Tag Archives: M/M

Review of Jack of Thorns and Knight of Flame, by Amelia Faulkner


I picked up Amelia Faulkner‘s Jack of Thorns as an Amazon Freebie (it’s still free) and I think I got Knight of Flames through Instafreebie, maybe for signing up to her newsletter.

Jack of Thorns: 
Florist. Psychic. Addict. 

Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor. 

Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide. 

Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.

If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Review:

I really quite enjoyed this, flawed as I think it is. I simply liked Lawrence and Quentin. I liked the slow burn of their relationship, Lawrence’s history and the villain to be defeated. But I also thought the book overly long, Quentin’s attempt at aristocratic English so stiff as to be painful and his naivety unbelievable. He’s supposed to have not known how to use a bath/shower combo, or a cell phone, or understand any slang at all. He would have had to literally grow up under a rock to be as clueless about the modern world as he is made out to be. I do see the foreshadowing for something in his past possibly causing this, that will come out in future books, but I still couldn’t buy into it. Despite that, I have the next book in the series and I’ll be reading it.


Knight of Flames:
Headstrong. Telekinetic. Pariah. 

On the run from his family, Quentin d’Arcy has settled in San Diego with dwindling funds and the growing suspicion that his gifts might not be limited to telekinesis. When he meets a psychic who can control people’s actions with a few words, his comfortable life starts to unravel.

Demigod. Oracle. Hunter. 

Laurence Riley almost died killing one god only to discover that he’s descended from another. Before he can come to terms with that revelation, Quentin’s twin brother walks into his life, and there’s no way to know what his motives may be.

With great power comes great danger. 

Kane Wilson wants to make a better world: a world in which psychics are open about who and what they are without fear of reprisal or hatred. With the power to control others he might be able to pull it off, but there’s going to be collateral damage.

If Quentin and Laurence can’t get to the bottom of Wilson’s plan, Kane will out the existence of psychics not only to San Diego but to the world, and all hell will break loose.

Review:

I didn’t like this one as much as the first one, I’m afraid. I still liked it, mind you, but not as much as its predecessor. I found it predictable and Quentin’s naiveté about his own body almost drove me to distraction. If the man is asexual, fine. If the man doesn’t like sex, fine. If the man has had some past trauma and is afraid os sex, fine. But a 24yo pulling the old confused, ‘what’s this going on with my body’ schtick makes I want to scream. And his refusal to even look at or name his own anatomy, let alone Laurence’s annoyed me. How has a man lived 24 years and never experienced his own body? Dislike it, avoid it, shun it, sure. But don’t pretend he’s somehow lived his own life without ever noticing it was there or what biology makes happen every day! He comes across as if he might be on the Aspergers spectrum somewhere, but even then I’d expect him to know he has a penis, what it does and what it’s for, even if he doesn’t like it.

I liked the introduction of Frederick, Ethan and Adrien as side characters and I still find Laurence and Quentin a cute couple. I’m curious to see what is in Quentin’s past and how things progress.

Review of Hard Wired (Cyberlove #3), by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

I was sent an ARC of Hard Wired, but Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell.

Description from Goodreads:
My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

Review:
I love the Hassell and Erickson team and I’ve enjoyed the Cyberlove series. But I have to admit this wasn’t my favorite. I liked the characters and the story, but aspects of it made me uncomfortable.

Let me start with the good. The writing is stellar as always, the editing good (even for an ARC), the characters distinct, the sex hot, it’s funny and I personally liked the easter eggs. Yep, all good. And honestly, the one big thing that bothered me might be me making a mountain out of a molehill, but it annoyed me. A lot.

(This might be a little spoilery, but it doesn’t give the end away or anything.) One of the main characters’ goals is to become an animator so that he can create his own art that brings attention to and increases the diversity in media. Yeah? It’s a good goal. And I might have been able to look over how didactic some of it came across with the use of what I call hashtag terms (the ones you generally only see online or in book reviews talking about how authors have failed to include X or are guilty of shaming Y). Except that, well, both main characters are white. So are the parents, presumably the cousin/best friend, as it isn’t stated otherwise, the adversary and both people who will obviously be the couple for the next book. Off hand, I can think of one person Ian spoke to that was described as having a bow in her afro and Garvy’s co-worker was Filipino. That’s it.

Of course, race isn’t the only form of diversity and both characters are gay, they acknowledge the existence of bi-sexuality and one is neuro-atypical. But it still felt like an uncomfortable oversight. Perhaps someone will tell me I’m wrong or that it was actually meant to be illustrative, I don’t know. But once I noticed it I couldn’t not. The book was advocating diversity without including much obvious diversity itself.

And I almost didn’t mention it here, because I know these authors (know being a loose term for follow them online and have exchanged a comment here or there, but it’s enough that I have a general idea what to expect in their books) and I’m certain this is something that’s important to them. But I have to admit that here I don’t think they lived up to their best intentions. (And yes, I do see the irony of stating that I ‘know’ them, given that some of the drama in the book is based on fans thinking they know a whole person when all they really know is an online persona.)

Other than that one big issue, that kind of overshadowed the whole story for me, I generally liked the book. Yes, it was very angsty, I thought Garvy was a little too patient to be believed, the happy ending came a little too easily, and Ian’s trauma and protective measures sometimes came across as disingenuous simply because he seemed a little too introspective about his own psychoses. It made it feel almost clinical, instead of devastatingly emotional. But these last critiques are small niggles that are almost meaningless in the face of other aspects I enjoyed. I’ll definitely still be picking up the next book they write together and any books they write separately.

Review of Single Malt (Agents Irish and Whiskey #1), by Layla Reyne

I received a copy of Layla Reyne‘s Single Malt from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he’s not—Jamie is off-limits. 

Jamie’s lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco’s top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie’s skills invaluable. 

Jamie’s talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They’ll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own.

Review:
Oh man, everyone seems to love this book and I just liked it. I mean, it was ok. Whiskey and Irish were fine characters, at least one of them was likable. The mystery wasn’t super obvious. I guessed the culprit, but I wasn’t 100% certain from the very beginning, which I am sometimes. The sex was fine. But none of it came together into something I just loved.

I was constantly confused why Whiskey and Irish were doing other people’s jobs. Both cases they work are someone else’s, though they seemed to be in authority. And when there were cyber attacks, it was Whiskey who countered them, despite the head of the institute’s cyber security—who would undoubtedly know that system better than Whiskey no matter what kind of crack hacker he is—sitting beside him.

I never felt I got to know either character well, especially Whiskey. Plus, I just never bought him as this ex-basketball star, super hacker, who could cook and sing, is courteous, and great in bed. He was too perfect. The man had no flaws, other than his mystery love for Irish. Irish was a dick from the very beginning. Yes, he had reason and all, but what about him was Whiskey so enamored with? I never saw it.

There were a few passages in which I didn’t know what was meant, but other than that the writing was fine. The editing seemed fine. The book was ok. It’s not that I’m even saying I disliked it. I’d read another one. But it was just ok.