Review: Tarnished Glitter (Gin & Jazz #3) by Morticia Knight

Jack and Roman’s love grows seemingly stronger as Jack’s star rises, and he is determined to build a life with the sexually overwhelming screen idol. But hiding from the truth doesn’t make it any less real.

 Jack has given himself completely to screen god Roman Pasquale – body and heart. Jack forces himself to let go of the promise of what could have been with Nick, and focus on the enchanted moments with his film star lover instead, despite Roman’s jealous and controlling behaviour.

Roman’s paranoia and fear about losing the much younger Jack threatens to destroy the only real happiness Roman has ever had. Jack is a wonder and a gift to him, yet he can’t seem to just accept their charmed life together – he is determined to make Jack into the perfect partner. He believes that constant sexual attention, lavish gifts, and declarations of love will ensure that Jack never has a reason to leave him.

The pressures of being on the silver screen and being the lover of a demanding movie idol is difficult for the sensitive young man to handle, and Roman’s increasingly erratic behaviour only adds to his stress. Unwanted attention from other men and a startling revelation from movie star Trixie Fox add to Jack’s confusion. All he’s ever wanted was true love, so how can he give up on Roman and the star’s promises of forever?

Yes! Finally! Jack has grown a pair and, as my beloved Juan said, he is fighting back! It's about damn time.

Jack has put up with a lot of crap. A lot of crap from Trixie, Roman, Nick... anyone he's ever truly loved has taken his affection and shoved it back in his face in their own selfish way.

He was starting to find happiness with Roman. They've found a pattern of life that fits them and their needs... even if Jack is scared of saying the wrong thing every minute of the day. I see Roman's appeal, he can be very sweet and thoughtful and giving. That is, when Jack is behaving like the good boy be should be. *eyeroll* I went from being somewhat indifferent towards Roman in Razzle Dazzle to detesting him pretty quickly in this book. His true colors started to show more and more. His obsession with Jack only grew to where he was controlling everything Jack did. Blah.

I was really leaning towards 3 stars for a majority of Tarnished Glitter. There was a lot of Roman being a dick, Jack getting all sad and adorable, then Roman doing something to make it up to him and then sex. It was the same routine over and over again. It felt repetitive and tiresome, so I totally knew how Jack felt when he was done, because I was done.

But then, THEN! Shit got real and the story was back. I was always on Jack's side, but I love him even more after this book. He deserves to have a happy, quiet life, away from that horribly jaded town. I was so happy with how this book ended, but that didn't stop my heart from breaking. Not in the slightest. Jack's sadness was so real that it punched me right the heart, even if it was the right choice, I was falling apart right along with him.

I really can't wait to start reading the end of his story. I really have no idea how it will end for him, I have my hopes, but as long as he's treated right, I'll be satisfied.

And my new favorite character is Juan. He needs to fall in love. Just sayin'.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Razzle Dazzle (Gin & Jazz #2) by Morticia Knight

Book Two in the Gin & Jazz series.

Jack is on the verge of silent film stardom, but Hollywood glory won’t heal his broken heart. But the seductive screen idol—Roman Pasquale—sweeps Jack away, and makes him his own. Will Roman’s obsessive love finally bring Jack true happiness?

Jack is devastated by the loss of Nick, his best friend and lover. His only other friend, new Hollywood star Trixie Fox, comes to his rescue. What he doesn’t know, is that she’s also helping Roman Pasquale in his carefully planned seduction of the shy and innocent Jack.

Suave film screen idol—Roman Pasquale—has been obsessed by Jack Stone from the moment he spotted him at a Global Studios party. He will stop at nothing until the golden-haired young man belongs to him. An expert at getting what he wants, Roman plans every wicked word, look and move to bring him closer to achieving his prize.

Jack is on the brink of stardom, and can’t believe that his movie star crush, Roman Pasquale, is taking an interest in him. But he resists the older, more sophisticated man’s attempts at seducing him. After all, he still loves Nick, and just isn’t ready to try again with anyone else. But when Roman turns on the charm, Jack is tempted. Can Roman replace Nick in Jack’s heart? Or is the magical world of the great Roman Pasquale all an illusion?

Not again! Ms. Knight is trying to kill me by cliffhanger. 

Jack is alone. Stupid Nick, effing... *grumbles* He's lonely and heartbroken and lost in this ruthless city that is ready to eat him alive. But he has his trusty sidekick, Trixie, to help him through the tough times. *grumbles some more*

Roman is a Hollywood elite and has his eyes on Jack. He's fallen in love with Jack almost instantly and pulls out all the stops in order to get that sweet, innocent boy to himself.  But Jack is hesitant, he's still hurting and love with Nick. He's not someone to just jump into bed with whatever guy comes along so Roman really does have his work cut out for him.

I kind of feel the same way about Roman as I did about Nick. I could take him or leave him. He obviously really loves Jack and genuinely wants Jack to be happy and in his life, but I don't really like the way he shows his affection. He's possessive and obsessive almost to the point of being scary. He takes care of Jack, but that's not what Jack needs or wants.

Jack just wants to be loved, really loved and trusted. He hasn't found that in either Roman or Nick. So, at this point I don't care if he ends up with either of them, as long as the one he is with gives my Jacky Boy the kind of love and life that he deserves.

Trixie. Ugh. Don't even get even get me started on that chick. With her 'ideas' and plotting and planning, all in the name of fame. She says she really cares for Jack, and I think she might, but she cares about her drugs, sex and fame a whole hell of a lot more.

Basically, I love Jack. But he needs to grow a pair and get away from these people who treat him poorly. They all want him in their life because he's loving and caring and giving, but what is he really getting in return? Not much worth having. I'm hoping he grows up a bit in the last two books.

This was just as good as the first in the series. It's gritty and real and none of the characters are perfect, far from it actually. They're wonderfully flawed and believable. I'm wholeheartedly on Jack's side and can't wait for him to get his HEA, whether it's with Nick, Roman or someone completely different, I don't care, as long as they're worthy of all Jack has to give.

I'm moving straight to #3, I need to know what's next for dear Jacky Boy.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Review: Drifting (Finding Our way # 3) by Jayson James

What happens when the person you love is having doubts?

These two boyfriends have been through a lot. Best friends since childhood, fell in love in high school and thought they would be together forever. They stuck together even when their friends and family found out about their relationship. Struggling with challenge after challenge, they have finally made it to college and are living on their own. Living together is a whole new world and being open with their relationship is even more so.

Spending every day together as a couple they begin to learn about their differences. Things that never bothered them are now annoying traits driving a wedge between them. Can their relationship survive their differences? Can it handle new friends and new romances? Will they find their way together or will they drift apart?

So this book had been giving me headaches every time I thought about reviewing it, so much so I had to take a few days just to think about it before I started writing. There were things I liked about it but there were also things I disliked, I think I'm going to talk about what I did like first, as this is my comfort zone.

Straight off I have to say - I love the title and really liked the front cover. These may seem like little things but they are the first thing you see when browsing for books so it is a major plus. One of my favourite books I by-passed several times and nearly didn't buy at all because I didn't like the front cover or title.

Next, the premise of this book is fabulous. It's actually part of a series which I didn't realise until the end of the book, it most definitely works as a stand alone. It kind of turns the college boy experience on it's head as the two MC's were already in a steady, loving relationship so, instead of the college boy finding and experiencing love for the first time, we see it from the point of view of how a committed relationship becomes harder after the initial 'honeymoon' period is over. I really, really liked this, it was different and showed another side of the relationship
Derrick and Justin do love each other but they realise that this isn't necessarily enough. They try to make it work but it just won't go right. Little annoyances become cavernous differences and the couple split up. Yep I've seen this in books before, usually at the beginning then we see the rest of the book from one character's POV as they move on to their next love. Drifting isn't like that. For a start it is written from both Justin and Derrick's viewpoint, this gives us the opportunity to understand both characters and how they are feeling. As well as this though the book tells us about them drifting apart, their differences and arguments, it also tells us about them drifting together. We see the moments they share - memories, friends, understanding. This I really appreciated. This is real life, love is hard and sometimes it isn't enough. But sometimes it is. Do Derrick and Justin manage to resolve their issues? I'll let you find that out for yourselves.

So what didn't I like? There were four things really, firstly the two minor things. Contractions in modern speech are really important, no matter how it sounds in the author's head I'll stick my neck out and say that it never translates that way for the reader. The fact that a lot of speech wasn't contracted was really irritating, it wasn't a deal breaker but as an easy thing to fix it was annoying to read. The other minor point was that as well as Derrick and Justin's POV we also had Ryan and Ian's. Now frankly I didn't really care about these characters, maybe this is because I haven't read the other books in the series but really in the context I read it I only wanted the story of the main characters (Derrick and Justin) and would happily have only known about Ryan and Ian in so far as their interactions with the other two. So again only a minor irritant but it was an irritant - maybe it's just my opinion though.

The third thing that bugged me was that the characters all sounded the same, I kept losing track of which person's story I was hearing, despite each chapter being labeled with the character's name. (Also if you have a main character called Derrick, don't also have a Derek and an Eric.) There just was not enough differentiation in the characters despite being told about personality and physical differences.....

....and this segues nicely into my main bugbear. The one irritant that I found it hard to overlook, the one that meant I put the book down several times and took a break before resuming reading, I felt I was being told the story and frankly I wanted to be shown it. Show don't tell is writing 101 and I find when I'm constantly being told what is happening I don't feel involved in the story, I don't feel for the characters and the amount I care is seriously diminished. And this is a shame when the story really appeals to me. Because I was told what happened at times the characters seemed whiny and my empathy for them dwindled greatly - you get the idea??

Jayson  James has a great premise for a story with characters that could be great, unfortunately the execution wasn't all it could be, that's not to say I won't be checking out future works of his.

An arc was provided by the author for an honest review

Review: Sorcerer's Knot by Tali Spencer

In a world where pleasure unlocks even the best-guarded magic, Cian has a long list of magical talents—and an even longer list of sorcerers he slept with to acquire them. He even seduced a dragon. There’s just one arcane power left for him to master: command over the sea. Now Cian has learned where to find Muir the Scarred, the only man known to have mastered that power—and he is determined to wrest it from him by whatever means necessary.

But completing the task isn’t so easy. First, Cian’s boat is wrecked on the shores of Muir’s desolate island. Then he learns an enchantment will keep him there forever. And when he tries to seduce Muir, he finds himself being seduced by the mysterious sorcerer instead. But the source of the power Cian seeks is also trapped on the island, and it will stop at nothing to break free, even if that means forcing pleasure—and magic—from Cian's unwilling body.

Another hit from Tali Spencer!  Parts of it read like an elegant fairytale, with rich imagery describing the people, the land, and the sea.  The world building was well done, with imaginative details like the sorcerer's knot and the dragon's gift. *still grinning over that gift*

The best part for me, though, was how I'd be all caught up in the intensity of the story and then something ridiculous would happen to break the tension.  It felt like I was reading this incredible novel that turned into a crazy porno, and then went back to the dramatic storyline.  I don't know how, but it worked!  And it was so entertaining.  I also loved the unexpected flashes of humor which often caused startled, but delighted, laughter.

I admit, Cian was not my favorite person in the beginning.  He was arrogant, calculating, and self-serving, not at all likeable. Eventually he redeemed himself, but that growth didn't happen overnight. Even as he recognized similar parallels to someone else's experience, and acknowledged the lessons she learned, he rejected those lessons for himself. He continued to resist giving up on his goal.  He couldn't resist Muir, though.  Poor, tormented Muir.   He built walls to protect himself, but he couldn't bury hope. I liked watching the two of them interact, especially during the steamy times.  Muir was certainly....forceful ;)

It all came to a head soon enough, though.  A head with tentacles. And not the good kind, either. *shudders*

There were a few niggles for me, including the ending, which I thought happened too soon (I wanted to see them complete their next task.)  I also thought everything wrapped up a bit too neatly.  After such a dramatic climax, it was a tiny bit of a letdown.  Overall, though, I was very happy with this adventure. I'm also becoming addicted to Ms. Spencer's style of writing.  Intense action/adventure mixed with zany humor for a touch of comic relief, and tempered with a tenderness that  caught my heart.

I liked it. A lot.  =)

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Review: Just Between Us by J.J. Scotts

Some secrets are meant to stay hidden.

Ryan wants to be more than Sam’s childhood friend; he’s wanted more for a long time. Afraid of pushing Sam away, Ryan kept his fantasies hidden. As a charming clean-cut high school English teacher, Ryan has been able to date attractive women from time to time to keep up the charade.

Sam, a popular prize-winning romance author, is everything Ryan could want. His devilishly handsome face and well-built tall figure has his many fans drooling over him and not just his books. Despite the attention, Sam prefers to stay under the radar.

One night, Sam asks Ryan’s opinion on writing a gay romance novel instead of his usual heterosexual romances. Why is he asking Ryan?

Is Sam trying to get Ryan to fess up? Will Ryan’s secret end their relationship for good or change it into something new?
Well hello Ryan and Sam.

This was a short and steamy friends- to-lovers story from a new author that I really liked. This is a story about friends from way back who have maintained their friendship into adulthood. Ryan is a teacher and Sam is a successful author. Ryan has been in love with Sam since their younger days, but has never confessed his feelings. He thinks Sam is straight and would never do anything to jeopardize their friendship even if it does leave him lonely and a little frustrated. This is mostly told from Ryan’s POV so I could feel his trepidation in the back of the limo when the guys are heading home after dinner together and Sam tells Ryan about the characters in his new romance novel. Sam is breaking his pattern and the love interests in his next book are both male, Ryan is surprised, but not for the reason Sam thinks.

What starts as an experimental kiss leads to panting confessions and some seriously steamy scenes. From the back of the limo to Sam’s bedroom, the two connect and make up for over a decade of unrequited lust. I’m a little leery about calling it love just yet. I could definitely feel Ryan’s love for Sam given the story is told from his perspective, I just didn’t get enough of Sam to feel confident in his love for Ryan. There were a couple of glimpses of his feelings, just not quite enough to take it to Ryan’s level and I wanted that for Ryan.

This was a really pretty well flushed out short story from a previously unpublished author and I would definitely read more of her work. There were a few editing issues, but I’ve seen a lot more from authors with dozens of books to their name, so it wasn’t anything that really took me out of the story. There were a few descriptions during the sex scenes that were a little gratuitous and I wanted to just reword a sentence or two to make them a little less cliché and more personal for Ryan and Sam.

Overall I would recommend this steamy short after a heavy angst filled read when you just need a break and need to clear the cobwebs. It’ll take you to a sexy happy place with likable characters I wanted to know more about.

A copy of this story was provided by the author for an honest review.

Review: Under Contract by Helen Saito

In a world where sex slavery has been legalized, sometimes being a part of the system makes things very complicated. Gavin's been a trainer at a slave brokerage company called Cascade for a very long time--ever since he earned his way out of his own slave contract. Now he's met someone he'd actually like to own: a new slave named Alex. Gavin's lover, Sam, is understanding and supportive--and very interested in bringing Alex home--but Gavin isn't sure it's such a good idea. He'd better think fast, though, because he's not the only one interested in Alex.

Whips, belts, beatings, dildos, boot-licking, DP... *dreamy sigh*

It was glorious.

Alex enters himself into the slave training program at Cascade, not because he needs the money (which is why people would usually make this decision.) No, no, no, but because he wants it, craves it, needs to be completely mastered by another human being.  And, oh wow, does he need it. Alex was made to be a slave. There wasn't much of anything, actually I don't think there was anything that he wasn't willing to do to please his master.

After weeks of training Alex, Gavin decides he wants to keep the sweet boy. He and his lover, Sam, set out to try and buy Alex.

This is when things get sticky between them. *snicker* I said sticky.

Big, bad trainer gets overprotective and decides to put on the kid gloves. Tsk, tsk. Bad idea, Gavin.

While Gavin struggles to give Alex what he needs, Alex is struggling with a trainer who refuses to see how much he really needs from being a slave. But once they got past that little conflict it was, just... *grunts* so amazingly intense. Their scenes were intense. Alex had such a crazy, high threshold and want for pain that Gavin and other men where able to deliver blow after blow, with whatever toy they wanted. It's not only the pain he wants, but he wants to be on his hands and knees, serving his master, cleaning his boots with his mouth, doing anything in order to be pleasing.  Sam and Gavin love every worshiping second of it.

And so their dance continues...

The only reason this is getting four hearts and not 3.5 or even 3 is because of the heavy duty BDSM scenes. I have never read such an intense use of toys before *lick lips* I loved it. Otherwise... meh. I didn't feel the chemistry between Alex, Gavin and Sam. I definitely felt it between Sam and Gavin, I loved the scenes between them and their consuming need for each other. I just didn't get much from Alex other than his need to serve, not necessarily his need for Sam and Gavin. I think he could have been bought by any number of masters and had been satisfied. Their story was mostly focused on the training and not on their time together. And then once they were able to really be together... the end. I would have liked the opportunity to get to know them as a threesome, the ending felt rushed and left me wanting.

5 hearts for the master/slave, BDSM, crazy hotness, toys, beatings and boot-licking *grunts again* just... in the words of one of my lovely unicorns... unf. But 3 stars for the relationship feels, or lack thereof. It was good, I liked it, but I want more. I needs a sequel.

Review: Dying Wish by Lor Rose

It was an inevitable thing, death.

For some it was closer than others. Some never knew it was coming. If it were up to Logan he'd choose to not know. Unfortunately for him he did know.

Death was close and it was coming for him and he accepted his fate.

He was set to die. Logan even embraced it, finally happy to leave this painful world behind. That is until he met Gyre.

Gyre gave him a sense of life once again. He wanted to stay with Gyre as long as possible but as far as Logan was concerned, his time left wasn't enough.

Or was it?

This review will contain spoilers.

So I enjoyed this book. Mostly, I wanted to figure out what this book was all about and what the hell was going on. I definitely didn't see the last half of the book coming, that's for sure.
I think the reason I rated this book 3.5/5 is because of the unique plot of the story. There were parts I liked and parts I didn't, but I thought I had to give it a pretty good mark for trying and almost hitting all the marks.

Logan is depressed, has no family, has stomach cancer and just lost pretty much the only person and he loved a year prior to this story taking place.
It's sad, almost too sad. Maybe too much angst? When you load that much angst and depression into a short story like this, it's hard to have a HEA that feels resolved because of the story length. I did like Logan, I felt really sad for his loss. His partner died a year prior and his heartache is actually conveyed quite well. Maybe a little more 'telling' than 'showing' happening in this story, but that's okay with me.

So this story is a kind of paranormal romance between Logan and Gyre. Gyre is this weirdo stalker who follows poor Logan around in the jungle, basically. Then when Logan is sick he takes care of him and shows him his village. Alright, this is weird, but if there's one thing I pride myself on, it's hard I absolutely do weird. So basically... Gyre turns Logan into a wildcat thing and heals his tummy cancer. It's pretty cute but also very weird. Weird good. The whole 'wildcat' part of the story kind of comes out of no where.. maybe I wish there would've been SOME kind of supernatural reference earlier in the story? I don't know. Just thinking out load.
Anyway, their romance was fairly believable. I get the raw chemistry thing and the weirdness of Gyre and his allure.

Few things bothered me in this story but nothing that a few good edits couldn't fix!

EXCEPT... this one thing. If I got this wrong, which I don't think I have, my bad and please ignore this. So Logan's boyfriend, Daniel, died and I quote: "It was a day past the one year anniversary of Daniel's death." 
Okay so he's been dead 366 days. Got it. Then Logan references his dog that he loved that also died and I quote, "Lilly died two years ago of liver failure. She was the last thing keep him going; now he had nothing..."
So... If Daniel died a year ago, basically, and his dog died two years ago... why was Lilly the only thing keeping him going? Because wouldn't Daniel have been the one keeping him going for the year since the dog's death..? Because Daniel's death was sudden so it's not like they expected it for a long time and the dog was holding Logan together.
I think what Lor Rose was trying to say was that the dog lived longer and was with Logan through Daniel's death but then the dog died... I think that's the message? But it's unclear.
I think this is a timeline problem that should definitely be fixed.

Few other small things that bugged me but I feel the need to mention because 3.5/5 is still a good review from me, believe you me.
"...from severe Separation Anxiety from his own home." I don't think separation anxiety needed to be capitalized.

'"He said nothing, only waited for Logan to take his hand. "We are here."
Logan exhaled and only barely managed to retain his ever unholy thank-you-fucking-Jesus. He eyed Gyre's out-stretched hand with a quirked eyebrow."
 The sentence states that he (Gyre) says nothing but then in the next sentence he says, "We are here." That should be changed me thinks.

And then there was the mention of Wal-Mart twice, one spelled 'Walmart' and one 'WalMart'. I'm not trying to be an asshole about a hyphen but it should at least be consistent in boths ways of capitalization! :)

I hope this review didn't sound too bitchy because it wasn't meant to be. I honestly think with a good, thorough edit or two this story would be real great and definitely do it's unique plot a little more justice. Again, 3.5/5 for me is actually a good review but there are some things I just can't overlook!

I would recommend this book to someone else. In fact, if the author ever does decide to go through the story again with a thorough edit, I'd probably even reread it.