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Book Review - Gearheart by Maia Strong

GearheartGearheart by Maia Strong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steampunk meets romance meets lgbtq romance!

I have been a huge fan of Steampunk forever so when I saw there was an lgbtq book I jumped at the chance to read it. I wasn't disappointed.

The story was a good one, the world building was phenomenal. I loved the re-imagining of the world and North American maps. And being a Canadian I loved seeing Canada represented ;-)

The main characters were believable and I felt for them. The tertiary characters were delightful, the villain was a perfectly horrible person. The book itself was a slow build, something that sometimes made it seem to slow the whole book down, but all in all it was a good, solid read.

The plot was engaging, the ending was a happily ever after on multiple fronts. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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Book Review - Double Down by R. Cayden

Double Down (Bad Boy Security, #3)Double Down by R. Cayden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A mercenary with a mysterious past. A bodyguard, ready to fight. And beautiful Lawrence, just trying to have a good time.

Raiden doesn’t expect much danger from his new bodyguard gig. He’s a fighter, but this rich kid just needs someone to keep him out of trouble. Watching Lawrence wriggling his hips and flirting with other men stirs up feelings Raiden didn't expect. He tries like hell to resist temptation, but when a suspicious stranger keeps crossing their path, Raiden smells danger, and it sends him over the edge.

Being a mercenary on the black market in New York means that Cash doesn’t have much time for hookups, let alone relationships. So why does his heart skip a beat when he starts a new gig, trailing the son of a corrupt CEO? Sure, Lawrence is an angel with sparkling eyes, but Cash has a job to do, and a secret vendetta driving his every action. At least Lawrence has a hot bodyguard with a temper. It makes the game of pursuing the kid twice as fun…

Lawrence knows that no one wants to hear a poor little rich boy story, especially not from the son of a powerful, corrupt CEO. Instead, he buries his demons, gives the money from his trust fund to charity, and spends his days partying with friends. But when his bodyguard comes swinging at his new crush, Lawrence’s life spirals out of control.

With corrupt billionaires and crime bosses hot on Lawrence’s trail, will Raiden and Cash be able to put their explosive differences aside in time to save him?

Double Down is an M/M/M bodyguard romance and the third book in Bad Boy Security. It can be read alone, but is best appreciated as part of the series. Enjoy!

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Book Review - Variable Onset by Layla Reyne

Variable OnsetVariable Onset by Layla Reyne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another masterpiece by Layla Reyne!

This is a standalone law enforcement thriller with some delicious romance in it as well.

A serial killer that has eluded the FBI for decades has made their reappearance - but there may be a copycat at work as well. It will take the combined efforts of a Quantico instructor and expert in forensic genealogy and a undercover operative, both of whom have a past together, to save the victims before it's too late as well as catch the serial killer - possibly killers!

I admit I love the silver fox instructor/younger agent angle of this story and I love the background story Layla has woven for the two of them. I almost love the over arching plot almost as much - Dr. Fear, dayam, that is some interesting take on a modern day serial killer and his methodology. I also have to give Layla kudos on how well thought out and researched this book was.

All in all, very impressed by this book - this is another fine example of why Ms. Reyne is one of my go-to reads.

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Book Review - The Charms of Death by Richard Amos

The Charms of Death (Jake & Dean Investigations, #2)The Charms of Death by Richard Amos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jake and Dean!!! OMG I've been waiting for them to come back. The Christmas novella was only enough to whet my appetite for these two bad-assed boys!

As usual, Richard Amos has continued to expand his universe, and what a universe it is. A blend of the fantastical and practical. It's our world, just through a looking glass darkly. Throw in some magic, murder and mayhem and blend with a loving, committed couple trying to live their best lives and raise their daughter and you have a book that is... dare I say it? Pure magic!

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Book Review - The Earl and the Executive by Kai Butler

The Earl and the ExecutiveThe Earl and the Executive by Kai Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First time reading this author and I was impressed.

This book was a delightful combination of regency romance with sci-fi fantasy. I admit it, I cut my romance novel teeth on Harlequin's and regency romances and graduated into sci-fi fantasy so this brought back some lovely nostalgia of my reading journey, ending up with lgbtq romances which are my current day go to.

The plot was full of pure regency tropes with a sci-fi and lgbtq twist that throws things on their head a bit, and I wasn't disappointed by them at all.

The bookish younger brother (Tiral Oican) inherits a title after the hedonistic and foolish older brother dies mysteriously - after squandering the family fortune. The beautiful and highly intelligent younger sister was secretly doing 'mannish' things like managing the estate - primarily agriculturally based - and in order to save the estate the new earl must now marry and marry well... which means he must venture to the capital planet and attend a 'season' trolling for a spouse.

Enter the rake (Destzev Laft) - the handsome man with no intention to ever get caught in a marriage trap, one who happens to be ridiculously wealthy and the head of a truly impressive business consortium. He had come to the capital planet and had been rejected and humiliated by the 'ton' and took those lessons to heart, ruthlessly building up his business into the most sought after in the system. And he hid his true identity when he went out, using a false name, in order to avoid all the marriage minded mama's and social climbers.

A launch party for Zev's company's newest flyer is a must attend event, even for Zev himself, though he comes as his alter ego, Zev Yuls, and immediately finds himself captivated by the obviously new to the scene Lord Gret (Tiral). Playing up his alter ego - a man known for taking lovers for a season, spending lavishly and never settling down (it is implied he is a kept man) Zev engages Tiral in conversation and both become fascinated with each other. Upon leaving the soiree, Tiral is warned by other members of the peerage to avoid Zev lest he want his reputation ruined before he acquires a spouse.

This sets off a series of events - Tiral asking Zev for tutelage in the arts of flirtation wooing and finding a spouse - even as Tiral's appearance amongst the ton turns slightly more sinister as threats are made, his house is broken into and other dangerous events happen, all revolving around his deceased brother's death.

As with all good regency romances, the rake falls for the ingenue and the ingenue realizes his money and title mean nothing without the rake, even as danger pushes them together before pulling them apart.

Over all a fun little read, and just what I needed for a distraction.

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Book Review - Thayer by Michele Notaro

Thayer (The Brinnswick Chronicles #1)Thayer by Michele Notaro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first chapter of the next set of Brinnswick books starts off with a bang!

This book takes place immediately after The Enchanter's Heart with the three boys - now men - returning from Faela after harnessing the Power of Three. Thayer had just found his viramore in the vampire 'child' of Julius - Tobias (aka Toby). Toby, who'd already been damaged by almost a lifetime of abuse and abandonment, broke when Thayer and his brothers took on the mantle of Three and disappeared into Faela. He began to self harm, and his family, his den, his coven all worried about him in the ensuing three years.

Thayer's return comes just as Toby's past returns to haunt him. Will Thayer have finally managed to come home only to lose his viramore to the past that hunts him? And what is hunting the Power of Three? Brinnswick isn't nearly as peaceful as one might think after a war that nearly destroyed everything. There are those who haven't handled the integration well, there are those that still feel they should be top of the food chain and there's a dark underbelly that still exists in Brinnswick. Will Thayer be able to protect Toby while Toby guards his back? Will they be able to to rebuild what they lost at the end of the war?

Read the book and find out!

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Book Review - A Vigil in Mourning by Hailey Turner

A Vigil in the Mourning (Soulbound, #4)A Vigil in the Mourning by Hailey Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Just wow.

I'm not sure how but this series just keeps getting better and better. And the tension just gets thicker and thicker. Hailey Turner is a master of making you suffer along with her characters. When they bleed, you cringe, when they break, you bawl.

In this book Patrick is forced to deal with yet another pantheon in his mission to stop his father - this time in Chicago as the quest for the Morrígan’s staff takes him there along with a case involving a corrupt politician. And comes face to face with his twin. Jono stays behind in NYC in order to deal with the increasingly deadly harrying of their pack by the other god pack. Of course just when Patrick is away, Estelle and Youssef bring out the big guns - literally by putting a bounty on Jono's head.

Between a rock and a hard place, Jono makes a decision that has repercussions on his relationship with Patrick and he scrambles to repair the damage even as he and Patrick are once again fighting for their lives against the Dominion Sect.

As always, Hailey's writing style is impeccable and enthralling, her story sucks you in and doesn't let you go. This is definitely a series I love and return to often.

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Book Review - The Best Friend by Raleigh Ruebins

The Best Friend (Red's Tavern, #1)The Best Friend by Raleigh Ruebins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First time reading this author and I enjoyed the story.

This book is full of tropes but they're tropes that work. Gay best friend in love with straight best friend. Straight best friend divorced and suddenly realizing he's attracted to his bff. The divorcee has a kid, the gay bestie wants kids, there are cute animals.

All the above happens in this book but, like I said, it works. I'm not sure if the author used an editor and beta readers but there were a few instances of names being wrong, strange sentences, odd punctuation and spelling that threw me out of the story but those are easy fixes.

All in all, it was a cute, feel good, happily ever after and, given the state of the world right now, that's something I can get behind.

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Book Review - In the Solace by Hailey Turner

In the Solace (Metahuman Files #6)In the Solace by Hailey Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dayammmmm! Diamonds are a Kyle's best friend - just sayin' ;)

This book is bitter sweet. It's the last Metahumans book but Hailey has the series go out with a bang!

It's time for the Wedding of the Century, Jamie and Kyle are getting married!! The wedding and the (super smokin' hot) honeymoon go well but this is Jamie and Kyle we're talking about.... and Liam!! Prince Liam of Wessex finally gets his own story and I have been dying for this one.

Liam's story was hinted at in Sean and Alexei's wedding novella, but this is the backstory and more! Being a royal isn't easy, being a royal in service of country even harder but being a royal who happens to be a metahuman in the service of his country and who was exposed as a metahuman while embroiled in a debacle on foreign soil? Liam is living proof about how difficult it is given his gran and his family are pretty much _done_ with him sticking his neck out as part of the Royal Legion, but the war on Splice isn't over and Liam has been greenlit for one more mission before he transitions to a new role... he just has to survive it.

It goes without saying that Hailey is phenomenal at world building and continuity. She's also pretty darn good at spicy scenes (I'll be in my bunk for those scenes, lemme tell you!) This book was a lovely wrap up of the series and - as usual with Hailey - an amazing read.

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Book Review: Discovering Destiny by Abigail Kade

Discovering Destiny (Familiar Magick, #1)Discovering Destiny by Abigail Kade
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A solid 3.5 and an interesting read.

I do love a good supernatural love story and this one fits the bill. It's sweet and an easy read. The plot is interesting and so are the characters. The world that Abigail is building is an interesting one.

I did find the plot a little rushed in places, with important points sort of glossed over quickly in order to move the story along. I would have liked a little more back story earlier in the book, rather than having it almost at the end, but that's a personal preference.

On the whole, an enjoyable first story to a series.

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Book Review - Constant by Lexi Alexander

Constant (The Valespian Pact #3)Constant by Lexi Ander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I am officially hooked on this series.

This book takes place concurrently and is a continuation of Alpha Trine and Striker. This is Prince Mestor and Warlord Sohm'lan's story but it's also the story of the Vondorians and Atlainticia. It's the book that filled in all the gaps left in the other two stories as well as gave the rest of the Vondorian royal family a chance to shine. It's a loooong read, but so so worth it.

I am really impressed with the world building and the whole scope of this series - it's a space opera of the mind, rather like what Star Wars and Star Trek was to the eyes.

Can't wait to see what's next in this series.

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Book Review - Striker by Lexi Alexander

Striker (The Valespian Pact #2)Striker by Lexi Ander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Damn. Just... daaayam

This book is the direct continuation of Alpha Trine (book 1 of the Valespian Pact) and it left me as breathless and intrigued as the first book. Lexi continues to build the galaxy and layer it beautifully. This book is very much about the main character, Prince Zeus , coming into his own and over coming past trauma with the help of his trine mates Dargon and Alpha.

Still racing to get the precious cargo of the Oethra 7 (Dargon's ship) back to Valespia, Zeus discovers his true heritage, he is the youngest son of the royal family of the Fal'Amoric race and his older brother is the lost Bespoken, fated mate and one third of the heirs to the galactic throne. The Galactic throne is made up of three rulers from three races in a triumvirate called the Triumphant. The Triumphant were responsible for powering powers the Galactic net that kept the allied galaxies safe from the V'Saar, a bug-like species that would slaughter and devour everything in their path if the net were to fail. But the Terrens and a few other races are secretly working with the V'Saar to bring down the Net, and in order to do that, they needed the Bespoken in order to stop the next Triumphant from ascending the throne.

The big catch is that if the Bespoken can't be found Zeus might well be pressed into becoming the replacement, and now that Zeus has bonded with Dargon and Alpha and they have kits on the way that's the last thing anyone wants.

Zeus is thrust into the middle of the conspiracy to bring down the Triumphant and he and his family, including his brothers who have joined him on his mission, are now being hunted from all sides as those that oppose the Triumphant are desperate to stop Dargon and Zeus from completing their rescue of the Fal'Amoric royal family.

I have been totally sucked into this story and am loving every second of this series.

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Book Review - Alpha Trine by Lexi Alexander

Alpha Trine (The Valespian Pact #1)Alpha Trine by Lexi Ander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

mind blown!!! Omg so amazing. I literally stayed up all night reading.

I love m/m romance and I adore sci fi/fantasy. This series combines both loves in a perfect storm of addicting storytelling. I've never read a book by Lexi Ander and I'm regretting it now, but what an introduction to their imagination!

Let me first say, the world building in this series impressed the hell out of me. The galaxies and hierarchies of power that Lexi creating is truly breathtaking. And the thing that sucked me in and impressed me the most? This book was so not human-centric. In fact the Terrens are kinda the bad guys in this book, or at least the lackeys to the bad guys.

A sole survivor on a Terren spaceship, a blind male human presenting child - Zeus - is adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar'Sani, a definitely not humanoid species (I'm still trying to parse out just what sort of a species they are... definitely water related, adapted to living on land, they have scales and bone ridges, spines and clawed hands - I'm kinda fascinated tbh!). Zeus is loved and adored by his family - they consider Zeus theirs period, and they treat him as such, the only hint of the fact that he is other is how they adapt to his more delicate appearance. Sadly not all the Mar'Sani feel the same. Eventually this schism leads Zeus to leave his home world and take a contract as a master mechanic on a galactic space station.

Where Zeus catches the eye of symbiotic couple Dargon Kal-Turak and Alpha, and his scent catches their attention. Dargon is captain of a merchant vessel being hunted across the galaxy for the cargo it holds. The ship is, in fact, a scout ship and on a secret mission by the heirs to the galactic throne. He has had to dock at the space station to effect repairs and ends up kidnapping the master mechanic... who also happens to be the beloved son and brother to the royal family of Mar'Sani... and a deadly young man in his own right.

Suffice it to say, chaos and trouble ensue as Dargon races to complete his mission, convince Zeus that he belongs with Dargon and Alpha and to bind them all in a Trine relationship while trying to to not get killed by his future in-laws who want their son and brother back!

This book truly took my breath away and I read it and the sequel in about 24 hours (complete with lack of sleep.) I am hooked on this series.

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Book Review - Ripples and Waves by L.A. Witt

Ripples & Waves: A Queer Retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little MermaidRipples & Waves: A Queer Retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid by L.A. Witt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Omg the best kind happily ever after fairytale. It made me bawl. It was a sweet Valentine's Day mush read.

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Book Review - Witchbond by Lissa Kasey

Witchbond (Kitsune Chronicles, #2)Witchbond by Lissa Kasey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The 2nd book in this series did not disappoint at all.

A continuation of Witchblood, Lissa Kasey continues to build her world and her shifter mythos, bringing in the fae mythos and weaving it throughout the world she is creating. It was another of those books that I couldn't put down after I started to read.

I love the vulnerabilities she allows her main character to have, the imperfections and character flaws that she has written into Sebastian. I admire how Liam tries to help but also tries to let Sebastian find his own legs as he slowly adapts to his new life as part of a pack, part of mated pair. The fae curveball adds a new and interesting twist to the plot as well as creates a new enemy to square off against.

If I had one negative, the scenes with Marlow seemed a little too... not contrived but expected. There had to be the one that didn't like Seb, who called him out on his BS, who accused him of not caring, not fitting in on purpose. I get why his character was needed but it was just... really obvious. But it also gives Seb the push he needs to see himself as part of a pack, part of a family, and gives him something to fight for so it works.

Other than that, loved the whole story and look forward to the next one.

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Book Review - Gummy Bears & Grenades by Charlie Cochet

Gummy Bears & Grenades (THIRDS #9.5)Gummy Bears & Grenades by Charlie Cochet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute novella to tie together books 9 and 10 while allowing for some levity.

Dex and Sloane are getting married. But first they have to survive Dex's bachelor party. Dex, being the super sparkly mayhem maker, hijinx and crazy sh!t ensue.

This was a good, fun read.

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