Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase

Mad About the Hatter


25926238This isn’t his sister’s Wonderland….Henry never believed his older sister, Alice’s, fantastic tales about the world down the rabbit hole. When he’s whisked away to the bizarre land, his best chance for escape is to ally himself with the person called the Mad Hatter. Hatter—an odd but strangely attractive fellow—just wants to avoid execution. If that means delivering “Boy Alice” to the Queen of Hearts at her Red Castle, Hatter will do what he has to do to stay alive. It doesn’t matter if Henry and Hatter find each other intolerable. They’re stuck with each other.

Along their journey, Henry and Hatter must confront what they’ve always accepted as truth. As dislike grows into tolerance and something like friendship, the young men see the chance for a closer relationship. But Wonderland is a dangerous place, and first they have to get away with their lives.

I had quite a lot of expectations of this book.  How could I not, when it's set in Wonderland?  The beginning absolutely lived up to all expectations.  I loved the description of the Red Queen and her Guard and Hatter was wily and funny, just like I had hoped. 

Once the story moved on, however, I found that I was enjoying it less and less.  I didn't like Henry's character and I thought he was a jerk and undeserving of Hatter.  Henry spent his entire life not believing his sister's story of Wonderland (which is fine) and acted like an asshole to her when she wouldn't change her story (which is not fine).  Imagine, if you will, that Henry's theory was correct and Alice was kidnapped and went through some terrible trauma.  Would you really demand that this person tell you everything they went through in excruciating detail, and then hate them and blame all of life's problems on them if they refuse?  Not cool, Henry.  Not cool.

I felt as though the author spent more time on descriptions of Wonderland than she did with her characters.  Sure, some of the places were interesting (like Drawrof), but some were just downright silly and made me roll my eyes at the overeager writing.
If only the author had made the characters more complex and interesting!  Hatter certainly should have been more than the one-dimensional character we were stuck with.

I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Only Option by Megan Derr

The Only Option


29541892A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.

When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo's pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.

It's no secret that I love Megan Derr's books.  I recommend them to friends whenever possible.  Have you read Tournament of Losers yet?  No??  Well go read it!  What about The Lost Gods series?   Read that one too.

The Only Option brings us back to Derr's fantasy world where different beings (Necromancers, Dragons, Queen's Hands, etc) co-exist in relative peace.  Rochus is forced into a marriage because Tilo needs help to save his lands and so far his pleas have gone unanswered.  When in need, force a necromancer to become your husband to secure his magical assistance.  Derr 101. 

I loved Rochus and his insecurities only made him more endearing.  He doesn't believe anyone would fall for a 43 year old necromancer with pale skin and blue teeth.  Little does he know...

Tilo's character was interesting and I've always had a soft spot for dragons.  He was a bit annoying at times because he's quick to pout or cry.  But I guess that's what happens when you're a 20 year old dragon trying to save a kingdom on your own. 

Everything about this book was great.  I loved the magical/ghost companions and the sweet interactions between Rochus and Tilo.  The age disparity just made it that much more precious. 

Here's another to add to the list of Megan Derr books I'll be recommending!

I received a free ebook copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tremaine's True Love by Grace Burrowes

Tremaine's True Love


24296368Tremaine St. Michael is firmly in trade and seeks only to negotiate the sale of some fancy sheep with the Earl of Haddonfield. The earl’s sister, Lady Nita, is pragmatic, hard-working, and selfless, though Tremaine senses she’s also tired of her charitable obligations and envious of her siblings’ marital bliss. Tremaine, having been raised among shepherds, can spot another lonely soul, no matter how easily she fools her own family. Neither Tremaine nor Nita is looking for love, but love comes looking for them.

When Tremaine St. Michael travels to the Earl of Haddonfield's estate to barter over the price of some sheep, he never expects to fall in love.  He has some bad experiences that have left him shy of love and matrimony.
Lady Nita has given up on love altogether and instead spends her days tending to the sick and infirm in the local village.  She does it because she believes it is her duty, and because the local doctor is a quack that cannot be relied upon. 

What follows is a very sweet story about two people who are shocked to find that they understand one another better than their respective families do.  I loved the interaction between them and I thought that having a gentle, honorable hero was very refreshing after reading so many romances with rakes and scoundrels. 

Of course, it wouldn't be a Grace Burrowes story without a large cast of characters, a bit of angst, and a snake in the grass.  And let me just say that Ms. Burrowes' handling of Nita's brother George was perfect!

I'd recommend this to anyone who loves bluestockings and very intelligent heroines, heroines who succeed at male-dominated professions, and heroes who are true gentlemen. 

I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hate F*@k: Part One by Ainsley Booth

Hate F*@k: Part One

Ainsley Booth

24308483Warning: This is just the start. This doesn't end well. And it's going to get much worse before it ever gets better.

I push her buttons. I want to push them in the good way. Dirty, up-against-the-wall, my-hand-in-her-pants kind of way.
But that’s not possible, because I’m dark and she’s light, and we both know it.
So I push her buttons in the bad way, making her hate me.

If a genie granted me three wishes, I’d ask for Cole Parker to never look at me again, that I’d forget the dark promise in his eyes, and that just once, before he vanished from my life completely, that he’d push me up against a wall and fuck me.
Then I’d go wash my mouth out with soap.

The title of this book put me off at first.  It's a terrible title, really.  But when I saw it come up in a friend's Goodreads feed and she raved about how good the book was I knew that I had to request it from Netgalley.  And after reading the novella I immediately bought the entire book on Amazon because I had to know what happened!
Right away I was sucked into the story and the lives of the characters.  I liked Hailey immediately and Cole...well, Cole is delicious. 
This novella was amazing and very hot.  I usually skip "those scenes" because I get bored but Ms. Booth writes like a boss. 

I highly recommend this book to all romance/erotica readers.

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

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

Hold Your Breath



A Year Less Three Days by Alyx J. Shaw, Mychael Black

A Year Less Three Days


Only love will save them…if it can survive the pits of the damned.

When Lias’s wife was kidnapped, all his skills as a woodsman couldn’t save her—or himself. Captured, sold repeatedly to different masters, Lias endures abuse, torture, and worse. By the time his latest master buys him, Lias is little more than an animal.

He is a creature of rage and hate, antagonizing his master at every turn, lashing out at his boundaries, waiting and watching for a chance to escape and return to his children—or die trying.

At times, Necromis, a knight of the Order of the White Bear, would like nothing more than to oblige his aggravating new charge, but one thing stays his deadly hand. Lias is his last hope. Long ago, Necromis made a deal with a demon named Bonecracker to gain fame, wealth, and respect.

But the day of reckoning is coming, and there’s only one way out of this bargain—capture the heart of a broken slave, or Necromis’s soul will forever belong to Bonecracker.

It's hard to know just how to rate this book.  It began so well that I had convinced myself that the rest of the book was going to continue to be just as amazing.  I was disappointed when the characters seemed to suddenly change their personalities and I was at a loss.  I preferred their original personalities, which had more depth and feeling.

Plot-wise the book was pretty good.  I liked the curse aspect and I enjoyed the slave/master parts of the story.  I just wish that the characters had continued with the same strength.

I've decided to rate this book as a solid three stars.  It was a good book and quite interesting, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good M/M fantasy.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a copy to review.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Blood and Clockwork by Katey Hawthorne

Blood and Clockwork


28421848Alistair Click set out to lay to rest the superstitious fears about the Mad Prince's clockwork tower. If that meant he might bring the ghost city of Avalonia back to economic life, connecting the western kingdoms once again, so much the better. So what if no adventurer who'd entered the tower in the last century of desolation had ever re-emerged? They didn't have his skill and wit. He could do better.

The tower turns out to be far more than Alistair expected, however. Not only are there clockwork puzzles to open every door, but one of them drops a boy from a strange world into his lap–figuratively speaking, if only just. Marco Murphy was just gaming in his New Jersey apartment, and now he's stuck in what feels like a never ending LARP nightmare.

The deeper they delve into the Mad Prince's tower, the darker the secrets they uncover. They're not entirely sure they'll ever be able to get out again, either. It'll take all Marco's charm and Alistair's cleverness, plus the strange bond growing between them, to get them out together… and alive.

This was a very descriptive novella set in a tower where most everything in each of the vast rooms is made up of clockwork.  I enjoyed the visuals, but after a while I began to get bored when nothing interesting happened.
Marco was a great character.  I loved his humor and his use of the modern-day Earth phrases that confused Alistair.  He pretty much saved the book for me.
One thing I loved was that Alistair was an asexual character.  That is very uncommon in books, especially in romance.  I thought that was pretty brave of the author.  After sells, right?
I would have rated this book higher if there was some sort of action or purpose to it all.  It was mostly a story about two characters exploring a strange tower and getting to know each other.  Not quite enough "meat" for my taste.
I received a free Kindle copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.