Tuesday, February 19, 2019

ARC Review: Helix by Anna Martin

Helix
Blurb:
When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad. 


Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn't see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve's adopted son.... It's just sex between them. Isn't it?

Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. 
But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it's time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James's boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve's son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families--and lovers.


Todd's rating:




As much as I'd looked forward to reading this book, it sadly didn't work as well for me as I'd hoped it would. : (

The first parts of the story I enjoyed, where 18 y.o. James met 20 y.o. Dylan and they stumbled around one another in sort of an adorable, dazed dance of attraction.

We also met James' 45 y.o., science teacher dad, Mark, and Dylan's 39 y.o. adoptive father, Steve, as they first screwed their brains out (in an *open* public toilet stall in a bar, yikes), then decided to try dating afterward.

I much preferred the younger couple's slow-burn approach to their attraction to the dads' fucking like bunnies method, which felt sort of sleazy to me. Just, the way it was written, that's how it made me feel, sorry.

I was much more invested in James and Dylan's relationship, feeling almost nothing at all toward the possibility of growing feels between the dads.

ARC Review: Milo (Finding Home 2) by Lily Morton

Blurb:
Once upon a time a brave knight rescued a young man. Unfortunately, he then spent the next few years bossing the young man around and treating him like a child.

Milo has been burying himself at Chi an Mor, hiding from the wreckage of his once promising career and running from a bad relationship that destroyed what little confidence he had. Niall, his big brother’s best friend, has been there for him that entire time. An arrogant and funny man, Niall couldn’t be any more different from the shy and occasionally stuttering Milo, which has never stopped Milo from crushing wildly on the man who saved him.

However, just as Milo makes the decision to move on from his hopeless crush, he and Niall are thrown into close contact, and for the first time ever Niall seems to be returning his interest. But it can never work. How can it when Milo always needs rescuing?

From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to write his own happily ever after.

This is the second book in the Finding Home series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Dani's rating:

The first part of the book was perfection: witty dialogue, UST, English countryside setting, hurt/comfort, great secondary characters (Silas and Oz!), a cute baby named Cora, and a feisty cat.

I love dual POV narratives, and both Niall and Milo are lovable MCs: Milo with his subdued sass and sarcastic remarks, and Niall, protective and commanding, but never controlling.

Milo fears that a relationship with an intense, possessive guy will make him feel small. His ex belittled and mocked him relentlessly. But Niall is nothing like Milo's nasty ex Thomas.

Niall is real and is starting to have (inconvenient but delicious) feelings for his best friend's little brother.

All was well, wonderful even, until Gideon, said best friend and older brother, arrived. But Gideon doesn't come alone. Oh no. He brings a spoiled hussy with him, expecting that Niall will want a threesome as usual.

Why, why, WHY did Lily Morton have to go here? I just went off on a big rant about siblings sleeping with each other's exes in a review for another book. I despise that trope, and it got really weird here.


Blogtour: Devil's Bargain by Kathryn Sparrow




Title: Devil's Bargain
Series: King of Hearts Book 1
Author: Kathryn Sparrow
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: January 3
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 67500 Words
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

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Synopsis


Seth Griffin is forced to live out his wildest dreams at the expense of his best friend, the man he loves.

Seth Griffin's life was basically on track. Attend Cornell, double major in Mechanical Engineering and Astronomy, play basketball, and room with his best friend, Kevin. So what if he had a hopeless crush on his gorgeous, straight friend.

When Maynard Frederick Winthrop IV buys all of Seth's family's debt and threatens to foreclose, everything Seth has worked for is in jeopardy. Winthrop offers Seth a deal: spend a week at his mansion, a place that seems to defy logic and violate the laws of physics, performing challenges of Winthrop's choosing. If Seth succeeds, all will be forgiven.

But can Seth do as Winthrop asks, especially when Kevin is the one who will pay the price?




Excerpt

“There’s one thing I don’t understand about you. You’re gay. You’re out. You live in a liberal state, but you rarely hook up, no boyfriends, nothing. What gives?”

What? Why did Winthrop know he was gay or care?

“Excuse me. I don’t see how that’s any of your business.”

Winthrop’s brows climbed. “Believe me. It’s my business. Everyone has needs, but you live like a monk.”

“I’m a double major across two colleges and a varsity athlete. I don’t have time for a boyfriend, and I’m done with hookups.”

Winthrop shook his head, a frown marring his face. “That’s crazy. There are even a couple guys on your team who have offered to blow you, bottom, top, whatever, but you keep refusing. Even on those away games, alone, in a hotel.”

“Look. Enough of this.” Seth slammed his hand down on the table. “I came here. I sat through this meal. It’s done. You clearly have my family and me over a barrel. Isn’t it time to tell me what this is all about?”

“As you wish.”


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Dubious Consent


Devil’s Bargain is a dubious consent story. Seth is forced to do things by Winthrop that he would not agree to do otherwise.
However, what I enjoy about this genre is although Seth would not agree to do them, he wants to. He is being forced to do exactly what he wants, but he thinks he’s not allowed. It’s salacious living out forbidden fantasies. All of that is key for me.
Although Seth is our narrator, he is an unreliable narrator. He explains what he perceives is the truth, but he is not always correct.
I love books that use the dubious consent theme as long as they are written in the romance genre because of the rules for a romance. The Romance Writers of America define Romance as follows:

Release Blitz: ​Ostakis by Angelica Primm




Title: Ostakis
Author: Angelica Primm
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: February 18, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: M/NB
Length: 52600
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, sci-fi, action, intersex

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Synopsis


The Human Planets Collective sent young Ambassador Kaj Deder to the former colony planet Ostakis to establish relations. But in the twenty-five hundred years since Earth lost contact with Ostakis, the people of that colony have dramatically changed. Kaj is tasked with finding the reason for these changes while he forges trade links between the HPC and Ostakis. Without trade with the HPC, the dwindling resources of Ostakis will ultimately end human life on the planet. But his mission faces a huge obstacle in the form of Most Reverend Thyenn Sharr, the head of the Faith Progressive Church, who sees the arrival of Kaj as the beginning of the end of the Church. Kaj’s powerful attraction to Trademaster Klath’s son, Arlan does not smooth relations.

Arlan Klath, the son of the Trademaster of Ostakis, bears the secret that the pious people of his planet want to hide from the homeworld and the HPC. The Curse of the Unspoken, wrought through the unspeakable acts of the First Colonists, afflicts all Ostakians, but some more strongly than others. Arlan is totally Cursed, considered born sinful and he lives without legal rights or property. He is scrutinized by Sharr who is enraged that Arlan’s father defiantly refuses to submit Arlan to a cruel act to “redeem” Arlan’s soul. The stakes increase when Arlan and Kaj form a relationship that Thyenn Sharr considers ample justification to usurp the Trademaster position through the power of his Church.



Excerpt


KAJ

Dearest Marta,

You would ask if I’m upset with my new posting. No. Not that. Discomforted. Yes. That is the correct word. You know I am a man who likes his routines, the stuff that meshes you to the pleasurable aspects of living. A delicious cup of coffee in the morning. Grilled vegetables on the barbecue and a nice glass of wine on the terrace in the evening. Everyday things.

Where I head is not ordinary…

Landfall is the most dangerous part of the journey.

The transport shook and rattled as it descended to hit the atmosphere of Ostakis. Flames flared from the heat shield and now I know why the pilot told me to pull the shade on my seat window. It’s terrifying watching the flames of friction ignited ionized gas shimmer outside the window and engulf the ship. To take my mind off my impending death I mulled over my last briefing with Director Kotel.

“How terraformed is this planet?” I had asked the director. We both paged our copies of the sparse notes and reports on Ostakis on our government issued readers. Survey had just turned in the information, and I was eager to see it. But, at the director’s request, I had to wait until this meeting to go through it thoroughly.

“Not quite Earth normal,” said Director Kotal. “Ten percent of the original plant and animal forms still survive. The Ostakians fight the planet’s encroaching desert sands. The shield wall the colonists built is in disrepair.”

That was an interesting bit of information. “Any reason why?”
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