Review: Teen Wolf Fanfic - Binomial Coefficients by DevilDoll

Binomial Coefficients by DevilDoll

In which brainy freshman Stiles Stilinski wants star quarterback Derek Hale to join the math team, AKA math nerds in love.

Recently, I willingly jumped into the abyss of AO3 fanfics about that most amazing and adorable ship, #Sterek. Yes, Stiles and Derek from Teen Wolf. I've probably read a million (or two?) words on them since the beginning of the year.

And it's been glorious. 

Yes, there have been some ups and downs, but once in a while, you run into a fic that just grabs you and makes you cry out in jubilation.

Binomial Coefficients by DevilDoll is one of them.



Yes, this review required at least one shouty-caps statement. :D

I read this story last night, and I can't count the number of times I squeed out loud.

Binomial Coefficients is a high school AU in which opposites, however unlikely, definitely attract. Stiles is a freshman math nerd who convinces Derek the senior quarterback to join the math team.

It's awkward. It's funny. It's adorable. It's GLORIOUS.

I loved this story so freaking hard. The way the writer crafted their relationship was beautiful to watch, and the Stiles POV was perfect in that you could definitely see the feelings develop, even through the filter of his skewed perspective. Because, yes, Stiles is just trying not to get beat up by Derek when he proposes Derek join the math team.

Derek, on the other hand... Well. Let's just say he might be more than interested in having some one-on-one tutoring time with Stiles.

*wink wink*

If you're feeling down, this would be a fantastic little fic to pick you right back up. It's a freshman/senior relationship, but I wasn't bothered by the age difference in this story. There's some kissing, but mostly it's about feelings.

That said, the first kiss? I seriously swooned.

You can find this 20k word fic for free at Archive of Our Own.

Go. Go get it. And then read the freaking hell out of it!

Review: Hell's Pawn by Jay Bell

John Grey is dead... and that's just the beginning. Purgatory should have been a safe haven for souls that belong neither in Heaven nor Hell, but instead John finds himself in a corrupt prison, one bereft of freedom or pleasure. Along with his decedent friend Dante, John makes a brave escape, only to fall straight down to Hell and into the arms of Rimmon, a handsome incubus. John is soon recruited as Hell's ambassador, visiting the afterlife realms of other cultures to enlist an army strong enough to stand against Heaven. As interesting as his new job is, John's mind keeps returning to Purgatory and the souls still trapped there. Somehow John must stop a war he doesn't believe in and liberate Purgatory, all while desperately trying to attract the attention of an incubus whose heart belongs to another.

This was odd, different, strange and bizarre. But all in a good way.

John has just arrived in Purgatory. He’s going through his orientation and all that good stuff when his “welcomer” put the other new arrivals under a weird trance. John was able to break out of this and explore Purgatory on his own. In doing this he meets some super fun residents of Purgatory, namely, Dante.

Purgatory is a lame ass place to be. There is nothing to do there, except play the little game they have for their residents. People- er- dead people can earn or lose points to either go up into the clouds or down in the flames. So there are these “pretend people” who walk around and have a scene where they need help and whoever does the good deed receives points on their record. Weird. Anyway, John is over the game, as is Dante. They want out, and frankly, they don’t care if they’re going up or down as long as it’s anywhere but here.

As you can guess, John and Dante end up in Hell. While in Hell they learn that strange things are happening in the afterlife. Souls from all religions and beliefs are getting stuck in Purgatory, even those who don’t believe in it. So, John’s mission, straight from an Archduke of Hell, is to gather up an army. They’re going to fight for their souls back.

Basically, the story is of John, Dante and the very seductive Incubus, Rimmon, traveling through the different realms of the afterlife. This was pretty fun.  John gathered all the different gods from all the religions around the world, past and present. Greek gods, Egyptian gods, Roman gods, terracotta armies from China...everything. It was all kinda cool. Anything can happen in the afterlife, like glass men who have spider-like arms, random fire breathing people, talking terracotta heads. It’s all just....different. But, don’t forget, in a good way.

Now, Kindle says 278 kindle pages, it didn’t feel that short. By the end I was feeeeeeeeling the length of this book, which is weird because it’s not long. So things started to drag for me a little bit.

All in all, another really good read from Jay Bell. At least he didn’t smash my heart into a million pieces and scatter them across the Earth so they’ll never go back together quite the same way. Again. But I did get a bit emo at the end, Mr. Bell knows how to tug at my heart.

Review: A Hunted Man (The Men of Halfway House #2) by Jaime Reese

After surviving ten years in prison, Cameron Pierce is attempting to put the past behind him. He tries to adjust to his newfound freedom with a place at the halfway house and a job. But one lesson he learned in prison keeps him guarded: hope is a dangerous thing.

Hunter Donovan, Assistant State Attorney, is a man of justice who loves a challenge. After a lifetime of putting his career first, a milestone brings him to a harsh realization—he's lonely.

Hunter's world changes when he meets Cam. The wary young man intrigues him and awakens a desire unlike anything he's ever experienced. When Cam's past resurfaces and threatens to rip them apart, their budding relationship is challenged and Cam's hope for a future begins to dim.

These outside forces hunting Cam will stop at nothing to send him back to prison. But they'll have to get past Hunter first.

I know the author was concerned about the length of this book, but all I have to say about that is, thank you! I loved losing myself in this full length novel and gladly will do so in the next one as well. While this was a very romantic story, it had full scale mystery and action as well. One aspect wasn’t used just to move the other along and so the balance made the book flow so well I never noticed the length until it was almost over; and then I didn’t want it to be. I would easily classify this as a mystery that happens to have gay main characters as much as I would an MM romance.

The mystery of what really happened to Cam and how he ended up with a prison record is wrapped in layers of who? and why? and wait, WHAT? As the story unfolds my heart broke for how wronged Cam was over and over and my respect for him grew. Something stunk about why Cam was railroaded when he was sent to prison, the whole time he was in and even after his release.

Through the whole book I was doing this:

  1. Spidey senses are telling me all is not right with the release, I smell deception and nefarious activities!
  2. Ok, so a little bit more of Cam’s past coming to light, but I don’t get the setup, there HAS to be more.
  3. Oh hell, LOOK, there’s more!
  4. No WAY, not him, no man would do that, would he???
  5. He did, but why? WHY?
  6. There’s a mole on the inside, it’s gotta be him, he’s got the perfect cover.
  7. Well, shit, wasn’t him.

So, yeah, I got completely sucked into the mystery, not to mention the badass ex-military hero action. That was good stuff and not over the top. Heroic AND believable and I loved it.

The secondary characters are strong in A Hunted Man and keep the story moving while adding depth to the main characters. Cam needs a support system like he’s never had before and thankfully that support starts with Sam who we met as Matt’s champion in A Better Man. Matt and Julian are back and I loved reading about them again. Especially Julian, I will always have a special place in my heart for Julian. While the Halfway House is a major setting it’s really a connection point so this story didn’t read as merely a continuation of A Better Man, but as a completely new novel with expanding storylines and possibilities.

Cam gets a job working for Lucy and Bill at the diner that Hunter frequents. I don’t think Cam could have been set up with a better job than the one at the diner or with better people that Lucy and Bill, they aren’t characters I’ll forget about any time soon. My favorite though is definitely Hunter’s dad.

I love that man.

When you meet him you can see exactly why Hunter is the caring and fiercely loyal man that he is. Collectively we read about A LOT of awful parental units in the MM genre, but you will not read a better father than Hunter’s dad, don’t even try. The conversations between Hunter and his dad are some of my favorite parts of the book and his acceptance of Cam had me choking up at the perfectness of Cam finally having a father figure in his life.

All that being said, I do love my romance, so let’s talk AAALLLLL about that.

Ahhhh, the romance in this story is off the charts hot, sweet and intense. Cam ends up getting loved pretty hard in this book and man did this guy need it. The reassurances and comfort Hunter gave him were powerful and while might have been too much for another character, for Cam they were perfect. He had a lot of time and loss to make up for and I think the impact of Hunter’s love made it possible for Cam to believe happiness was possible for him. Cam’s underlying theme, the thing he wants and fears more than anything is hope.

The quote at the beginning of the book is perfect for Cam:

“Hope. You can fear her, ignore her, resent her, but she will never abandon you when you need her most.”

Cam has missed so much when he was locked away and the author captured both his confusion and resilience so well. He spent his 20’s behind bars, incredibly formative years for a young man and he missed them all, all he could do was work on surviving and look forward to the day when he would be free. When he settles into the Halfway House and gets the job at the diner he has his first chance of normalcy in a decade. Then he sees Hunter, Hunter sees him and the really intense sexual tension starts.

And, while the sexual tension was SO good to read, I loved the charming banter between the two just as much. Cam finally was able to feel comfortable and safe with someone. Cam’s true personality evolved very naturally and I felt like I was really getting to know him as a person and not an ex-con along with Hunter. There are a lot of little moments that I loved and the connection between the two of them was perfectly done. Hunter really is a sweet romantic sap and while it’s obvious Cam eats up every word and gesture like a starving man, he can’t help but call Hunter on his sappiness bringing some needed levity to their lives and the whole messed up situation they are in. Cam really is very funny and charming, and reading his evolution throughout the book was heartwarming. While, at the same time, the mystery and potential for absolute disaster kept me on edge.

The overall package that is A Hunted Man has everything I love in a good book. No, scratch that, a really great book. This is definitely going to be a reread for me as soon as I see the date of release for the third in this series. Something with Jessie maybe? Aiden? I’ll take either (preferably both) but whatever comes next I will be right there, clearing the calendar, building a couch nest and holing up so I can read it all as soon as I get my sweaty little hands on it, just like I did for A Hunted Man.

A copy of this book was provided for an honest review

Review: Always by Kindle Alexander

Born to a prestigious political family, Avery Adams plays as hard as he works. The gorgeous, charismatic attorney is used to getting what he wants, even the frequent one-night stands that earn him his well-deserved playboy reputation. When some of the most prominent men in politics suggest he run for senate, Avery decides the time has come to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. With a strategy in place and the campaign wheels rolling, Avery is ready to jump on the legislative fast track, full steam ahead. But no amount of planning prepares him for the handsome, uptight restaurateur who might derail his political future.

Easy isn't even in the top thousand words to describe Kane Dalton's life after his father, a devout southern Baptist minister, kicks him out of the family home for questioning his sexual orientation. Despite all the rotten tomatoes life throws his way, Kane makes something of himself. Between owning a thriving upscale Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Minneapolis and managing his long-term boyfriend, his plate is full. He struggles to get past the teachings of his childhood to fully accept his sexuality and rid himself of the doubts brought on by his religious upbringing. The last thing he needs is the yummy, sophisticated, blond-haired distraction sitting at table thirty-four.

Oh, the romance. It was just so romantic.

Established couple romances get me every time. Every. damn. time. I just can't get enough of couples who really make it. Not just to the 'I love you' or to the moving in together or to the proposal. But past that and really make it. Because that's where all the hard work really comes into play.

Always spans about 40 years and throughout that time we see pieces and flashes of Avery and Kade's beautiful life together. Avery visits the restaurant that Kade owns and immediately decides that this is the man he wants. And he's gonna get him, no matter how hard Kade resisted him. Oh, how I love when a character is determined to make themselves miserable but The One just won't let them. It was all very sweet and so, so romantic.

Their relationship was pretty angst free, as in they didn't have many major roadblocks in the way of their HEA.  It was all about their journey through life with everyday struggles just like any relationship would face. They made some good choices and some poor choices, but the whole time Avery and Kade were in this thing together and put the other first. They weren't perfect but the way they handled each other was just about perfect.

There was so much that totally worked for me: established couple, large time span, romance, no unnecessary drama or misunderstandings, and it made me cry (<- yes, this is a win for me).

There were also a couple things that totally did not work for me and I'll keep those short and sweet:

1. The dialogue was borderline cheesefest a few times. I don't like it when characters force me to roll my eyes and Kade and Avery could be way too mushy gushy lovey dovey gumdrops for me to resist. I just had to roll my eyes.
2. They were very loving and sweet (win!) but there was a lot of telling, telling, telling of what they were doing for each other. I never wholeheartedly felt that they were each others always until almost the end.

What I loved outweighed the little things that bothered me and I loved it.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Roped In by Marie Sexton and L.A. Witt

Today BMBR shines the spotlight on the latest release from Marie Sexton and L.A. Witt. Check out their book Roped In and enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below!

Graham and his roping partner Jackson have ruled the rodeo scene for ten years running, but lately, Graham’s heart isn’t in the game. He’s tired of the bruises, the cowboy mentality, and the animal rights activists who picket every event. And then there’s Jackson.

Graham and Jackson have been friends since they were boys. But ever since their drunken sexual encounter the year before, things have been awkward. Graham’s accepted that he might be gay, but no matter how attracted he is to other men, he always panics and runs when the clothes start to come off.

Then Graham has a run-in with one of the rodeo protesters, and everything changes. Kaz is young, idealistic, and sexy as hell. And Kaz has an idea for getting Graham past his nerves and into bed.

All they need is a bit of rope.

Publisher:                   Ambur Allure
Purchase Links:      Publisher's Site

About the Authors:
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado.  She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other.  In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband.  Her imaginary friends often tag along.  Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity.  She loves them anyway.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

There is a giveaway that will be available throughout all blog tour stops.  The prize is a $20 Amazon Giftcard and 1 ebook from EACH of the authors’ backlists (2 books total). Enter with the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy reading!