BDSM · Book Review

REVIEW //\\ Reveal: Scorpio & Harlan

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Reveal: Scorpio & Harlan by Lilia Moon

Scorpio and Harlan’s story was engaging, quite sweet at times and super hot. It was a really easy, pleasant and light read, with a little bit of angst and a lot of steam.


Whilst I liked Scorpio and Harlan, I never really felt like I got to know them deeply. It’s not that they were one dimensional but I felt like we only skimmed the surface of them. I didn’t really care for all the “edge” references, I still couldn’t say with 100% certainty if it meant something good, something bad or just pushing boundaries. In fact there was too much talking in code and I think that was part of what prevented me from connecting with these particular characters.


That said, the story flows really well, the kink scenes, the negotiations, the actions and reactions felt very natural and real. I love the banter, the humour and the support between not only Harlan and Scorpio but also with their friends. It added a fullness to the story.


Things progressed quite rapidly between Harlan and Scorpio and it did feel very insta-love, which is somewhat of a soft limit for me. However I enjoyed them as a couple, and loved how they connected as much more than Dom and sub.

Title – Reveal: Scorpio & Harlan (Fettered #2)
Author – Lilia Moon
Genre – BDSM/ Erotic Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32394852-reveal

Scorpio is a retired punk-rock singer and the baddest wedding logistics coordinator in the biz. She knows what she wants – and edges aren’t it. They make you bleed.
Harlan’s the big, tough floor manager of Fettered, Seattle’s best BDSM club. Which isn’t anything Scorpio wants, because tats-and-leather bad boys are all about the edges, and she’s done with those.
Except she’s having trouble saying no, and it’s not the tats and leather getting in her way. It’s the glimpses of what lives underneath.
And maybe inside herself, too.

Meme

Six For Sunday

Six For Sunday… Favourite Series

Six For Sunday is hosted by A Little But A Lot, please do go and visit them! This month the prompts have been all about series, so of course we are rounding of the theme with a favourite series. I’m not sure if I can genuinely narrow it down to just six of them, so at some point I may be picking names out of a hat!

1. Machinery of Desire by Cari Silverwood

Genre – Dark Science Fiction Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/211137-the-machinery-of-desire

This series ticks so many of my boxes. First of all it satisfies my craving for really well written science fiction, with its awesome world building.
These books could NOT be transferred to an Earth setting and still work, unlike a disappointing proportion of sci-fi romance currently on the market. There are elements of both dubious and non-consensual acts, though there is no rape or abuse, just lots of boundary pushing and steaming hot kinkiness. There is a lot of political (with a small p) sub-text too, little thought provoking elements that reflect ways we could and should be improving our world.
I always think that if Terry Pratchett had been a woman and included naughty sex scenes in his books, he would have produced something similar to this.

2. Demigods of San Francisco by KF Breene

Genre – Paranormal/ Urban Fantasy Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/245213-demigod-of-san-francisco

KF Breene is the ‘straight’ equivalent of Cari Silverwood. Both write scorching hot stories, with strong female characters, outstanding world building and humour. However whilst Ms Silverwood delights with her bondage, humiliation and submission, Ms Breene is more mainstream, with vanilla characters.

3 Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

Genre – Steampunk / Science Fiction

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/66385-the-emperor-s-edge

Where as the previous two authors include sex scenes in their books, Lindsay Buroker doesn’t. That is saved for her Ruby Lionsdrake pen name. The Emperor’s Edge series is much more of a steampunk suspense, though there are some subtle elements of romance within the series. An epically slow burn and very frustrating romance that is very much in the backseat. These books are first and foremost science fiction, rather similar to Anne McCaffrey or Mercedes Lackey.

4. The Sanctuary Series by Robert J Crane

Genre – Epic Fantasy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/86746-sanctuary

This series took me back to my David Eddings days. The Sanctuary series is a tale of daring do, of brave knights and evil villains. The world building is complex and captivating, I couldn’t read these books quickly enough when I first discovered them, and I remember waiting anxiously for the last few to be released so I could discover the fate of Cyrus, Vara and their friends.

5. The Messenger Chronicles by Pippa DaCosta

Genre – Reverse Harem Space Fantasy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/222402-the-messenger-chronicles

Yes I know I mention this series and author a LOT. No I’m not being sponsored, or paid, nor am I the author of these amazing stories. But this series made me weep buckets, made me swoon, made me hate, made me elated and shattered me repeatedly. I also laughed like a nutter at some of Sota’s one liners.
There is romance, because that’s what I mainly read, but it’s very slow burn and, as with Lindsay Buroker’s books, it’s secondary to the plot, mainly fade-to-black but is an integral part of the story.

6 The Thalia Series by Jennifer Bene

Genre – Dark Romantic Suspense/ BDSM Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/series/150762-thalia

I can’t do a post without including my favourite genre of dark contemporary romance, so here it is. Book 1 of this series is a very dark tale indeed. It is sprinkled with scenes that require trigger warnings of the sexual abuse kind, since Thalia is kidnapped and being trained as a submissive sex slave. I found it too dark the first time I tried reading it, but after moving to darker sci-fi/fantasy stories (which my mind strangely finds easier to accept, possibly because they feel less ‘real’) I came back to this series.
The book went from a DNF to a 5+ star read. I then completed the rest of the series which, whilst not as dark or the first book, also has it’s moments.

Meme

Top 5 Books… From a male POV

Top 5… Books From A Male Point Of View

Does this mean strictly from a male POV? I’m not sure if I’ve READ 5 books that qualify.

Oh yes I have! And it means that I get to include some of those juicy MM romances that are hot enough to melt your e-reader. Thank you Devouring Books for hosting this meme and for this weeks prompt.

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce

Genre – Young Reader/ Fantasy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/543086.Tom_s_Midnight_Garden

This was a childhood favourite read, and I’m fairly sure it’s from a male point of view. I loved anything fantasy/mythological from a young age and this book ticked all my boxes. I remember being incredibly moved when we discovered Hetty’s true identity. A much loved classic.

Primal Sin by Ariana Nash

Genre – LGBT Fantasy

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50926046-primal-sin

This is the first book in a series, involving angels and demons and an Earth setting. There are secrets, lies, power plays and some things, or people, are not who they may seem to be.

Fresh Catch by Kate Canterbary

Genre – MM Contemporary Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35919933-fresh-catch

This was one of my first forays into the world of MM romance and quickly topped the list of not only my favourite MM stories, but one of my favourite romance stories of all time.

If there was one think I’d learned since Cole drifted into my life it was that we mattered more than I.

Where The Stars Fall by Ana Simons

Genre – Second Chance Contemporary Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50259787-where-the-stars-fall

This is written entirely from Brian, the hero’s, point of view. Whilst a part of me would have liked to have heard the heroine’s voice, I still enjoyed this second-chance romance. It’s a beautiful and heart-warming tale, best of all this book raises money for charity – https://www.anasimons.com/what-truly-matters

Con Man by T. Torrest

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34610208-con-man

This was the very first romance book I ever read that was written solely from a male POV. It took me a little while to ‘get into’ the feel of it, but it was both intriguing and very enjoyable to follow Lucas’ story and I would recommend giving this story a chance.

Book Review · Organised Crime

REVIEW //\\ Ruthless Sinner

Ruthless Sinner (Zetas #6) by A.J. Adams

A well crafted, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable story.


Spirit is definitely full of just that, a tough cookie of a heroine who, even when life kicks her down, paints on a happy face and thinks of others. Coop is a mystery wrapped up in an enigma, all parceled up in one gorgeous package. Both of them have secrets, both of them have known suffering, both of them are loners, used to coping on their own.


When Coop first met Spirit he really didn’t impress me, he wouldn’t take a polite no and then took offence when she stretched the truth to fob him off. It took a loooooong time but Coop did eventually realise just how wrong he had been, but not until Spirit has suffered through a few fraught encounters, and a lot more, with him.


I don’t want to say too much due to spoilers, so I’ll stick with how much I loved these characters. We get glimpses of old favourites, from previous books, though this story could very easily be read standalone. Neither of the main protagonists are perfect, they both have made mistakes but equally they are incredibly loyal people. The chemistry between them felt very natural, meaning it was incredibly easy to believe in the developing relationship.


The romance between Spirit and Coop is only one element of the book. There are also a couple of different mystery elements and plenty of action filled plot that add up to one really great read.  Ruthless Sinner is quite a long book, allowing plenty of time to fully develop both the characters and the story line. It was the perfect balance, so that nothing felt rushed but at the same time it didn’t drag either.


I sort of guessed who the bad guy was, though it was more of a hunch. I wasn’t totally convinced it was definitely that person, for a while, and I did waver over other suspects too. The suspense element was really well written through the story and the big “show down” was unexpected, twisty and amazing. I loved how it drew in previous elements of the story, how it sort of drew a line under things and allowed a fresh start of sorts.


Elements of the book are pretty thought provoking too. Coop is a “chemist” who cooks up drugs for the cartel to sell, he kills other bad guys and makes no apologies for that. Spirit, with no qualifications and in need of money, spent a brief period as a sex worker and she seemed to be the more judged for that past. She had done nothing to harm anyone, but was a pariah in her community. Looked down on, disregarded as trash, yet she had the most caring and forgiving soul. In real life I really wouldn’t want to know a Coop, because drugs to ruin lives, but (a) this is fiction and (b) in all other aspects he was a very honorable man. He drove himself into the ground to try and ensure the safety of local women. He was also loyal to those who had earned his trust and respect. We can be pretty quick to judge and in some ways this is a case of ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.


TL;DR
In summary this is an action packed, well written, steamy mafia romance with two great main characters and a fantastic plot. Highly recommended.

Title – Ruthless Sinner (Zetas #6)
Author – A.J. Adams
Genre – Mafia/ Contemporary Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53410129-ruthless-sinner

Blurb
Determined to get her mother the healthcare she needs, drop dead gorgeous Spirit Westcott works as a stripper, not caring that it cements her reputation as the Beauview village bad girl. But when Spirit falls foul of John Cooper, the newest member of the notorious Zeta Cartel, she loses her job. Furious, Spirit confronts Coop–only to discover his secret drug lab. When Coop decides to save her, by disappearing her and keeping her captive, Spirit is less than impressed. However, she quickly learns that Coop has an even deadlier secret, and one that may drag her into the abyss.
When dangerous, single-minded John Cooper learns his best friend was murdered, he resolves to exact bloody vengeance. The knowledge that his prey is a Zeta, one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels, doesn’t stop him. Coop joins the organisation, only to discover that finding his prey won’t be easy. To his annoyance, sexy Spirit Westcott is also a spanner in the works. After embarrassing him in public, Coop suddenly finds himself saddled with her as an unwanted captive. Then, just as things couldn’t get worse, a killer starts to pick off Beauview village girls. As Coop is drawn further into the cartel, he is forced to make decisions that may cost him his life–and that of his love.

Meme

Bookish Friday

Bookish Friday… Animal Sidekicks.

This weeks prompt for Bookish Friday, hosted by Lauren and Georgi, is “Animal Sidekicks”. My initial thoughts were that the Famous Five was the last book I read with an animal sidekick, then I realised all those Dragons of Pern books would count too. I’m probably going to stretch the prompt so much that it will be in danger of snapping – would Rincewind’s Luggage, from The Colour of Magic, count? Maybe not but Lady Sybil’s swamp dragon’s would.

Hedwig, Harry Potter by JK Rowling

This is probably the closest choice, and most widely known choice, that will appear in my list. I loved reading the Harry Potter books and was so sad at Hedwig’s ultimate fate.

Novo and Boz, Cats of War by Carol Van Natta

Novo and Boz are genetically modified cats who help Kedron (H) and Ferra (h) in their bid to prevent a sinister plot coming to fruition. The fact that Kedron and Ferra fall in love along the way was an added bonus to this great little sci-fi novella.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44320639-cats-of-war


Tiger, Ruthless Sinner by AJ Adams

Ruthless Sinner releases today, so there will be a review on my blog tomorrow. The heroine, Spirit, is an exotic dancer who manages to upset Coop, the local organised crime’s chemist. Tiger’s love of hard wood floors and 2000 thread cotton sheets helps smooth things over and seal the deal between this quirky pair.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53410129-ruthless-sinner

Milo, Rogue Wave by Gwyn McNamee

At the start of Rogue Wave, Milo is the only ‘person’ that Cutter really has any time for. Except Milo is his dog and in this story he really is this man’s best friend. Brave, loyal, fierce, demanding and fond of treats, though whether that describes the man or dog I’ll leave for you to decide!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46034314-rogue-wave

Nibbles, Condemned by Cari Silverwood

Nibbles befriends our heroine, Avalon, whilst she ventures to complete a perilous task whilst in a foreign land. He is a mousebot and proves to be both a faithful friend and a useful ally in troubled times.
Condemned is one of the few reverse harem romances where the male characters have all had their own personality. It’s a Cari Silverwood book so you are automatically assured of great world building and a genuine sci-fi feel to the story.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52004118-condemned

Nora, Becoming His Pet by Measha Stone

If a mousebot pushed things this takes things beyond all reckoning. Nora is the heroine and this is one hot and steamy pet play book. It won’t be for every reader – I didn’t think it would be for me either, but boy oh boy Ms Stone wrote one scorching hot, erotic romance with this one.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43165562-becoming-his-pet