOLVES (February 2019), this collection will satisfy the cravings for her gorgeous prose and fans can catch up with their favorite characters. Even if dipping into the Star- Touched universe for the first time, STAR-TOUCHED STORIES will draw you in and leaving for more.

REVIEW

What an absolute joy to be back in the world of The Star-Touched Queen series. These stories are as magical and lyrical as ever and this is yet another book you need to savor as your read. They ensnare you and makes it feel like you’re really there with the characters. I adore Roshani’s writing and she just has this way of bringing this world to life. I will be the first to admit that usually purple prose isn’t for me, but there’s something really splendid about this series that manages to enrich your soul. I can’t help but to fall in love with these stories. These are stories I didn’t even know I NEEDED in my life until I read them and I love that the publisher has found a way to print these novellas together into a physical book.

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