Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: April (Catherine)

Books vs E-ReadersEvery month, Runell withholds love and affection (and sexy Jensen Ackles .gifs) until I write these single sentence book reviews. Since I clearly can’t go without Jensen Ackles… er… Runell’s love and affection, here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been reading this month:

1. Shiny! by Amy Lane: A sweet GFY story about how two adorkable men met over a golden dildo and fell deeply in love (told in a flashback style reminiscent of How I Met Your Mother); it wasn’t as funny as I was expecting it to be. [3 smooches]

2. Once a Marine by Cat Grant: The plot of this book about an ex-Marine and a waiter/writer was a little messy and meandered a bit, but did so in the same way that life is a little bit messy and meanders a bit; it was thoroughly enjoyable. [3.5 smooches]

3. Promises (Coda #1) by Marie Sexton: The first in a series loved by many M/M romance fans, Promises was a story – equal parts sweet and frustrating – about two men who built their romantic relationship on a foundation of friendship. [3.5 smooches]

4. To Catch a Fox (Fox Mysteries #1) by Geoffrey Knight & Ethan Day: A thoroughly enjoyable mystery novel, To Catch a Fox had charm, grit, humour, surprises, action, panty-melting sexy times, and it managed to capture the flavour of New Orleans; all that was missing was a HEA or HFN. [4 smooches]

5. The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek (Clumsy Cupid Guidebooks #1) by Piper Vaughn & Xara X. Xanakas: A cute book with cute characters (I always love a great opposites-attract story), I think I liked the premise more in theory than execution.[3 smooches]

6. More Than Moonlight (Lucky Moon #0.5) by Piper Vaughn & M.J. O’Shea: Three completely adorable vignettes that had me fanning my face one minute (‘cuz that first sexual encounter was HOT!), and swooning over how cute and painfully earnest Shane and Jesse were the next; I cannot wait to read Moonlight Becomes You! [4 smooches]

7. Moonlight Becomes You (Lucky Moon #1) by Piper Vaughn & M.J. O’Shea: These two write the BEST best-friends-make-the-best-lovers books. Period. Full stop. (Note: I read the 2nd edition) [4 smooches]

8. Roped In by Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt: A sexy little novella from two great authors, I couldn’t help but feel as if Graham ended up with the wrong man (the opposites-attract trope was fun, but didn’t strike me as lasting). [3 smooches]

9. Tell Me It’s Real by T.J. Klune: Hands down the funniest book I have ever read, the premise is adorable and every single one of the characters is sweet, endearing, ridiculously over the top, and fucking hilarious. [5 smooches]

10. Snowcroft Lost (Snowcroft Men #1) by Christi Snow: Typically a M/F romance author, I thought Snow’s M/M debut was really well done – awesome main characters who genuinely care about one another and tonnes of creative plot twists that built to a fantastic conclusion. [4 smooches]

11. Breaking Point (Turning Point #2) by N.R. Walker: Reading books about established couples can be pretty hit or miss, but this grittier second installment in the Turning Point series was pure awesomeness (I flippin’ adore Matt & Kira)! [5 smooches]

12. Two Times Lucky (Luck Moon #2.5) by Piper Vaughn & M.J. O’Shea: A dirty hot vignette between Luka & Nicky that made this fan’s heart happy. [3.5 smooches]

Spotlight & Giveaway: Roped In by Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt

Roped InTitle: Roped In
Author:
 Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt
Release Date: April 20, 2014
Publisher: Amber Allure
Length: 39,000 words

This sexy opposites-attract novella from Marie Sexton and L.A. Witt has “can’t lose” written all over it. Seriously, between the cowboys, the (light) BDSM, and the emotionally complicated love triangle, I don’t know which aspect of the book I am looking forward to most.

One thing I do know for sure: this ain’t gonna be no 8-second ride! 😉

Check out the book blurb below and then make sure to enter the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post for  a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card and 1 ebook from EACH of the authors’ backlists!

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Graham and his roping partner Jackson have ruled the rodeo scene for ten years running, but lately, Graham’s heart isn’t in the game. He’s tired of the bruises, the cowboy mentality, and the animal rights activists who picket every event. And then there’s Jackson.

Graham and Jackson have been friends since they were boys. But ever since their drunken sexual encounter the year before, things have been awkward. Graham’s accepted that he might be gay, but no matter how attracted he is to other men, he always panics and runs when the clothes start to come off.

Then Graham has a run-in with one of the rodeo protesters, and everything changes. Kaz is young, idealistic, and sexy as hell. And Kaz has an idea for getting Graham past his nerves and into bed.

All they need is a bit of rope.

About the Authors:

marieheadshot 2Marie Sexton lives in Colorado.  She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other.  In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband.  Her imaginary friends often tag along.  Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity.  She loves them anyway.

Website: http://mariesexton.net/
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/MarieSexton
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MarieSexton
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MarieSexton.author
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/msextonauthor/

LA WittL.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

GIVEAWAY

Enter (press the Rafflecopter logo) for a chance to win a  $20 Amazon Giftcard and 1 ebook from EACH of the authors’ backlists! Giveaway closes April 27, 2014 at 12:00a.m.

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Can’t wait another second to read Roped In?
Purchase it NOW from Amber Allure.

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Review: Mark Cooper versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Mark Cooper versus AmericaTitleMark Cooper versus America
AuthorLisa Henry & J.A. Rock
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Loose ID
Pages: 273
Read: April 1-2, 2014

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Mark Cooper is angry, homesick, and about to take his stepdad’s dubious advice and rush Prescott College’s biggest party fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. Greek life is as foreign to Aussie transplant Mark as Pennsylvania’s snowstorms and bear sightings. So, when the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark vows to get himself kicked out by the end of pledge period. But then he’s drawn into Alpha Delt’s feud with a neighboring fraternity.

Studious Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark’s pledging Alpha Delt, his fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa’s sworn enemy. Mark is too beautiful for Deacon to pass up an invitation for sex, but beyond sex, Deacon’s not sure. He wants a relationship, but a difficult family situation prevents him from pursuing anything beyond his studies.

Mark and Deacon’s affair heats up as the war between their fraternities escalates. They explore kinks they didn’t know they had while keeping their liaison a secret from their brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn’t teach these star-crossed lovers is how to move beyond sex and into a place where they share more than a bed. That’s something they’ll have to figure out on their own—if the friction between their houses, and between Mark and America, doesn’t tear them apart.

My Thoughts:

This was bloody damn well good.

It made me happy, it made me annoyed, it made me awww, and, most importantly of all, it made me hot.

It’s all about how angry bunny with an Australian accent meets older (not by much) geeky American bartender and how they become Romeo and Juliet as they are a part of opposing fraternities (never frat) who find that they have really kinky sides and decide to explore it and along the way fall in love.

Trust me when I say the book is a million times better than the bastardization of a synopsis that I just gave you.

I mean, this book has got things that I myself, not just Mark or Deacon, didn’t know that I would ever find hot.

Like cross dressing. Not hardcore cross dressing, but definite I’m a man, but I’m totally rocking this French maid outfit . . . kind of thing. And spanking. Dear God, as many BDSM books as I’ve read so far (which, to be fair, hasn’t been an overabundance, but still) where spankings definitely take place, I have never been turned on by spanking as much as I was in this book. I don’t know what it was that made the spanking so different in this book, but whatever it was, I appreciated it a lot. (And when I say I appreciated it, I mean I drooled/foamed at the mouth over it.)

This was the first book that I read from the partnership of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, and it won’t be my last. Their writing is superb, not a single word felt forced or fake or meh. I haven’t read a J.A. Rock book in which she is the sole author of, but even still, it was impossible for me to be able to point out a single scene, line, or character and think, “Oh, I know who wrote that,” because of the fact that they flow so wonderfully together.

That’s a beautiful partnership.

That’s fantastic writing.

While I pretty much loved everything about this book (except Bengal. Bengal must die. Bengal must die painfully.)–the cross dressing, the spanking, the Australian accent and the cute way that Mark thinks it’s okay to spell words with ‘u’s that they don’t belong in and saying ‘arse’–the best aspects to this book, the things that drove the book the most for me, was the relationship between Mark and Deacon, how relatable they both were, and how they never apologized for liking what they liked.

The ‘relationship’ between Mark and Deacon doesn’t begin immediately, it grows from an acquaintance to a blowjob behind the bar where Deacon works to friendship to discovering not just each other but even deeper facets of themselves together to, finally, the relationship. The arc between acquaintances to he’s mine, and I’m his is genuine and real which makes it all the more plausible that Mark and Deacon are real people and Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock are deeply into voyeurism. (I kid . . . or do I?)

It takes a very confident person to never apologize for being the way they are and for liking what they like. Mark and Deacon? Yeah, they don’t apologize for any of it: the cross dressing, the spanking, the desire to feel used, to feel dirty, but to never feel less than, and the fisting. Yes. You read that right. The fisting. To realize that is something you want, you got to know yourself. Mark and Deacon, though they have their moments of self doubt–everyone does, after all–know themselves.

Mark and Deacon are so relatable for me because, while our situations aren’t the same, I’ve found myself in the same places that they both found themselves in. I was able to connect with them and not just see them as figments of these authors’ minds, but as two people. And when that happens, you know you’re reading something good.

The moment characters become people is the moment everything becomes real.

Mark Cooper versus America is real.

Quotable Quotes:

“Because Clare had never let the fact that Mark didn’t have a father in his life get in the way of sex education. She’d been showing Mark how to roll condoms onto bananas long before he’d known it was other bananas he was interested in.”

My Rating:

1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch1 SmoochHalf

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Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: March (Runell)

Here we go again for March:

  1. Broken Pieces by Riley Hart: If only every M/M/M was written like this . . . [5 smooches*]
  2. The Darkest Hour (KGI #1) by Maya Banks: Ethan, sweetheart, you can call me “baby” anytime you want. [4 smooches*]
  3. St. Nacho’s (St. Nacho’s #1) by Z.A. Maxfield: I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, but Cooper and Shawn stole a piece of my heart and refused to give it back. [4.5 smooches*]
  4. Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux: I loved it because it’s Ty and Zane, with the wonderful bonus of Nick and Kelly, but it still left me feeling like a mixed bag of emotions; I’ll always love my boys though, no matter what. [3.5 smooches*]
  5. Sinner’s Gin (Sinners Series #1) by Rhys Ford: My first audiobook and dear God . . . Tristan James + Irish accent = eargasm of the fucking century[5 smooches*]
  6. Wanting (Rocky Mountain High: Campus Hearts #1) by M.L. Rhodes: A quick, light GFY (my crack!) that made me aww, but is still pretty forgettable. [2.5 smooches]
  7. Silent by Sara Alva: This hurt. [5 smooches*]
  8. Pony (Guards of Folsom #3) by S.J.D. Peterson: I was in the very least expecting first degree burns; I was hardly singed. [2.5 smooches]
  9. Normal Enough by Marie Sexton: A nice, light, fluffy read. [3 smooches]
  10. Our December (The Making of a Man #1) by Diane Adams: I thought there would have been more angst considering how one of the main characters was so caught up with the age difference (and rightly so), but there wasn’t. [2.5 smooches]
  11. Coming Home (Rock Bay #1) by M.J. O’Shea: I didn’t like it at all. That’s all I got to say about that . . . [1 smooch]
  12. The Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon: Three things: 1. This book is fucking awesome; 2. Claire is probably my favorite female protagonist ever; 3. I want to marry Jamie. [5 smooches*]

*Will Be Reviewed Eventually

Most Anticipated Reads: April

Well. It’s that time of month again . . .

The moment where we state what books that we, with all good intentions, plan on reading, or in the very least attempt to. Sometimes we succeed, and other times we fail (and when I say we, I mean me, Runell, because someone was a good little trooper and actually read all the books that she said she was going to for the month of March, whereas I only read one).

It’s a good thing we’re not given any gold stars because I would be more than just slightly lacking.

*Sniffs indignantly* Whatever. I don’t need anyone’s gold stars. I’m my own person.

*Mutters* I really want those goddamn gold stars . . .

Runell’s 3 Most Anticipated Books of April 2014:

1. Mark Cooper versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock: I’ve had my eye on this for quite sometime now, even before it was Mark Cooper versus America released back at the end of January, but no matter how much I wanted to read it, I wasn’t really in the mood for it.

I’m in the mood for it now. In fact, I have been for the last few weeks, but since it was chosen for me for a challenge that kicks off in April, I couldn’t touch it until then. As I’m writing this, I’m merely thirty-eight minutes away from it officially being April 1st. That challenge I was talking about? Yeah, it’s a challenge that goes on for three months, so it starts at the first of April and ends on July 31, and within those three months it’s my goal to finish as many of the sixty-two books (yes, 62) that were chosen for me.

And this will be the first one that I read. I’m determined that it will be.

Also, I’m really looking forward to all the naughty glory that I’ve heard about in this book. I know someone’s got a little lace (?) fetish, I believe, and someone (note, I’m not aware of who these someone’s are) likes to be spanked? I’m pretty sure I read that in a review somewhere… At least I hope I did because hello!

2. Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon: If you happen to follow me on Goodreads (and if you don’t, maybe you should because then you get to see me in all my .gif glory), then you would be aware, very aware, that I read Outlander in six days (and I would’ve finished it sooner but those last two days as I closed in on the last one hundred pages, I didn’t want to finish it because I didn’t Dragonfly in Amberhave Dragonfly on hand), and absolutely loved it. Claire, I’m pretty sure, is my favorite female character ever now, and I want to marry Jamie sooo bad.

I’ve always been attracted to darker men (tall, dark, and handsome: yes, yes, and yes), and have pretty much never found blonde and red heads appealing (I pretty much figure it’s because I’m so fair myself and hate it), but Jamie is one red-headed Scotsman that I would love to do very, very wicked things with.

Just sayin’ . . .

So, the quicker I can back to Jamie the better. (Also as a very brief side note, my favorite color ever is orange, and my hardback copy of this book is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Seriously.)

3. Only Love by Garrett Leigh: I don’t really know what to say about this one other then, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME. I read Slide and Marked by Garrett Leigh and absolutely fell in loveOnly Love with Pete and Ash and the way my heart was ripped out of my chest, thrown into the dirt and squashed repeatedly, then picked up and placed back into my chest cavity and given a nice little, there, there pat at the end.

Apparently, I’m a masochist.

At least in the hands of Garrett Leigh.

And just by the blurb alone, I know I’m going to be in masochistic heaven . . . Or is hell?

Catherine’s 3 Most Anticipated Books of April 2014:

1. The Boyfriend Mandate (The Boyfriend Chronicles #2) by River Jaymes:  Last year, I fell in love with River’s first full-length M/M romance novel, The Backup Boyfriend. As far as I was concerned, the book was pure perfection – perfect characters, perfect plot, perfect pacing, perfect dialogue, and a perfectly believable gay-for-you romance. (It probably also doesn’t hurt that it’s been four months and I still can’t think about motor oil without needing to take a cold shower.) *fans flushed face*

April marks the much, much anticipated release of the second book in the series. As of this moment, there’s no cover, no book blurb, and no firm release date. And yet, I still want to read it more than a man lost in the desert wants a tall, ice-cold glass of water. That is the power of the auto-buy author, folks. River Jaymes… she’s just that good.

Vaughn & Boehme Cover2. Wood, Screws, & Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme: Vaughn’s books were some of the first that I read in the M/M romance genre and she has quickly become one of my go-to authors. I know that her books will always be sweet, sexy, and have just enough angst to give the book’s climax an emotional punch. Boehme, on the other hand, is one of my most recent discoveries; I read – and loved – Trouble & the Wallflower last month. I found his characters familiar, yet fresh, and the book’s ending bittersweet, but authentic.

When I learned that the two were collaborating on a book about a sexy contractor falling in love with his son’s best friend…? Ha! Sliding it to the top of my TBR mountain for April became a no-brainer (mostly because my brain is now filled with construction-themed sexual innuendo).

NR Cover3. Shadow Spell (The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts: *sigh* I heart Nora Roberts books. As the first romance author I ever read, she’ll always have a special place in my heart. That’s why, even though I almost never read M/F romance novels anymore, I am dying to read the next book in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy. It’s set in Ireland, has witchy themes, and revolves around a gaggle of sexy men and strong, smart women kicking evil’s proverbial ass. Let’s be real: it’s like the perfect recipe for everything Roberts does best.