Undaunted

Originally reviewed for BMBR

4 Stars

“A warrior’s broken soul.
A vampire’s kind heart.”

Doesn’t that sound intriguing? I’m really glad I finally pulled the trigger and cracked this one open. The blurb is short and sweet but the story is so much more. Before I continue, please be aware: “Content warnings: Contains slavery, violence, body control, bottom shaming, misogyny, and rape mentioned in backstory.” This was a gruesome story and along with the listed warnings, there was necromancy which adds a whole other level to body control.

You’re still here?

If all those warnings didn’t send you running for the hills, pull up a chair and let’s get this party started.

Kelas Vartorvi was a warrior for his people until the Vampire’s took over his city and killed everyone they couldn’t use. Kelas was very proficient as a warrior which led to his capture, being turned into a werewolf (a Hound), and forced into slavery for the Master Vampire, Zoja. With Zoja forcing a blood bond, she is able to control Kelas’ body and he became her “sword.” He was forced to live as a dog, kill at her command, and be raped at her hands. For years he endured until he found a way to escape. He was on the run for months staying one step ahead of the trackers Zoja sent his way until he was outnumbered and poisoned. Just when he thinks it’s over and that he’ll be brought back and tortured, he’s saved by an unlikely hero.

Roshan is a rogue vampire that was abandoned by his sire shortly after being attacked and changed into a vampire. He embraces life and has built a family of friends around him. Roshan is light, sarcastic and caring. He is also a hell of a fighter, a mercenary, and is able to save Kelas from the attack.

Roshan being a vampire represents everything Kelas hates. He finally freed himself from Zoja and now owes Roshan a life debt as a payment for saving his life. Begrudgingly, Kelas agrees to stay with the group until he saves Roshan’s life. Kelas is like one of those abused and terrified animals you see at shelters. The ones that are heartbreakingly skittish and can’t bear to be touched. He was robbed of his pride, dignity, his name, consent, humanity, and choices on his physical actions. Slowly, Roshan earned his trust. Each day he showed Kelas that “what you were didn’t determine who you were.” That he wasn’t a monster.

Their journey as mercenaries takes them all over the lands, bringing them closer together until one job dangles the carrot of revenge. They have an opportunity to come face to face with Zoja and Kelas is eager to follow this path through, knowing that she will always be looking for him. Getting to the point of revenge takes trust and great sacrifice for both Kelas and Roshan. They have parts to play and can’t show their hand too early. Each step the group took brought them closer to Zoja, the castle of Kelas’ enslavement, and the battle that would take place. Their time at the castle was tense, engaging and eventually very gruesome. There were a lot of moving pieces and the prior world building supported them well.

Roshan and Kelas are opposites that fit. Their love is beautiful and transparent in each interaction. Roshan slowly brought Kelas back to life. But, Kelas feels “broken.” He needs to face his demons. He needs to face the voices in his head that tell him he’s nothing but a worthless Hound.

“I’m a pet, an animal. Not a person. Not someone you love. I’m a creature you lust after, one you can make do whatever you want. I’m a toy.”

This wasn’t a case of insta-love. They were slow to realize their attraction and as their feelings grew, love bloomed bright. With Kelas’ past, trust had to be the foundation before anything else was added and the author did a great job of making that a realization. There wasn’t a lot of sex in the book but each time it took place held purpose. It furthered the believability of their connection and the trust built between them. They got their HEA but it wasn’t without hardship, heartbreak, and a need for healing.

Was it perfect? No. Did I have to suspend reality? Yes, but that is to be expected with a paranormal/ fantasy romance. The time period was a bit confusing and I still don’t know if it was a historical with its talk of coin, carriages, and horses or in modern time with the way each character spoke. It was contradictory and pulled me out of the story a few times. Also, this was very heavy in gods talk. There are rites, rituals, thanking ceremonies, prayers, alters, statues, etc… The gods are mentioned in the blurb and are everywhere throughout. I could have done without all that but it didn’t ruin the book for me. Another unique aspect of this story was the feel; It has a vintage werewolf and/or vampire feel which worked for the heavy elements present.

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I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to fans of paranormal romance.

“Oh, Kel.” Roshan pressed their hands together. “You store up reasons to hate yourself, and I…” Roshan laughed, sad and sweet and surprised all at once. “I store up reasons to love you.”

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

(Un)Masked Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to the (Un)Masked Blog Tour with Anyta Sunday, Andy Gallo & A Novel Take PR. Check out the re-release of (Un)Masked, an intriguing paranormal romance and see below for excerpts, review, and more.  Also, scroll down to see how to enter in the giveaway for a chance to win 3 e-copies of any backlist book by either Anyta Sunday or Andy Gallo.

“What made the book for me? One word: Gristle.

Gristle, the straight boy, Jay’s best friend, his “bro,” is one of the best characters I’ve had the joy to read this year. His devotion to Jay is breathtaking, his snark so very snappy […]. Read this book if nothing for the character of Gristle. […] Spectacular.”

–T.J. Klune, Author of For Real, Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and Lightning-Struck Heart

Title: (Un)Masked

Publisher: Anyta Sunday & Andy Gallo (Self-Published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 30, 2017

Subgenre: MM gay paranormal romance, magical realism, new adult

Book blurb:

Walker has two wishes: to perform the play of his dreams alongside his best friend at Wellington’s Tory Street Theatre, and to meet that special someone. Someone he’d go to the ends of the earth for. Someone who might only exist in fairy tales.

When Jay meets accordion busker Lethe Cross, it’s like living a dream come true. Lethe’s music captivates Jay, and he resolves to meet the man who plays so beautifully. But then he discovers Lethe’s life is more like a nightmare. The phrase “down on his luck” can’t begin to cover it. Determined to help, Jay does some snooping for answers—and winds up on the wrong end of a centuries-old curse. The good news is there’s a way to break it. The bad news is it might cost Jay his life.

This book was previously published by Dreamspinner Press. This updated 2nd edition has some rewritten parts and has been line edited again.

Buy Links: http://www.anytasunday.com/#unmasked

Excerpt #1:

His music sailed over me, beautiful, seductive; the call of a siren—and I went willingly.

He stood on a concrete wall dividing the beach and pavement, cutting notes into a thousand beautiful fragments that the air caught and whipped around me.

His hips twisted and his fingers slid over the accordion keyboard as he commanded the bellows.  Like magic, the disappointment that had clung to me all morning dulled, and I sank against a pylon across and watched him. Watched, and wished the lip of the hoodie he wore would lift so I could see his face.

He swayed with the music, and I glimpsed blond hair and a scar splitting one brow.

Nearer and nearer, I inched, until I stood before him.

His song ended abruptly, and he stared down at me with haunted, tired eyes.

I opened my mouth to ask him to play again, to tell him he was truly talented, but he jumped onto the beach and fled.

My soul prickled, and I knew I would never be the same again.

One never was, when death lurked nearby.

 

Author Bios:

Heart-stopping slow burn.

Anyta Sunday is a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. She loves to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of her favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

Anyta writes a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. Her books have been translated into German, Italian and French.

Member of Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Anyta: Website | Twitter | Facebook | To receive a free e-book, sign up for Anyta’s newsletter here!

***

Andy Gallo’s stories capture how he wished he’d spent his formative years, instead of how it really happened. Unfortunately for his characters, they find themselves infused with some of Andy’s less noble qualities.

A hopeless romantic, Andy writes seated next to a hundred year old Smith Brothers typewriter he inherited from his grandfather. He also dreams of superheroes and wizards and sees no reason why two men with superpowers can’t fall in love just like everyone else. Although not all of his stories have a paranormal bent, a touch of the supernatural never derailed a good read in his mind.

Married and living his happy ever after, Andy helps others find their happy endings in the pages of his stories. He and his husband of more than twenty years spend their days rubbing elbows with other parents as they raise their daughter. Embracing his status as the gay dad, Andy sometimes has to remind others that one does want a hint of color even when chasing after their child.

Connect with Andy:  Website | Facebook

***

Giveaway: 3 e-copies of any backlist book by either Anyta Sunday or Andy Gallo:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0332/

Review by Lost in a Book

4.25 Stars

I get it. I totally get why there are mixed reviews on this book. Especially if you’re comparing them to some of the Anyta books we know and love. You know, those light hearted, quirky, with witty banter, slow burned to the brink of death, and a lightness that you just feel like you can float away on? Yep, those. If you’re an established Anyta fan girl/boy like I am, I had a hard time not comparing the feels in this to the ones I’ve read in the past. And when I really thought about it, not all of her previous writes had that light hearted feeling. One of my favorites is her novella Bird Meets Cage that isn’t at all like her other books. Or Rock. Once I checked my preconceived notions at the door, I enjoyed the hell out of this one with all of its sad, heartbreaking heaviness; Because on the outskirts of all that melancholy is hope and light and self-sacrifice

”Do you believe there are things in this world that can’t be explained?”

In (Un)Masked it’s possible. Lethe is the last living member of a cursed bloodline and the curse makes it almost impossible for him to let his guard down to live and love, until he meets Jay. Jay sees Lethe for who he is. Their journey is difficult and many times seems impossible. This book is completely unique and very little can be revealed without ruining the heartbreakingly beautiful story that Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo created. It has a mysterious feel and I was rooting desperately for them to beat all the odds stacked against them.

The love between Lethe and Jay was perfectly imperfect. They got their HEA that almost bordered on the HFN end of the spectrum. They had chemistry but there was very little sexy times and those that were on page weren’t explicit. Normally I’m all gimme the sex, but the quantity and heat level fit the bill for the obstacles the MCs faced.

Gristle. Oh Gristle. I loved you so hard. I was planning little Gristle/Jay babies. But alas, they were just friends soulmates. Gristle and Jay’s love ran so deep that I hurt for them. My face leaked at the sadness surrounding Gristle from the very beginning all the way through. He added so much life to this story that I considered him a third main character.

This book was really well written and I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen which is my favorite type of read. Definitely recommended.

Buddy read with Vir. 🙂 

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Living Out Loud

Originally reviewed for BMBR on October 24, 2017.

4 Stars

I’m still shaking my bible-thumping traditional upbringing, and he’s as free and eclectic as this town.”

Ben and Xavier reconnect after over a decade of not seeing each other. They were childhood friends that sought solace together when the world around them was cruel and unforgiving. Xavier had found himself and Ben craved that freedom. He wanted to truly live.

Just a warning: I’m not going to give a detailed breakdown of the story because the synopsis is one of the longer and more detailed that I’ve seen.

*waits while you read the synopsis if you haven’t already*

After they connect on Facebook, Ben and Xavier meet up and fall right back into the easy friendship of their youth. Ben can’t help but notice Xavier’s confidence and unapologetic attitude towards who he is and also the casual sex he enjoys. They have very honest conversations about desires and the person Ben wants to become.

Ben decides Xavier is the perfect person to guide him in his new outlook on life. He is so tentative, insecure, and sexually repressed which is the exact opposite of Xavier.

“I want you to show me those things.”

Yep, those things.

They begin a no-strings attached sexual fling. Xavier hears Ben’s plea and graciously accepts to be his “teacher” and guide him with some helping hands, tongue, spanking, toys, and even some red licorice candy used creatively.

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“He’s such a mixture of hunger and nerves. Want and insecurity. I can’t wait to see him bloom—to see him shed the skin that was forced on him and fully embrace who he really is. It’s like he’s being reborn.”

I LOVED Xavier and Ben together. They complimented each other so well. Although they both had shitty childhoods, they fought to accept themselves without reservation. Xavier was Ben’s pierced, knight in tattooed armor. He slayed the demons in Ben’s head every time they crept up while breathing new life. Ben’s confidence grew with every look, word, touch and action that Xavier bathed him in. He was so selfless and understanding while not treating Ben like he was fragile.

As mentioned a wee bit above, they had some sexy times. Xavier was all about helping Ben with a variety of experiences. There was a lot of sex. It was steaming. This book needed a lot of sex due to the sexually repressed nature of Ben and his neurosis that paralleled it. There were some issues to work through that couldn’t have happened if sex wasn’t a big part of the book. I didn’t hate it. At all. The build-up to the first kiss and then when they FINALLY kiss…

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This was a pretty low angst book outside of what Ben has to work through. Which was enough considering the mind fuck his family and the “Pray the gay away” church camp put him through. Anything else heaped on for angst would have been unnecessary. The conflict at the end was predictable but essential. It was a beautifully earned HEA. Definitely recommend.

“I was born this way and I am not a disgrace.”

“I look him in the eye. “It feels incredible. I get to be me. And this me wants you.”

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https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

By Fairy Means or Foul

Originally posted @BMBR on September 29, 2017

Unicorn Gang Bang with SRAL, JL, R, Sara, Lori

All the stars. 5+++++

excite

I just wanna make it rain with them. I loved this book SO hard that I wanted to savor it and hurry up and read at the same time. The struggle was real y’all. I apologize in advance that my brain is jumbled from ooey gooey feelings that may lead to a jumbled mess of words. In my defense, this feeling doesn’t happen often but I just clicked with this book.

Were some parts OTT? Uh-huh!
Were some parts silly? Yep!
Did I care? Not. At. All. It was funny AF and captivating and sexy and amazeballs. It was a well written story with a lot of moving parts so I will try my very best not to reveal anything that will ruin your reading experience.

I’ll also attempt to string some coherent thoughts together while I silently SQUEE.

What do you get when a tiny male fairy has sex with a beast of a dragon female? I’m sure you were thinking epic awesomeness? You would be correct. Twig Starfig, one of the MCs is the result of his 8-inch fairy dad (not the 8 inches you’re thinking of… his whole height was 8-inches) and dragon mom’s coupling. *imagines logistics of that* Twig the half-breed is a private detective in the Elder Realm and helps “people” find things.

Brandsome Nightwind, a unicorn is missing his horn and has come to Twig for his assistance. Unfortunately, Brandsome can’t provide the upfront payment and trades temporary ownership of his “pet” AKA bed slave, Quinn to Twig. Twig, being soft-hearted for indentured servants accepts the deal to spare Quinn and becomes responsible for him. With the contract signed, Quinn is now with Twig as they go in search of a magical unicorn horn.

The journey is epic. They travel from place to place in search of the horn while battling evil, meeting many different creatures, and forming an unbreakable bond. The sexy times were hot. Scorching. They were all growly, claimy, mine, rough, grabby, markings, scratching, nipping…

“His fist held my hair in an iron grip and he yanked me up, breath rushing into my lungs before he shoved me back down.”

“My dragon approved, especially when his seed filled my mouth. I swallowed most of it, keeping just enough so that when he shuddered and rolled off me, I sprung up and locked our lips together, feeding it to him.”

Got a wee bit off track there… sorry. *refocuses*

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On the other hand, this book was highly entertaining. I laughed my ass off throughout. I mean, a book titled Fifty Shades of Fae and Slick Dick’s Enchanted Snail Lubricant… *cackle* All of the “good” characters were smart asses and I’m fluent in smart assery with a big ol’ side of crude humor. Quinn and Twig have never been accepted for their uniqueness and as they travel, they collect other castoffs to create a little band of misfits.

There were a ton of other creatures present from unicorns, sprites, gargoyles and giants to fairies, parrot ghosts, cyclops and demons. Typically, I would consider that too much going on in one story. But it totally freakin’ works. The search for the unicorn horn drove the story and was never forgotten or lost in the shuffle of meeting new characters. The secondary characters were essential in driving the plot and adding to the overall story. It was interesting to see how Twig and Quinn navigate their relationship knowing that Quinn only belongs to Twig temporarily.

The world building was on point. Seriously. Amazing. I would absolutely recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and m/m romance. It was the perfect blend and I really hope there will be more books to come. They got their HEA but left plenty of room for more adventures.

My only disappointment was not having Quinn top Twig with all his dominant sexiness. It was hinted as something Twig would dig (see what I did there?) and that’s a carrot that can’t be dangled and then forgotten. Ohhohoho…I demand an extra toppy scene be written. *waiting*

“Well that deflated my cock faster than a werebeaver with braces offering free blowjobs.

*snort*

Copy provided for honest review.