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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Review: Operation: Endeavor by Christi Snow

Snow cover 2Title & Author: Operation: Endeavor by Christi Snow
Series: When the Mission Ends (#2)
Release Date: January 4, 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 340 pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
Colton Robertson left his career in the Air Force to come home and help his family heal. Unfortunately, his reception was not quite what he’d hoped for and he ended up as roommate to hippy dippy yoga instructor Penelope Pruitt.

Penelope has spent her life under the restrictive thumb of her parents and she doesn’t want to do the same with the straight-laced, serious Colton. But when it becomes apparent that Penelope’s life is in danger, Colton won’t settle for anyone else protecting Penelope besides him.

Opposites attract and that’s definitely the case with Colton and Penelope. On the surface, they don’t have anything in common, but as the sparks fly and the danger ramps up, their passion is inevitable.

My Thoughts:

Operation: Endeavor
 is the second book in Christi Snow’s When the Mission Ends series about the Robertson siblings and the men and women who love ‘em. After giving the first book in this series, Operation: Endgame, a very enthusiastic 4-smooch rating, I couldn’t wait to read the second installment. 

This book centred around Colton (Cassie and Chris’ older brother), a retired Air Force captain, and Penelope Pruitt, a local bookstore owner and erotica author. A sexy alpha male falling in love with a fellow bibliophile?! I’m already rubbing my hands together in glee and chanting “oh please, oh please, oh pleeeeeease let this be good!”

And it was.

I have to say that I really liked Penelope. All her life she’s been described by others as a flighty party girl, but I think the author did a great job of creating a character that was less flighty party girl and more free-spirited yet savvy businesswoman determined to live life on her own terms. 

Colton, on the other hand, is your typical alpha male – strong, smart, a little pushy and a lot gruff. All of that is enough to push my humina humina buttons, but it was Colton’s utter dedication to his family that made me melt into a giant puddle of “awwwww” at his feet. It’s at the very core of his being and informs everything he says and does in the novel (and just in case you were wondering, it’s sexy as fuck). The flashbacks of Colton at the funeral just about broke my heart, and his willingness to quit a job he loved in order to support his family through a difficult time was beyond endearing. *big, dreamy sigh* I need a Colton of my very own!

And let’s talk about the chemistry between these two for a second, okay? It was off the freakin’ charts! Snow gave it an exciting new twist and totally delivered on the heat factor hinted at by the many mentions of BDSM/erotic literature early in the book. And that scene – you’ll know the one I’m talking about after you read the book – was hot enough to melt the bed sheets. Good Lord, was it ever! Still, as explosive as the love scenes are, the book had enough true romance to make my heart flutter as well. 

One of my favourite things about Snow’s writing is her ability to make the snappy inner voices of her characters come across feeling incredibly natural. For example:

When Penelope said yes to riding Colton’s motorcycle, she hadn’t taken into account how arousing it would be to have him in between her thighs with her arms wrapped around his muscular torso. This. Was. Torture. But oh, what an incredible way to die.

As women, we all think (or say!) these pithy, off-hand kind of comments in our daily lives, but to write them in a way that comes across as funny and effortless rather than overworked, is difficult. And while it may seem to some readers like a small thing, I find that it’s exactly these small details that breathes life into the characters and has a big effect on my overall enjoyment of a book. So, kudos to Snow for pulling this off.

Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that an otherwise great book was let down a little by its climax. Thirty pages to go, and what had been building nicely to a dramatic – yet believable – conclusion took a sharp left turn into the ridiculous with the introduction of “fluffy yellow ducks”. (Please note that since WordPress won’t let me use spoiler tags, I’m using the term “fluffy yellow ducks” as a stand-in for a significant plot twist.) Up until that point, I’d been totally buying in to the villains’ nefarious actions. They made sense given the context. But messing around with “fluffy yellow ducks” seemed way above their pay grade and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief as a reader that far.

Don’t get me wrong, the climax itself wasn’t bad. Far from it, in fact. It was both interesting and well-written, but the “fluffy yellow ducks” twist felt unnecessary (at best) and as if it belonged as the ending to an entirely different book (at worst).

Further, just as in Operation: Endgame, the climax of the novel had practically everyone outside of the main character’s inner circle utterly betraying her. I thought the fact that there was more than one villain was a really refreshing twist, but the sheer number and diversity of those involved was a lot to take in. Between that and the multiple abusive ex-boyfriends (Really?! The poor woman had to suffer through more than one Grade A asshole ex?!), I was left wondering seriously about the soundness of Penelope’s judgement.

I think that a lot of readers will just roll with the ending and really enjoy its over-the-top nature (it’s super FUN, after all!). Personally, however, I prefer the less is more approach. I feel that a few small edits could have gone a long way to to making this ending truly stellar. But that’s just my opinion. *shrugs*

Overall, I thought that Operation: Endeavor had an original premise (I love the concept behind the When the Mission Ends series!), well-crafted protagonists, tonnes of sweet romance, rich descriptions, and an almost perfectly plotted story arc. It was entertaining and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves romantic suspense as much as I do.

Now on to Operation: Endurance! It’s time for Chris and Julie’s HEA, dammit!

My Rating:
2 Smooch1 Smooch

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Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: April (Runell)

Book slumps fucking suck.

1. Mark Cooper versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock: This was bloody damn good. [4.5 smooches]
2. Frog by Mary Calmes: I get what people are saying about “the classic Mary Calmes” now. [3.5 smooches]
3. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira: This was so, so, soooo good; ugh, my heart still gets fluttery when I think about just how good this was. [4.5 smooches*]
4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I really liked this one, and I can see why people fangirl (see what I did there) about it so much; Rainbow Rowell is a really fantastic author. [4 smooches*]
5. Only Love by Garrett Leigh: Yeah, it hurt. [4 smooches*]
6. Collide by Riley Hart: A huge difference between Broken Pieces, but still good. [3.5 smooches]
7. Wood, Screws & Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boheme: Sooo much better than I thought it was going to be (and I already thought it was going to be awesome). [4 smooches]

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]

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

Review: Rescue Me by Scarlet Blackwell

Rescue Me CoverTitle & Author: Rescue Me by Scarlet Blackwell
Release Date: November 20, 2010
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Pages: 414 pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
After a near fatal car crash leaves him scarred both physically and emotionally, Matt Harmon finds the solitude of his huge, lonely house too much to bear. Hiring nurse James Hayden to look after him seems like the best idea for Matt, whose fierce independence has been compromised by his injuries. The two men clash from the start as James struggles to help Matt rebuild his shattered body and heal his crushed soul. The bond they form is forged in fire and ice, and the wounds they inflict on one another can only be erased by Matt’s admission that he can’t live without James’s loving touch. Will Matt realize too late that James is the only one who can rescue him from himself?

My Thoughts:

When I started writing this review, I had no idea how to rate this book.

None.

When the story begins, Matt has been seriously injured in a car accident. He’s broken and scarred, wracked with pain, and mostly bed-bound. I’ve never been in a car accident that serious (knock on wood!), but I know how grumpy I get when I’m sick, so the man immediately had my sympathy. I completely understood why someone in his position would feel vulnerable, irritable, and defensive. I even understood why he might lash out at those taking care of him.

Unfortunately, it quickly becomes clear that it’s not only the accident and his resulting injuries that are causing Matt to act like an ass. No, he’s always been a short-tempered, ill-mannered, homophobic, emotionally-stunted asshole with anger management issues and quick fists. And the things that he says and does to James practically every time they are in the same room together? They’re vile (I still cannot get what happened at the dinner party out of my head or my heart).

To put it boldly: Matt had no redeeming qualities. Not one.

As a reader, I didn’t quite know what to do with this realization. I mean, I’m glad the author didn’t try to pass off Matt’s behavior as something that we were supposed to accept and love him in spite of. No, Blackwell called Matt out repeatedly – he was an unlovable dick. So that’s good… right?!

Well… not exactly.

Because at its core, Rescue Me is still supposed to be a romance novel. And what do most readers want from a romance novel? Two flawed but likeable people to meet and fall in love.

Instead, we got Matt and James.

And while I loathed Matt with the power of a thousand fiery suns until 85% of the way through the novel, James wasn’t always my favourite person either. Admittedly, James is patient. James is kind. James is sexy. James is way more than Matt deserves. But James is also a little shallow; he believes Matt’s good looks are a good enough “redeeming quality” to justify sleeping with him (even in the face of his atrocious behavior). He’s also indecisive and weak; I lost count of the number of times that James supposedly cut off all ties with Matt only to turn around and sleep with him again a few days – sometimes only a few hours – later. Where was his backbone? Where was his self-respect?!

* Face palm! Face palm! FACE PALM! *

When James eventually tells Matt that he loves him, I was both moved and furious. I was moved by James’ willingness to make himself vulnerable to Matt, and furious because Matt still hadn’t done one thing to deserve James’ love. He hadn’t said one kind thing to him. He hadn’t done one kind thing for him. Let’s face it, he hadn’t even asked James something as simple as how he takes his coffee or what he likes to do when he’s not nursing cranky, closeted homophobes back to health. Instead, Matt had physically and emotionally pulverized James at every opportunity, shaming him for his sexuality and the honesty of his emotions.

How can anyone fall in love with someone who treats them like that? It makes no sense to me.

And so I struggled with this book.

I even struggled with its ending. When Matt finally realizes that he could lose James forever, he turns into this sweet, vulnerable, attentive guy that wants to cherish James for the rest of his life. But as much my sappy, romantic heart wanted this to happen, and as much as I wanted Matt to be this guy, everything we know about him up to this point says that he’s just not wired this way. It was as if the author gave him a complete personality transplant at the last minute in order to give her readers a happily ever after. It just didn’t feel authentic.

So after reading the epilogue and watching the characters fuck their way into the sunset on the hood of a sexy black Ferrari, I was left a little stunned, having no idea how to rate a book I had nearly DNF’d several times.

Was it worth 1 smooch because I have never hated a main character more than I hated Matt (and seeing him get a HEA after what he put James through seemed not only undeserved but also cosmically unfair)? Was it worth 2 smooches because I liked James’s character and was happy to see him get a happily ever after (regardless of who it was with)? Should I give it 3 smooches because even though I loathed James, the writing was compelling enough to keep me reading for more than 400 pages? Or, does it deserve 4 smooches because I liked James, thought the writing was well done, and the last 15% of the novel gave me the sweet, vulnerable, attentive James I had been hoping to see way earlier in the novel?!

It was a tough decision, but I ultimately gave Rescue Me 3 smooches. While it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, and I don’t think I’ll be picking up another book by this author in the near future, I still think that objectively it was a good book.

My Rating:

 3 Smooch

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Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: March (Catherine)

I Heart Books

(Probably more than is healthy.)

Last month I read a couple of books. Then I put my sassy pants on and wrote a single sentence book review* for each of them. It was kinda like the fast-food version of book blogging, but it worked out so well that I thought I’d do it again in March.

Only this time… I refuse to wear pants. Betcha didn’t see that coming, did ya?!

1. Unbreak My Heart (Unbreak My Heart #1) by K-Lee Klein: A quietly beautiful story about a drifter who falls in love with a brokenhearted cowboy musician in a way that feels both authentic and inevitable.  [4 smooches]

2. Floodgates by Mary Calmes: A fluffy popcorn read that was let down by a doormat of a main character, too many ludicrous plot points and improbable red-herrings, and an entire gaggle of extraneous characters. [2.5 smooches]

3. Charlie, Rentboy by J.P. Barnaby: A sexy short story that grabbed my attention with its narrative style and the Cockboys on the cover, but had a happy ending (get your minds out of the gutter!) that felt… hopeful.  [3 smooches]

4. Secrets, Skin and Leather (Secret Series #1) by Sean Michael: All porn and no plot, this book had little to no character development, repetitive dialogue, clunky narration, and inexcusably bad punctuation. [1 smooch – DNF’d at 33%]

5. Trouble & the Wallflower by Kade Boehme: With its three-dimensional characters, realistic depiction of a sweet but sometimes rocky opposites-attract relationship, and a bittersweet ending, this book by new-to-me author Kade Boehme far exceeded every expectation I had for it. [4.5 smooches]

6. All in a Duke (Gambling on Love #1) by Ava March: This M/M historical romance was the perfect balance between sweet and sexy, with great characters and a realistic struggle towards their happily ever after. [4 smooches]

7. Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek by R. Cooper: While the characters in this short story are familiar, Cooper makes them enough against type to feel fresh and interesting, their dialogue both snappy and mundane, and their HEA satisfying in its realistic work-in-progress nature. [3.5 smooches]

8. The Perfect Play (Play by Play #1) by Jaci Burton: I really tried to enjoy this contemporary M/F romance, but even though there’s no denying the steam level of those sex scenes, having two main characters who were nearly flawless bored me to tears. [2 smooches – DNF’d at 60%]

9. Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux: The eighth installment of Roux’s fantastic Cut & Run series, this book disappointed me with its beyond ludicrous plot and its startling lack of focus on the series’ main characters Ty and Zane, but gained ground in some other areas (e.g. the relationship between Ty and Nick and between Nick and Kelly) and provided a few solidly sweet/cute/funny moments to appease my mushy heart. [2.5 smooches]

10. Stripping the Pain by Kathleen Lee: A friends-to-lovers short story that deals with too many big-ticket issues (sexual abuse, BDSM, etc.) in too short a time-frame (which makes it seem a little exploitative). [3 smooches]

11. From the Ashes (Fire and Rain #1) by Daisy Harris: A great novel by a new-to-me author that gave me a main character (Tomas Perez) whose voice felt fresh and unexpected, yet entirely relatable. [3.5 smooches]

12. After the Rain (Fire and Rain #2) by Daisy Harris: One of the main characters is a firefighting cowboy, gay sex virgin, who saves puppies, and the other is a snarky French-Canadian obsessed with coffee; my ovaries never stood a chance. [3 smooches]

13. Keeping Sweets by Cate Ashwood: A solidly sweet but entirely predictable story about a wannabe porn star who falls in love with his porn Yoda (like Amy Lane’s Johnnies series but with very minimal angst). [3 smooches]

14. Doctor, Doctor (Groves Anatomy #1) by Scarlet Cox: This short story is pure fantasy that reads like the raunchiest porn you’ve ever watched (but not in a good way). [1 smooch]

15. A Fostered Love (Foster Siblings #1) by Cameron Dane: A book about two men with troubled pasts finding a home in each other  that manages to balance the sweet, the angsty, the primal, and the thrilling. [4 smooches]

16. Snowfall (Foster Siblings #3) by Cameron Dane: A sweet, gooey (and insanely hot!) glimpse four years into Jonah and Christian’s life together that made me deliriously happy to read. [4 smooches]

17. Taboo For You by Anyta Sunday: A totally adorable GFY romance told from three rotating perspectives (the two MC’s and the one MC’s teenage son) that is equal parts sweet, frustrating, poignant, and sexy. [4 smooches]

18. His Client by Ava March: Ava March sweeps you into her stories by creating characters you’ll care about, then sprinkling liberally with smokin’ hot sex, genuine affection, and a hard-won happily ever after; His Client is no exception. [4 smooches]

19. To Feel the Sun by Marie Sexton: Eight pages of poignant perfection. [5 smooches]

20. This is What a Cold Lake Looks Like by S.A. McAuley: A 4-page story that reads like the most heartbreaking poetry. [4 smooches]

21. Slide (Roads #1) by Garrett Leigh: With its unique characters and gripping story, Garrett Leigh’s Slide will break your heart but leave you wanting more. [4 smooches]

22. Marked (Roads #1.5) by Garrett Leigh: This “missing scene” from Slide was perfect – sweet and sexy and if you read this without getting just a little turned on when Ash tattoos Pete, I’d check for a pulse. [4 smooches]

23. Coffee Shops and Condoms by Eden Winters: Effectively a PSA on safe sex, this cute friends-to-lovers story about two sexually inexperienced teenage boys is sweet but purposeful. [3 smooches]

24. Blind Faith (Blind Faith #1) by N.R. Walker: Not my favourite by this author, but Blind Faith was another sweet novella with mostly likable characters (I wanted to throttle Isaac after his last temper tantrum), a few tear-jerking moments, and a gooey happily ever after. [3.5 smooches]

25. DILF by Twentysomething: The third person present tense narrative style of this Teen Wolf / #Sterek story took a little getting used to, but the dialogue was so spot on, the characters so endearing, the humour so well-written, and the sheer cuteness factor so overwhelming that I couldn’t help but adore it. [4 smooches]

26. Normal Enough by Marie Sexton: A raunchy muscle car kink/fetish novella from the same woman who wrote the adorable twisted fairy tale, Cinder: A CinderFella Story. [3 smooches]

27. Where the World Ends by Kade Boehme: This book had strong, likable characters, palpable tension, blisteringly hot sex scenes (facial cum shots – yeah, buddy!), and a setting both familiar and alien, but I found that it lost momentum in the last third of the book and not all of the conflicts were resolved in way that I found personally satisfying. [3.5 smooches]

* I sometimes use punctuation in a shameless (and often incorrect manner) to give myself a second sentence. Don’t judge.

There you have it – my picks and pans for the month of March. Is there something you’ve read lately that I need to bump to the top of my TBR pile? Please let me know in the comments section below.