Review of Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote

Starting from Scratch (Housemates, #5)Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free ARC of this book from the author, for my reading pleasure. This has in no way affected my review.

I love the Housemates series. Fun, lighthearted, hot and thoughtful NA series, and they just keep getting better, book by book. This story is Ben and Sid’s story. We met both of them briefly in book 4, but you do not need to read any of the others in the series to enjoy this book – although why would cheat yourself out of that treat?

I read romance for the sake of romance. I am not too concerned with the gender pairing or how many participants are in the romance, as long as it is a good story with a happy ending, I’ll read it!
However, I have been following Jay’s own personal journey, and have a person in my own circle who is also transitioning, so transgender characters in romances do hold a bit of special interest to me. This is by far the best romance with a transgender MC, I have read so far! So much more focus on the mental issues of transitioning, and not just the physical ones.

Ben has a great supportive network in his family, thank god, and when he finds the courage to come out to his friends, he luckily finds nothing but support there as well.
We get to see things from Sid’s point of view too, which I thought was great. Because yes, you would have thoughts and questions in your mind, if the person you were interested in turned out to be transgender, it’s human nature.

Due to its subject matter – and maybe the importance of the subject to the author – this is not as lighthearted a read as many of the others in the series, but it is still a great NA story, with a super sweet and steamy love story between its pages. Warmly recommended.

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Review of Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

Hexbreaker (Hexworld, #1)Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, if there is a queen of the paranormal historical romance, Jordan L. Hawk must be it! This woman is an amazing storyteller! I loved her Whyborne & Griffin series so much it actually hurt, so when this new series was published, I was so happy I could cry! But also, a bit hesitant. Could she do it again?

I know this is only book 1, but if we count the short prequel I think it safe to say, that yes! She has done it. This is going to be another fantastic series, to be devoured and adored. I cannot wait to continue!

Tom Halloran is a rarity: an honest beat cop in New York. He is also a man with a past. When said past suddenly starts to rear it’s ugly face through some horrific murders, he has to make a choice: keep his head down or do the right thing, even if it means risking exposure.
This leads to him crossing paths with Cicero the Cat, an unbonded familiar working for the Witch Police. Unbeknownst to Tom, Cicero recognises Tom as ‘his’ witch, the second he sets eyes on him. Much to Cicero’s dismay. Cicero is a bohemian, an artist, a refined man of elegance and style. Tom is not! Tom is a big brute of a man and in Cicero’s experience, big brute men talk with their fists and abuse their power. And familiars have precious little power in the world as it is. No way is Cicero going to bond with this ogre.

The murders that started it all are seen as closed cases by the police, written off to madness on the part of the perpetrators. But there is a link to a missing familiar, Isac, Cicero’s best friend. Based on this, the unlikely pair are allowed to investigate.

Jordan L. Hawk mixes fiction and fact seamlessly, in a way that leads us through the real life events and politics of New York in the 1890’ies with a twist of magic. The world building is brilliant and the mystery and investigation is thrilling and nerve gripping.

Warmly recommended. Do yourself a favour and read the short prequel. It’s not required, but it does give an extra dimension to the world building and it tells Rook and Dominic’s story. I will be going straight for the pre-order button for Hexmaker.

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Review of Wes’ Denial by Joseph Lance Tonlet

Wes' Denial (Tease and Denial, #2)Wes’ Denial by Joseph Lance Tonlet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s 6.30 in the morning and I am a sobbing mess! Review to come!

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I have waited years, well ok, a year and a half, for this story. I almost wanted to slap Joseph Lance Tonlet, and declare October 1st 2015 a day of mourning, when he postponed the release date. I even speculated if the evil man had planned it that way, to ensure that the series lived up it’s name…
That also meant, that I had pretty high expectations of this book. And I am happy to say, that they were met and that Wes’ story was worth the wait.

This book cannot be read as a stand alone, you need to pick up Grif’s Toy first, as this one continues right were we left of, this time through Wes’ eyes. Like the first book the author chose time jumps to slowly build the complex puzzle that is Wes De Luca. I thought it worked well in Grif’s Toy, but man does it work here. Every chapter and new facet shown made me want more.

We see snippets of teenage Wes, exploring his sexuality and his dominance, his experiences in boot camp in his early twenties and him developing as a Dom in his thirties. But mainly we see him and Grif develop and grow together and it is beautiful and so romantic.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still kink here, in fact there’s a lot and Grif and Wes expand Chocolate quite a bit during the course of the book, and yet, just like in Grif’s Toy, the author manages to convey clearly the incredible love between the two. You are never left in any doubt as to whether they are both completely into what they are doing. Because, at it’s core, this series is actually an incredibly sweet romance. And that, to me, is quite an amazing feat!

I am aware, that this may leave the author with a book that does not speak to everyone. Readers looking for the sadism, might find it ‘diluted’ by the ‘fluffy stuff’ and fluff readers may be scared off by the level of sadism and humiliation. But for me, it works perfectly.

I had a few niggles a long the way, but since I stayed up all night, finished reading this as the sun came up, sitting in my sofa crying uncontrollably, there is no way I will be able to grant this less than 5 stars.

Warmly recommended, but be aware of the tags and that you need to read both books.

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Review of Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

Adulting 101Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Nick is 18, gay, has just graduated high school and is college bound after the summer. He spends his days bored in his summer office job for a construction company, stapling things together and writing bad poetry about one of the construction workers beautiful backside.

Jai is 25, bi and has restless feet. He spends every summer working in his small hometown and then the rest of the year travelling the world. He is aware of the geeky temp with a major crush on him, but nothing else, until said geeky temp blows him in a porta-potty and ends up getting them both fired.

Nick is adorable and hilarious in his scatterbrained own way. He goes off on one tangent after another, angsting over the future in the way only a teenager can. Jai’s more mature with his 25 years, but not so much that you don’t believe the relationship between the two.

And lastly I must give a special shout out to Devon, Nicks best friend and the very best bro anyone could have ever asked for. Everyone should have a Devon. I would read his story, whether it is with Ebony or another girl.

To summarise: I loved this! The characters were great, even the secondary ones. I would recommend it to everyone who has ever been a teenager, so basically… everyone. It’s brilliant, adorable, hilarious and so freaking cute you want to hug it. I already know it will be a favourite re-read, and should I be so lucky that it will be released on audio, I will be first in line to buy it.

Adulating 101 will be released on August 15th 2016.

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Review of Practice Makes Perfect by Jay Northcote

Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates, #3)Practice Makes Perfect by Jay Northcote

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I love lists. Seriously. I live my life by lists and the happiness of checking of items of said lists. So when Ms. Northcote acted as a temptress and posted Dev’s list on her facebook page, I caved! Even if buying this book was not on my list of things to do this week!

But I forgive her for her evil ploy, because it was adorable! My favourite of the series and I am already impatiently waiting for the audio to come out! I just know it will be a go-to comfort read, which is why I am rounding it up to 5 stars, even if there were a few things that niggled….

Dev is moving out of the dorms and into shared housing. College so far, has not been exactly what he had been dreaming of, and he hopes this will be a fresh start for him. And it seems like he might be right. Almost all of his new house mates are nice and friendly, two of the guy’s in the house are a couple and the boy next door is an adorable Scotsman, with a big smile and a sexy accent.

Dev lives his life by lists. Short term goals and long term ones. His long term goals include making friends, learning to cook and joining Grindr to get some sexual experience, in order to get a boyfriend. What could go wrong?

Dev and Ewan are adorable and hot together and it was lovely to meet the couples from the two other books again. This is the third in the series, but can easily be read as a stand alone, if you wish. However, please do not cheat yourself out of the cuteness that are the two first books of this series.

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Review of Gamble Everything by Cari Waites

Gamble Everything (Gamble Everything, #1-7)Gamble Everything by Cari Waites

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a mind fuck. I do believe this is the only book I have ever read, that have made me feel like a pervert, because even though this is seriously dub con it is clearly written to titilate and I have to admit, that I do enjoy it. Everytime I re-read it.

Danny is 18 and agrees to be sold as a prostitute to Mr. Archer as payment for his fathers gambling debts. His new world is one of submission and obedience, with a new ‘Daddy’ who wants to own every single part of him.

Originally this was written as a serial, and then collected into a whole story of part 1-7. This means that there are some unnecessary recaps at the beginning of each chapter, but they are not too bothersome. The original book is no longer available, but the story has been re-released as part of the Stealing Innocents anthology.

I can recommend this book if you are looking for a dark and twisted erotic tale, but if you are looking for romance and a happy ending you should go elsewhere.

Tags: dub con, non con, age play, daddy play, sub sharing, sounding, fisting, chastity, violence, murder

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