Review: The Roommate Situation by Zoe X. Rider

RoomateTitle & Author: The Roommate Situation by Zoe X. Rider
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 330

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

College freshman Shane Hahn finds himself unexpectedly shuffled to a new dorm room–which is fine by him, but his over-involved mother takes one look at toothpick-chewing, motorcycle-riding Derek McClain, his new roommate, and gets on the phone with the school. The school requires that Shane be the one to file the room-change paperwork, but Shane’s reluctant.

He’s attracted to Derek’s independence, even though that independence means Derek has to pay his own way through college, which he does by making leather products (you know: belts, wallets…bondage gear) and selling it online. Shane isn’t even allowed to work while he’s in school, much less join a band, which is what he really wants to do with his life. Unfortunately, his parents are holding his guitar hostage until he can prove he’s taking his future seriously.

When he decides he needs a way to come up with cash–the kind his parents won’t find out about–so he can buy a guitar his parents can’t take away from him, he turns to Derek with what sounds like a win-win solution: he’ll model bondage gear for Derek’s online store photos, Derek will get more sales, and Shane will get a cut. The one thing he doesn’t factor into his plan is the giddy stomach-flip feeling Derek McClain causes whenever he walks in the room–and what that might mean for them when Derek starts locking leather cuffs on his wrists.

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this one.

The relationship between Derek and Shane was strong and the slow-build from tentative overtures of friendship to lovers to being in love was utterly believable. There was also some decent character development. Both characters felt like your genuine ‘every man’ – like the guys that lived down the hall from you in the dorms, or sit next to you in class, or pass you in the hall at a party – and it was nice to see their growth over the course of the book (particularly that of Shane). Also, the small dose of kink that Rider threw in was somehow sweet and innocent and honest; it felt completely natural for both of these guys to explore these different sides to their personalities and sexuality while in college.

One aspect of the book that didn’t hugely thrill me was that after about 200 pages I found the minutiae of college life and the mundane nature of some of the conversations to get a little tedious. I’ve been there, done that – three times (but who’s counting?) – and I know these conversations by heart already. I’m over them. Let’s sing a new song already!

Still, I think the biggest obstacle to my enjoyment of this book was that the focus was split pretty evenly between Shane’s relationship with Derek, Shane’s relationship with his parents (particularly his sMother), and Shane’s journey of self-discovery. Personally, I would have preferred a little less of the parental pressures and a little more outright romance in my romance novel – just a few more outright declarations, sweet nothings, or casually affectionate gestures to lighten my heart. But that’s entirely a personal preference; you might find it to have the perfect balance.

Definitely worth a read, but it wouldn’t make the top of my recommendation lists.

My Rating:

3 Smooch

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Spotlight & Giveaway: A Time for Loving by Nico Jaye

A Time for Loving by Nico Jaye - CoverTitle & Author: A Time for Loving by Nico Jaye
Release Date: October 23, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Length: 6,565 words

Lately, I’ve really been digging historical M/M romances – there’s just something so touching about a story in which two men meet and fall in love despite facing societal norms that make their love taboo (if not outright illegal). It’s the ultimate “love conquers all” and I adore them! So, when I heard that one of my favourite authors of contemporary smuff (that’s smutty fluff to you laymen) was trying her hand at a historical short, I couldn’t WAIT to get my hot little hands on it.

Check out the book blurb and excerpt below and then make sure to enter the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post for  a chance to win 1 ebook copy of A Time for Loving and a pretty ring with the word “love” on it!

C’mon now, you know you wanna… 😉

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Jack and Christopher have made it through years of campaigning and the horrors of Waterloo together—side by side by day and, by night, in each other’s arms. After the war is over, however, will the love shared between this batman and his officer survive when Christopher returns to the life of a gentleman?

Want a Taste? Check out this excerpt:

When Christopher returned to the bedchamber at the time the clock ticked its way past midnight, Jack was waiting for him. As was their routine, they locked the doors to bar any unwanted nightly visitors, such a practice explained to the household as a way to deter Christopher’s childhood habit of sleepwalking.

Little did they know he’d outgrown such an inclination years ago.

“A pleasant evening,” Christopher said mildly over his shoulder as Jack assisted him out of his well-fitted navy evening jacket.

“Was it?” Jack murmured in response. Setting aside the garment onto the clothes valet, he turned to face Christopher’s back and skimmed his hands over his shoulders. His palms, forever callused from years of campaigning, nevertheless picked up the texture of the silver-embroidered brocade waistcoat. Those shoulders were broad, carrying with them the weight of responsibility—for their regiment, for their secret, for their future—well beyond Christopher’s twenty-three years.

Lost in his thoughts, Jack startled when Christopher turned around to grasp his wrist gently. He looked up into Christopher’s familiar gaze and sighed, his heart settling into place even as his pulse began to race at the sight of the heat in those blue depths.

“It would have been much more pleasant with your company, Jack,” Christopher said, his voice warm and low.

With a hard swallow, Jack smiled up into that precious face. Tilting his head, he listened for a moment and heard the sounds of the house going to sleep around them.

This was their time—the time between days when they could be lost in their world.

“You know ’tis impossible, Christopher,” Jack whispered regretfully, searching his gaze. Jack moved to clasp his hand, drawing Christopher’s palm to his neck and curling it against the skin there. Leaning into the touch, Jack closed his eyes briefly before glancing up again. “But our time is now, and my company is yours. Yours always.”

When Christopher’s gaze dropped to his lips, Jack moved forward, touching their mouths to each other lightly…

About the Author:

NicoNico Jaye is a fan of all things HEA and has dragged her romance collection along for her moves from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York and back. She thinks reading is awesome and loves that she can hang out night after night with crinoline-wearing debutantes, brawny firemen in suspenders, and werewolf shifters with Scottish brogues. An overall feline enthusiast, Nico secretly (or not so secretly?) adores Hello Kitty, cat GIFs, spontaneous traveling, pretending to be crafty, emoticons, hot menfolk, and parenthetical statements (not necessarily in that order).

Website: http://nicojaye.blogspot.ca/
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5840673.Nico_Jaye  
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/nicojaye
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolovesbooks
Tumblr: http://nicojaye.tumblr.com/

GIVEAWAY

Three lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of A Time for Loving and a pretty ring with the word “love” inscribed on it. To enter, press the Rafflecopter logo & follow the directions!  The giveaway will run from October 23rd to November 6th.

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Can’t wait another second to read A Time for Loving?
Purchase it NOW at Amazon or Smashwords!

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Review: Brand New Flavor by E.M. Lynley

Brand NewTitle & Author: Brand New Flavour by E.M. Lynley
Series: Delectable (#1)
Release Date: November 21, 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 105

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

When artisan ice cream maker Jericho Brown first meets food writer Cameron Clay at a charity tasting event, they get along like strawberries and chocolate sauce. Jay’s unique flavors thrill more than Cameron’s jaded palate, but after a delicious encounter in Jay’s delivery truck, where extra-creamy frozen treats are not the only delights sampled, Cameron loses Jay’s contact info—and any hope of a real date.

Desperate, Cameron convinces his editor to host an artisanal ice cream contest in hopes of drawing out the elusive genius. But more complications threaten to intervene. Will Jay even enter the contest? Or will the chance of a happily ever after melt away?

My Thoughts:

Ironically, there’s nothing brand new about Brand New Flavor by E.M. Lynley. This story is a former Supernatural AU fan fiction; the author has simply changed the names of the main characters, given the story a quick edit, put it on Amazon, and decided to charge you $4.00 for it (you can read the FREE version here: http://www.gaiaonline.com/guilds/view…).

Now, I have nothing against well-written fanfic – anyone who knows me knows that I love me some Sterek! – but this story just didn’t do it for me. At all.

Spoiler alert: Jay and Cam meet and bang in the back of an ice cream truck in the first 5 pages of the book. Unfortunately, the scene was too abrupt for me to enjoy – I didn’t know enough about the characters yet to be emotionally invested in them, and the sex wasn’t nearly hot enough for me to just let go and enjoy the smut. The whole thing fell flat and left me thinking about health code violations and how sticky both parties were going to be in the aftermath (neither of which was the author’s intention, I’m sure). Following the wham, bam, thank you ma’am action, our fearless MCs part ways. They spend the next 80% of the story caught up in their own heads due to former relationship baggage AND as victims of not one but THREE overly dastardly and vengeful secondary characters.

[insert aggressive eye roll here]

And then, at 85%, Jay and Cam are reunited and it feels so goodI couldn’t care less. The two men see each other across a crowded room. Cam smiles stupidly. Jay laughs stupidly. And then they both escape back to Cam’s place to bone.

…and I was bored out of my skull and just waiting for it all to be over.

Personally, I found this story to be an I-did-not-like-it/1-star-worthy novella. However, I can appreciate that even though I felt like I was reading the script for a bad Meg Ryan movie, the story was well written and well edited, which earned it a second star.

Delectable? Sorry, try barely palatable. I just can’t recommend this one to friends or discerning readers.

My Rating:

2 Smooch

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Spotlight: Loser Takes All by Kora Knight

Loser Takes All Part 1Title & Author: Loser Takes All by Kora Knight
Series: Up-Ending Tad: A Journey of Erotic Discovery #1
Release Date: September 5, 2014

Publisher: Self-published
Length: 63 pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Tad’s weekend started out like any other; hitting a college frat party with a handful of buddies. But just as the evening hits its peak, things get up-ended fast. Ditched by his drunken, trolling friends, Tad winds up getting hustled by three jocks playing poker. Now he’s forced to pay his dues in the most outlandish of ways; accepting a couple broken bones or spending an hour with his victors’ favorite flogger, Scott. But the guy’s tantalizing torture quickly proves to be the least of Tad’s worries… and the kickoff to a night of raw, shocking lust.

Experience the graphic, minute-by-minute account of that hour spent at the hands of Tad’s insatiable tormentor. Addicting chemistry lights the stage as Scott ignites Tad’s reluctant desires into a frenzy of forbidden need.

My Thoughts:

“You’re a fucking perv.”

Scott laughed. “You have no idea. But don’t worry. I’m a fun perv. You’ll like what I do to you.”

Boy, did I ever!

Okay, so the novella’s premise is a little ludicrous – I’ll give you that – but I’m going to overlook that fact (and you should too!), because this book was HOT. Like, have your honey or your favourite battery-operated boyfriend on standby levels of hot. 😉

I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on Volume 2, which is set to be released October 8, 2014.

My Rating:

1 Smooch3 SmoochHalf

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About the Author:

Kora Knight is a woman of mystery. No, really. A new author, Kora is too busy writing sexy morsels of porny perfection to write an “About the Author” blurb for social media or her books, so I’ve got nothin’. But if you want to connect with her (read: gush about all the dirty things her book has you fantasizing about happening to Grey Shirt Guy), check out the links below:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8529860.Kora_Knight 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorkoraknight/timeline