Cat Among the Pigeons

We, Beebs and Astrid, are two bookdorks who share this blog so you'll probably find two reviews of some books. We are also on Goodreads!

Justin's Season

Justin's Season - S.M. Sawyer

Beebs' Review

 

I'm not really sure where to start with this review, so I'm gonna just ramble on.

First things first, this is not a romance, if you're looking for some hot loving and a happy ever after, this is not the book for you. This is a story of redemption, one man's fight to right the wrong's of his past. Everything went to hell in a handbasket for Justin just when he was starting to question his sexuality and he's been hiding behind drugs and the bottle for the last 12 years. He wakes one morning, has an epiphany and starts setting about getting his life back on track. In the process, he meets Matt and is finally able to admit that he is gay and in love with another man. All of this is good, I am all for people sorting themselves out and building a better life for themselves.

Now for what I didn't like, it felt at times like I was sitting reading a very long sermon. Justin and everyone around him spend a lot of time praising the miracle that restored Justin to life. It felt very much like the good were rewarded and thebad were punished or given a chance at redemption. Matt's story felt very much like a punishment for perceived past sins and that did not sit well with me.

That said, the story was very well written and if you like inspirational books, you'll probably like this.

*ARC received from Nine Star Press in exchange for an honest review

Enemies of the State

Enemies of the State: The Executive Office - Tal Bauer

Beebs' Review

 

Set "in the very near future" this plot felt so very real as it focuses on situations that are very similar to things that are currently happening worldwide. Now ordinarily I'd be running a mile if you tried to get me to read something like this, I read to escape the real world, but the blurb drew me in so I decided to give it a go.

Jack is the newly elected US President and Ethan is head of his security detail, rules forbid Ethan to fraternise with his protectee but watching Jack struggle to cope with the loneliness of life in the White House, he slowly relaxes the rules and they build a friendship. There is no insta-love here, Ethan is gay and makes no secret of it but Jack is 'straight' and a widower whose wife was killed in Iraq. Ethan knows he is falling in love with Jack and stands to lose everything but is powerless to stop it and Jack is in blissful ignorance until one night when everything comes to a head. What I liked about this book is that we are shown the struggles both men go through, it's not just a case of oh, we're in love and a happy dance off into the sunset. Both men really struggle with the implications of a relationship between them and the impact it will have on their lives. That said, I thought they were very lackadaisical about hiding their secret affair.

Now, to the plot, as I mentioned previously it mirrors current world events, terrorist attacks, wars in the middle east, tension between Russia and America, world summit meetings. Each chapter starts with a news release keeping us up to date with current world events and the politics Jack is struggling with at the time. I would hesitate to classify this as a romance, it's more a political thriller with a romance woven through the story.

So why 4 stars not 5? Although it was necessary to explain the plot and what was happening the beginning of the book was very slow. That said, the author has 2 more books planned for this series that I will definitely be reading.

Tal Bauer is a debut author and in my opinion "one to watch".

*ARC received from Nine Star Press in exchange for an honest review

NOPE!!!!

Quinn I: Undaunted Men Series - J.C. Cliff, Sommer Stein, K.D. Robichaux, Soni Gillette

Beebs Review

 

I will never be reading anything by this author. I won't post my reasons here as when I listed my reasons on Goodreads my review was flagged and removed. Suffice to say I do not approve of bullying.

 

 

4.5 Wicked Stars

Wicked Need (The Wicked Horse Series Book 3) - Sawyer Bennett

Coffee, Cookies & Books

 

 

Astrid's review

 

 

This installment of the Wicked Horse series makes me all kinds of happy. Leave it to Sawyer Bennett to drag me out of a MAJOR book hangover. As always there is low angst and a sweet love story with endearing characters.

She gives us Rand who has been introduced in the previous books as part of a fantasy. He is loyal to the bone, a nurturer and inherently nice while intensely sensual and dirty.

Cat, our heroine, is sweet and strong with a backbone. We have met her as well as the wife of a rich guy who let her play in The Silo thinking that she did it on her own free will. Far from it. When we meet her she is without a roof over her head and Rand, being the white knight in shiny armor that  he has always been, takes her in and offers her to stay until she can get back on her own two feet. As the story develops we learn more about Cat and why she ended up being married to an old guy who got his rocks off while she was being gang-banged by strangers. Said old man has passed away and cut her out of his will and that's how she ends up sleeping in her car when Rand finds her.

Cat thinks she's used goods, broken. Life has dealt her a bad hand and when she married the old f*ck she thought she had a chance at a good life. The old Samuel, her late husband, however shared her with his family, friends and business partners in exchange for favors. The kindness Rand shows her is alien to her but welcome. Rand doesn't want to accept sex for his kindness, he just want to help Cat. One night at The Silo all bets are off though and they give in to their explosive chemistry which slowly morphs into something more.

Cat is a lovely, likable heroine who was living a nightmare and made the best out of it. She is a survivor and so worthy of the feelings Rand offers her. Rand is a total sweetheart, he gets Cat, understands why she had to do what she did.

Loved the side characters again just as much - Bridger the enigmatic and wise owner of The Silo. I'm so looking forward to his story. Love how he is there being all mysterious but doesn't steal the main character's thunder. Callie, who we met in the first book of the series, kicks major butt when she knocks some sense into Cat. Kevin, the old guy's oldest son, who is such a slimy douchebag you only can hate him. Logan - holy crap...that scene with Cat and Rand - get a pair of fresh panties ready.

This was another winner by Sawyer Bennett and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us!

***ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review***

Come What May

Come What May - A.M. Arthur

Beebs' Review

 

*Sigh* I just wanna grab Jonas and Tate, wrap them up and protect them from the world.

Jonas has been sent to Wilmington to stay with his aunt and uncle as punishment for a frat prank gone very, very wrong. While working in their thrift store, he meets Tate who runs a shelter for homeless kids across the street. Their first meeting is prickly to say the least, Jonas is buried very deep in the closet and Tate brings out feelings he needs to keep hidden or his overbearing douche of a father will cut him off entirely. Nothing he has ever done has made his father happy, he's not smart enough, isn't the perfect politician's son, isn't ambitious enough and being gay would just be the final nail in the coffin.

Tate has had a very difficult life, both parents died before he was 16 and he has had to fight ever since to get and keep his younger sisters with him. Add that to the pressures of running a shelter and he doesn't have time for a boyfriend and definitely not someone still in the closet but he is smitten the minute he sets sights on Jonas.

This book could have been very depressing, there are some very disturbing facts in there but it doesn't lose itself in those, it focuses on family, actual or chosen, and the importance of having good people around you who accept you for what you are. That is what Jonas discovers in Wilmington, acceptance, between Tate and his aunt and uncle he learns that there are people who will love you as you are not for what they think you should be.

There are some amazing secondary characters in here and I can't wait for stories for some of them, Marc in particular.


*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Harder He Falls

The Harder He Falls (Kick) - Lynda Aicher

Beebs' Review

 

Grady has had an awful life, he thought he'd finally left all that behind when he went to work with his cousin, the only member of his family who still speaks to him. He is still reeling from the tragic accident that killed one man and left his cousin in a coma when he meets Micah who volunteers at the hospital reading to comatose patients.

Micah has problems of his own that he is no hurry to share but there is something about Grady that calls to him and has him opening up to him about what happened. Grady comes across as naive and childish sometimes but at the same time he is very adult in his reactions to Micah's problem.

They both have trust issues and Micah is much quicker to open up than Grady who is still struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of the accident and his sexuality but they made a lovely couple.

There were some interesting characters introduced and I can't wait to read more of this series.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Risk Aware

Risk Aware - Amelia C. Gormley

Beebs' Review

 

I requested this book because the premise intrigued me, a haemophiliac who is also a masochist, how was that going to work? Well, I'm happy to say that it did.

Robin is not looking for a relationship after a major betrayal form his ex-boyfriend but he is intrigued by Geoff from the minute he sees him. He is furious when he finds out that Geoff has been hiding his problems from him and explains forcefully how much danger he would have been in had he hurt Geoff unawares. Geoff was a very naive in that respect and it nearly ends them before they begin. They both have major issues with trust and although the problems with Geoff's haemophilia was a major issue, it wasn't the only issue they had to work through and it takes some time for them to get to their hea.

I'm no expert on any of the issues raised here but the way the author had them work through the problems with Geoff's haemophilia and their lifestyle felt plausible to me. I get the impression that these characters are connected to another story so I'm off to check that out now.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Tempting Ecstasy

Tempting Ecstasy - Setta Jay

Beebs' Review

 

4.5!

Book 4 of the Guardians of the Realms series, Conn and Dacia's story.

This is my favourite book of the series so far. Dacia and her family have grown up on Earth because her parents ran there after escaping the labs of the evil Gods centuries before. Since her parents died before telling them about the Immortals and the other realms, they know little about it. When Conn turns up at Dacia's new home, she knows that her wolf wants him but she is wary of trusting him and is protecting her family.

Conn has known for a couple of weeks that Dacia is his mate but seeing how wary she is, he does not touch her to start the mating ritual, instead giving her time to get to know him and trust him. That doesn't mean he doesn't tell her all the dirty, dirty things he's going to do to her and wow, that ramped up the sexual tension in this book. After one of Dacia's brothers is almost killed and Conn saves him and her sisters, Dacia finally sees that she can trust him and agrees to the mating.

Meanwhile, things are not going well with Guardian duties, Elizabeth has taken over and has managed to get the "sleeping" Apollo, if he wakes, all hell will be let loose. Brianne and Vane are still unconscious and nobody knows what is going to happen when they wake.

I am really enjoying this series, not only is each book off the charts hot, the world building is fascinating too. Off now to read Jax's story, can't wait.

Clipped

Clipped - Devon McCormack

Beebs' Review

 

This book comes with a warning which should definitely be heeded, the sexual situations in this book are very graphic and very violent. Too brutal for my tastes which dropped my rating down a notch.

I loved the premise, the world building, the characters, the writing and will probably try more books by this author, just not in this particular series.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Second Skin

Second Skin - Alex Whitehall

Beebs' Review

 

Jay and Roswell were both sweet, loved them as characters and as a couple.

I loved the way Roswell was so accepting of Jay but I didn't really like the way Jay reacted when Roswell revealed his own secret. I just thought it was a little extreme from someone who had been considered a freak all his life.

The twist was unexpected but IMHO the book was too short and needed to be longer to fully explore the issues between these two. Maybe there's a follow up planned, I don't know but Jay and Roswell's story doesn't feel finished to me, HFN rather than HEA.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Against the Rules

Against the Rules (The Boundaries Series) - A.R. Barley

Beebs' Review

 

Boundaries book 2

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I was really looking forward to this, Kelly's story. My expectations were probably too high and while I really liked it, I didn't love it as much as the first book.

Kelly has had a really tough time of it and is still reeling from everything that's happened, he's been getting himself into more and more dangerous situations so that he can forget for a while. Ian comes along and saves him from one of those dangerous situations, realises what is going on and vows to help Kelly and keep him safe.

I enjoyed the relationship between them, it was understandably slow and tentative with both of them still wary because of past experiences but it was lovely to watch their relationship develop and them fall in love.

So what didn't I love? The resolution of Kelly's problems happened a little too quickly for me, it just felt kind of rushed at the end. That said I was glad to see them get their HEA and I'm hoping for a little love to come Chi Chi's way next.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Beta Test

Beta Test - Annabeth Albert

Beebs' Review

 

Book 2 in the Gaymers series

Tristan and Ravi start work in the Space Villager offices on the same day and they are complete and utter opposites. Tristan is the conservative, buttoned tight MBA and Ravi is the cool confident artist. On first impression they don't like each other very much and have nothing in common. After a bout of food poisoning fells everyone else in the office it's down to the two of them to get their presentation to Seattle and ready in time for a games conference.

Thus begins a road trip and a journey of self-discovery for both men. It is lovely to see them come to realise that they're really not so different and have a lot more in common than they think. There is a little angst mostly due to their respective families but they sort it out fairly quickly. These men are very sweet together and very good for each other. I don't want to give away too much but I loved it, loved the little cameos from Adrian and Noah, loved the very sweet epilogue, loved it all.

Now if I could just have a book for Josiah ASAP, that would be the icing on the frappuccino :D

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

3.5 Spooky Stars

The Visitor - Amanda Stevens

 

Astrid's review

 

 


Like most of the people who have read the first three books of this series I was waiting and anticipating the release of this one. Due to personal reasons Amanda Stevens wasn't able to release the fourth installment of the Graveyard Queen sooner so 4 years went down between the last one and the fourth book. Unfortunately this was not in favor of the story. I totally should have re-read the other ones first. However, the key points came back to me while reading.

Ms. Stevens has yet again created an atmospheric story, set in the lush South of the US, Charleston, SC. The descriptions of landscape and situations are full of the beautiful mood and gloom you can find only there. The story itself is as always focused on the mystery and on Amelia's gift. It is creepier than the last ones and it spooked me quite a bit - for all those factors it receives high marks in my book.

Unfortunately Amelia's relationship with Devlin fell flat for me. After the build up in the prior stories I expected that they'd grow together...all I found though were insecurities and distrust on both accounts, which went so far that I was starting to ask myself what they saw in each other? Why were they together? Did they even have good times during which they'd bond? I don't think there was any situation in which they weren't dead serious and actually laughing about a joke. Yes, their relationship is highly complicated but even then...there was nothing tangible that made me root for them.

Amelia with her inner monologue kept saying how they were close one moment and then distanced the next. I didn't feel the closeness...to me those were two strangers trying at something they couldn't grasp because they didn't bond and connect on an emotional level.

While I said that the focus was on the mystery I still expected some romance which was simply lacking. Finally Ms. Amanda Stevens left us hanging with somewhat of a cliffy. I hope that she can resolve it in the next book which of course I'll definitely read again!



Review @ Coffee, Cookies & Books


ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

 

 

Mr and Mr Smith

Mr and Mr Smith - HelenKay Dimon

Beebs' Review

 

New to me author, despite the huge backlist :D :D

Fisher and Zach are both spies for the CIA, Zach knows about Fisher but Fisher is unaware of Zach's involvement. When the proverbial hits the fan, Fisher is understandably hurt and betrayed because he had fallen hard for Zach and now he thinks it was all a lie. Zach was deep undercover and initially Fisher was part of the assignment but he fell for him and has been trying to protect him ever since.

They are dealing with some really nasty people and Zach needs to go back in and finish the job, Fisher is torn between wanting to keep him safe and telling him to go to hell. But when push comes to shove his feelings for Zach won't let him go back in unprotected so he follows him and pulls him out.

I enjoyed this one and I am hoping we get Hunter's story next because there is definite potential there. A few editing problems but I expect those will be fixed before release.

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Sugar Daddy

Sugar Daddy: A Sugar Bowl Novel - Sawyer Bennett

Beebs' Review

 

Sela was brutally raped when she was 16, she has blocked most of her memories of that time and is getting on with life, except she's not really living just going through the motions. Seeing a TV interview about Jonathan Townsend brings her carefully structured world crumbling down when she recognises him as her rapist.

Once the shock wears off, Sela immediately starts plotting her revenge and the first step is to infiltrate the Sugar Bowl, JT's very lucrative business that matches older men with younger women in exchange for certain benefits to be agreed between the Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby.

At her first party as a Sugar Baby, Sela meets Beck North JT's business partner and he puts a serious kink in her plans for revenge. They fall hard for each other and Sela is torn between her revenge and hurting Beck, in the end she decides to stay with Beck and forget about her revenge until an encounter with JT convinces her that she has to go through with it. she cannot let this man continue to wreak havoc on other women's lives.

So, the premise of the book was good, I could totally understand Sela's thirst for revenge, what I couldn't stand are the secrets. There was a plot point where Beck proved that he could be trusted but she still didn't tell him and needless to say when he found out she'd been keeping secrets (not what the secrets are) he was really angry. Sadly, it just didn't work for me, I couldn't connect with either character. That said, I will probably read the other books because my OCD will demand to know what happens next.


*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Manaconda: Rockstar Romantic Comedy (Hammered Book 1) - Taryn Elliott, Cari Quinn

Astrid's review

 

Hunter is lucky. Hunter has a big dick. Hunter doesn't feel lucky at the moment though because he is being chased by press, media and fans. He is the frontman of a shooting star band and alot of that shooting has to do with Hunter's pee-pee. Because, you see, he and his appendage grace the cover of the Rolling Stone. Not naked mind you. But ever since he is being reduced to...this.

Kennedy is the band's PR lady and responsible for them to make a good impression when they launch their new album and use the wave the band is riding on the Manaconda snake...err...train. She is a worker, focused and serious in her job, still, she's a little firecracker. She doesn't take her responsibility lightly so how come she finds herself immensely attracted to this rock star? And it sure as hell is not little Hunter.

A couple of days ago I lamented the insta-love/-lust of another book and how it just didn't work for me. This was insta-lust as well and for some reason it worked without even trying. It was sweet, funny, fluffy and delicious. And oh my word...those sex scenes were hot. It was an easy fast read with low angst. I had one WTF moment which happened incidentally at the same time when Hunter had a quick TSTL moment. So yeah...I can live with that! Both main characters were adorable and beyond likable.

If you need to get out of a book hangover this is the perfect story. I will definitely read the stories of the band members of Hammered...and I'm so freaking curious to know what's going on with Bats and Hunter's ex-Bitch.


ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review