Review: The Violet and the Tom by Eve Ocotillo

In what might have been the middle ages, had neither Alexander the Great nor Jesus the prophet died young, the Greek State is a powerful economic force in southern Europe, and slavery is a profitable and well-entrenched social institution. Nygell, a Lord of the Northern Isles, is given the gift of a Grecian slave by the King. Nygell wants no such responsibility.

A homoerotic romance. Set in an alternate universe with institutionalized slavery, thus consent is by nature dubious at best. Elements of BDSM.

What a fantastic twist on the typical slave and master story! I can't believe I hadn't read this sooner.

Can. Not. Believe it.

I went in not knowing much about it other than it's set in an alternate universe where citizens were able to own slaves. And, for me, I didn't need to know much more than that.  That being said, I hadn't read any spoilers and didn't know what I was getting into and it was wonderful! Don't do it. Read spoilers, that is.

Sylvan was purchased by the king as a gift for his son. *high five* Way to go, Dad! Not much can beat a gift like that, eh? Apparently there are a multitude of gifts better than a slave in Nygell's opinion. He wants nothing to do with a slave. But now he owns the poor boy. What's he to do?

The story is told from Sylvan's POV and he's been in slavery for years. It's all he's known. He's been through trainings and masters, all he wants is some attention and affection from his master for being such a good boy. And he is such a good boy. *pets*

I said in the beginning that the story isn't typical and in many (important) ways it's not. But, of course, there are some elements seen in every AU master/slave book that are in The Violet and the Tom. There's a master and his sweet slave who just wants to please. Ugh. My favoritest of all my favoritest things. In books, at least.

But there's more, so much more to Sylvan and Nygell.

Stuff between them obviously wasn't working out because of the whole Nygell-doesn't-want-a-slave deal. Really put a damper on things. So, they had to find a solution. And, oh boy, they did. They so did. The way they supported each other and were devoted enough to stick it out together was just... everything. Not only that, but they were able to form a real relationship outside of the slavery. Something solid, real and lasting. Because they were able to do this first it really helped them deal with their constant struggles to make it work.

This is where I've got to keep it short. Sylvan and Nygell are amazing together and going through their struggles right along with them made their journey all the more powerful to read. I can't recommend this free read enough.

Stuff Tour: Author Interview and Give-Away.

Today the lovely Josephine Myles came to visit in a whirlwind stop on her Stuff tour. Over a nice cup of tea (milk and two for me, if you're interested) and some hobnobs we chatted about her newest release and what inspires her writing.

BMBR - Perry is an artist, how much did you draw on your own experiences to create him and his designs? 
JM - I was always a painter rather than a sculptor, so in that sense I didn't really draw from my own experience at all. Perry’s artwork was more inspired by the steampunk aesthetic, and by an old workmate of mine who made a clockwork stuffed fish before the term “steampunk” had even been invented :)

BMBR - Mas is possibly my favourite character of yours, that 'gobby drama queen' has found a permanent place in my heart, where did inspiration for such a fun character to write come from? 
JM - He wasn't based closely on anyone I know, but I've always had a fondness for very flamboyant gay men. I think it’s a case of admiring their courage to be themselves in a world hostile to that kind of self-expression. I love the fact that in m/m we can feature the kind of heroes who would never be welcome in the alpha-dominated world of het romance.

BMBR -  do you have a character that has been a favourite to write? 
JM - Mas was great fun as his dialogue just wrote itself. In fact, I had a hard time shutting him up! However, I do generally find books written in first person to be the easiest to write. I think Merry Gentlemen was my favourite writing experience as far as narrative voice goes. Riley was also a bit of a motormouth, so again, the book seemed to write itself.

BMBR - this is your first gfy/ofy storyline (I think) how did you find writing it - and did you purposely avoid gfy tropes or did the storyline just evolve naturally?
 JM - I enjoyed writing it so much, my next novel is a gfy one too! (How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps, out in September). I think I have steered clear of them in the past because done poorly, I actually find them quite insulting. I'm bisexual, and there often seems to be an eradication of this possibility in gfy story-lines. One minute they’re completely straight, the next completely gay. It doesn't compute.

BMBR - planner or pantser?
JM - Definitely a pantser, although I am trying to get more disciplined with story structure as I know it’s an area I need to work on.

BMBR - what is the best thing about writing? The worst thing? 
JM - The best thing (aside from receiving fan mail) is having a job that enables me to work from home and take a day off whenever I need to, as it means I can always be there for my daughter when she needs me. The worst thing is the level of self-discipline required to produce novels to a deadline. It often results in me sitting inside banging away at the keyboard when it’s a beautiful sunny day outside. However, deadlines are a necessary evil if I'm going to have the motivation to get the work done.

BMBR - Lewis's naked parents...were they based on anyone you actually know?
JM - Ha, no. Not precisely. Although as a teenager I did have a couple of friends whose parents would wander around the house in very skimpy clothing, which always amused me as my own parents were so modest. I just wanted to create the kind of parents who would be the most embarrassing for poor old straightlaced Lewis!

BMBR - kind of a follow up, have you ever based a character on a real life person? Do you steal traits/situations from RL to put into your stories? 
JM - I don’t think I've ever completely stolen a real life person’s character, but I certainly “borrow” traits and situations, as well as details of appearance all the time. That’s just what writers do. Friends of writers, beware! We will find ways of writing bits of you into our stories. Just don’t for one minute imagine we've written you exactly as we see you. It doesn't work like that.

JM - Thanks for inviting me over to chat, Lori. It’s always fun to waffle on about my favourite subject!
BMBR -Not a problem, it was definitely our pleasure.

Jo is giving away a title from her backlist to one lucky commenter. Comment here by Friday 6th June, 12pm pacific time, to be in with a chance of winning. Please include a means of contacting you (e.g., email, Twitter handle, GR link, etc.) in order for us to alert the prize winner. Thanks!

Stuff is out now from Samhain Publishing, and is book two in The Bristol Collection (which started with Junk). Available from, Amazon, Samhain and Barnes & Noble

When Mr. Glad Rags meets Mr. Riches, the result is flaming fun. Tobias “Mas” Maslin doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends of clubbing, a rich boyfriend for love and support. Too bad his latest sugar daddy candidate turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret. When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, his worlds starts unraveling…until he stumbles across a vintage clothing shop. Now to convince the reclusive, eccentric owner he’s in dire need of a salesman. Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. Truth be told, he’d rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. When Mas comes flaming into his life talking nineteen to the dozen, he finds himself offering him a job and a place to live. He should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together. Warning: Contains an eccentric, bumbling Englishman, a gobby drama queen, fantastic retro clothing, scary fairies, exes springing out of the woodwork, and a well-aimed glass of bubbly. Written in brilliantly British English.

Author bio: English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. She blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it. Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the book creation process to someone else.
Website and Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Newsletter.

Thanks for stopping by the clubhouse Josephine, it's been fun! Josephine's next book - How to Train Your Dom In Five Easy Steps is out in September. Here's a sneaky peek at the cover.

Group Review: Love in the Land of Blood and Bones (The Triple Towers #2) by James Cox

They are no longer heroes...

The survivors of the Great End were on the brink of death. Three towers were built with the last of the government’s money and power. The wealthiest survivors were given residents within the Triple Towers. A wall of steel was constructed to surround them.

Lorn is now exiled to over that wall and his lover Kallen courageously follows. Kallen knows the dangers and violence that awaits them. He managed to survive a terrifying childhood in the wastrel camps. It’s not just the sand that threatens their love: old enemies, former lovers and the traitor from the triple towers returns.

Can they find love in the land of blood and bones? (Warnings:m/m sex, sex toys, bondage, menage sex (MMM)

Oh James Cox, how do we love thee, let us count the ways. . . .
  • We love thee for your epic sentences, long, short and in between
  • For your dedication to the invention of magical sexual devices that this world can only dream of
  • Because you eschew the need for pants while honing your craft
  • Our only regret is that we don’t live across from you and have high powered binoculars

While that last line is totally disturbing, the rest is completely true. Breann, Lorix and I got together in the clubhouse to read and review the latest installment of The Triple Towers Series, Love in the Land of Blood and Bones. I daresay we have another winner on our hands for the love of cock! (that actually makes sense, trust me) .
Read on . . .

Words from Mama B:

3.5 Hearts

The second book picks up right where the first one left off and we're thrown right back into Kallen and Lorn's adventure.

James Cox does a great job creating a dystopian, futuristic world. He did this without the descriptions being too wordy or confusing, it all blended perfectly with the dialogue and plot.

The sex. *sigh* I wish I could say I loved it, but I didn't. It felt like it was forced in the story. In book 1, the erotic sex worked for me. Now in book 2, when I'm even more invested in the characters and plot-happenings, I felt like it got in the way of a great sci-fi story. Of course, they were well-written and hot, but for me it bogged down all the other good stuff that's going on in this trilogy.

Because of Kallen and Lorn's banishment they had to rely on each other for everything. Their relationship really moved forward and I could feel all their feels. I can't wait to see where they go from here in book 3! Not to mention that we're left with yet another mini-cliffy!
*stalks James Cox for book 3*

And I'm totally gonna say this all the time: "For the love of cock!"

Lorix, from o'er the pond:

4 Hearts

I'd really like my review just to be chocolate flavoured come, but I'm not sure I can justify 4 hearts for that. *listens to the cries of 'you surely can' from chocoholics the world over*  Okay, so I probably could but I feel I should mention more. The best things about these books, while there is no doubt that they are hot as all hell in the s-eeee-x-y times department (it says something when the author has to write nekkid), they also have a great little fantasy story to them as well.

Before I found M/M, fantasy was the mainstay of my literary diet, so I really appreciate this. ^^^ Reading B's review - I liked the nooky that was happening BUT I can see her point. I think James Cox could write a full length fantasy/sci-fi novel worthy of the greats, a fantasy novel with some hot-sex as a sideline, rather than a hot-sex novel with fantasy as a sideline. That is in no way dissing this book, or any hot 'n' sexy books, because I LOVED it. It's just a roundabout way of saying, JC does fantasy really well!!

So - what do I want more of?

All of it really. Come on JC - pants off, get writing. ;)

Me (Ann/Peachy):

4.5 Hearts

GodDAMMMIT I love this series. Love in the Land of Blood and Bones is the second in the Triple Towers series and continues the story of Kallen and Lorn. The story picks up where Heart of a Hero leaves off, which I’m not going to talk about specifically because if you haven’t read that one yet (well, get crackin’ for crying out loud!), that would be a big ol’ spoiler. But let’s just say, shit got real and everything the guys know has changed, for Lorn especially. And while everything has changed, the boys remain the same and I loved them just as hard this time around.

One of my favorite things about this couple is their banter. Kallen is witty, sassy and even with all the pain he’s been through he manages to keep his humor and his confidence intact. Lorn is a true military hero with a protective streak a mile wide and a soft heart for Kallen. The whole conversation about dick poetry made me laugh out loud. I could really feel their connection and love through all their interactions.

There are enemies all around and with no one to trust the anxiety level gets ratcheted up pretty well. We do get some more back story about Kallen’s “family” in Rohan and Raymond. We find out what really happened to Raymond and that Kallen still has an ally in Rohan. There was a western rough justice feel to the adventures and I loved that. It was dirty (literally & figuratively), gritty (ditto) and exciting. Questions from book one were answered and a new journey is embarked on that will lead to book 3 (which I can. not. wait for thankyouverymuch).

As per James Cox’s M.O., the sex in this one is smokin’ hot. Being that Kallen and Lorn are an established couple now, there is an added sweetness to it that I liked a lot. There should be some sort of award from mythical sex toys that James Cox invents in this series as well. In Heart of a Hero we were introduced to flavor shots for tasty cum and in Love in the Land of Blood and Bones we get to read about Kallen, Lorn and the Tranquility Wand. Lorn is nothing if not prepared in savings his pennies to buy a Wand built for two. He’s a hopeful romantic and that was $ well spent and paid off in spades. As Kallen says, “That is the best invention in the fucking world.”

Also per James Cox’s M.O., there were quote-worthy lines aplenty and there were a few I couldn’t decide if I wanted to attempt to work them into daily conversation or stitch them on a pillow. Offerings like:

“Tame the beast, love.”

“For the love of cock!” – My personal favorite, can’t you just picture it on a pillow?

“You’re alive, and your dick is still intact. I’d say that’s a good day.”

“If you’d stop staring at my dick a minute, you’d see more pants.”

You see, Kallen really loves Lorn’s dick.

So, now anxiously awaiting story 3 as I don’t think I’ll ever get enough Kallen and Lorn, they are way too entertaining and appealing and the stories are a great escape into something fun and exciting.

a copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review 

Author of the Month Interview - S.J. Frost.

From To The Other Side by SJ Frost we found this quote;
"He'd seen countless beautiful and magnificent horses, but the unicorn stallion had to be the most breathtaking creature he'd ever seen."
Now, we know how amazing unicorn stallions are and we couldn't ignore an author after our own hearts, so.....

May's Author of the Month is the wonderful SJ Frost. We read and chatted about A Little Bit Country in our monthly chats (always the best fun to be had on the internet) and have been reading our way through her back-list. To round things up we grilled her mercilessly about her writing habits invited her into the clubhouse for a chat. Here's what she had to say;

BMBR: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, does the music genre change with each story? Each scene?
SJ: No, I don’t listen to music when I write. In real life, I’m a mom and I also work a full-time day job, so I don’t have a lot of time to write in general. When I do, it’s usually at night after my son is in bed. At that point in the night, I just want to unwind and have things quiet. Of course, writing into the night also leads to me writing while half-awake sometimes, so maybe I should listen to music to keep me more awake! As I’m driving to and from work, though, I listen to music and sometimes certain songs or artists do help me think of a particular story or characters. With one of my WIPs right now, whenever I listen to Imagine Dragons, the characters get chatty. It’s nice when that happens, because I know I can play that music and wake up the characters to be ready to work with later.

BMBR: Are any of the characters in A Little Bit Country based on real life performers? If so, who?
SJ: I’ve got to give credit to Adam Levine and Blake Shelton for inspiring me to write the expanded version of A Little Bit Country. When I wrote the shorter version, there were a lot of calls from people who wanted to see more of Ash and Jackson. Even I knew they had more to their story. Other projects made me keep putting it on the backburner…until I started watching The Voice. Adam and Blake’s bantering woke up Ash and Jackson and it got to the point where everything else got put on the back-burner to finish out their story.

BMBR: Are you a fan of country music/what is your favourite type music?
SJ:I enjoy listening to country from time to time, but my favorite music is rock and classical. I grew up listening to both country and rock from my parents. Classical, I developed my love for on my own. Queen is my all-time favorite band and I have Freddie Mercury on a pedestal above all other musicians. I listen to whatever suits my mood at a given moment, really.

BMBR: Your Instincts series are about vampires and your Terra series is about witches, unicorns and dragons - yet you also write a lot of contemporary, music based stories. Do you have a particular genre you prefer to write in? Is one easier than the other?
SJ: I enjoy fantasy, music, vampire-themed books and movies, horses, history…and so I write stories with those themes. And I write stories that make me happy as I’m writing them. Writing is my escape and I don’t want to escape to somewhere I’ll be stressed, upset, or depressed. If my books get published and other people enjoy them, then that’s a wonderful and amazing bonus to me and I always want people to walk away from one of my books feeling as good about their reading experience as I felt during the writing experience. I also write about issues I care about.
The whole reason I write gay romance is to help put gay relationships in a loving and positive light. That’s always at the heart of my work. Probably another reason why I write sweet romances. In the real world, there’s still so much discrimination, the fight for equality is far from over. I want my stories to be happy, encouraging, uplifting and to show that all love is beautiful and special. Beneath that overall focus, I occasionally touch on other issues that are important to me, such as environmentalism and like now, the WIP I’m writing features a horse rescuer.
Writing contemporary and paranormal are probably easiest for me. Fantasy is more challenging because of the extensive world building involved. The historical I wrote, Of Honor and Love, was also challenging because of the hefty researching I did for it. But I enjoy researching and world building, so while challenging, writing those stories has been very rewarding. I love flexing my little writing muscles in different ways. 

BMBR: What books do you like to read? 
SJ:I read a lot of fantasy, historical fiction, and paranormal books…the kinds of books that really let me escape.

BMBR: Who are your writing influences? 
SJ: There have been many! Mercedes Lackey, Anne Rice, Tad Williams, Laura Joh Rowland, J.K. Rowling, Walter Farley… Not to mention I’m a huge fan of classic literature too; Chaucer, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare. Those are just a few whose work I love and admire.

BMBR: If A Little Bit Country was made into a film/TV show, who could you see in the roles? 
SJ:I know Adam Levine does some acting, so he could still be Ash. Maybe it could be Blake Shelton’s screen debut ;-) It’s so hard for me to put Ash and Jackson’s personalities on anyone else at this point after how those two got me going on writing the expanded version of the story.

So, that's what the lovely SJ Frost had to say about her writing. Thank you so much for being our author of the month.  Of course we couldn't invite her into the clubhouse without finding her unicorn name, so here she is, Nightshade Jolly Legs.

Review: Liam Davis and the Raven by Anyta Sunday

Liam Davis is a serious journalist, and he’s good at it.

Or at least, he was. Until the chief of Scribe, the campus magazine, makes him give up his politics column to write for the party page—the party page that is problematic for two reasons: One, it threatens Liam’s chance of getting the traineeship with his apathetic father at his prestigious newspaper company, and two, he has no idea what it means to party, let alone how to capture this new audience’s attention!

But Liam Davis is no quitter. He’s determined to prove to his father, the chief, and above all himself that he can do it—and do it well.

Life doesn’t make it easy. Not when Freddy Krueger comes stalking out of the shadows to attack him. Luckily the Raven, the campus vigilante—the vigilante getting hate mail sent to Scribe’s opinions page—comes to his rescue.

Now, between finding the perfect angle for his party page columns and making friends (and perhaps something more?), Liam needs to find this mysterious Raven—not only to thank him, but to warn him to watch his back.

Five big twinkling stars. (Or stripy hearts as it is, here on the blog).

This is a total fan-girl review and has already been posted on Goodreads. It is fair to say I am on a complete Anyta Sunday kick at the moment, I love this author's writing style, I adore her characterisations (as you will see from my over-the-top adoration of them below) and she is definitely an auto-buy author for me now.

The absolutely best thing about this book - and there were lots of great things - was Liam. I absolutely adored him. He was quirky, without falling into a stereotypical clueless nerd role. He spoke his mind, was blunt but thoughtful. He was both intentionally and unintentionally funny and I want to kidnap him and bring him to England. Except I couldn't split him and his lover up. Nope, nu-huh - because they were the best couple.

I hope this doesn't get labelled a gay-for-you story - because it so wasn't. It was about Liam discovering his sexuality (along with a mystery storyline) and the way Anyta Sunday did this was brilliant. It didn't feel like trope after trope to me. It was real and genuine and I love how she writes these story-lines without it becoming a crisis.

The rest of the cast were nearly as wonderful. I love Anyta Sunday's character portrayals - they are proper characters not carbon copies I've read a million times before. Quinn, Hunter, Shannon, Mitch...I loved them all. Good characters can make or break a book in my opinion and Anyta Sunday never fails to write people I am drawn too. Quirky, lovable and unique - just like real life people! Imagine. :)

The story was fun, I enjoyed the mystery, I enjoyed the romance. This author writes the kind of book I find really difficult to put down. REALLY DIFFICULT. If you're looking for an enjoyable read with fabulous characters try this. :)

Review: Stuff by Josephine Myles

When Mr. Glad Rags meets Mr. Riches, the result is flaming fun.

Tobias “Mas” Maslin doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends of clubbing, a rich boyfriend for love and support. Too bad his latest sugar daddy candidate turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.

When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, his worlds starts unraveling…until he stumbles across a vintage clothing shop. Now to convince the reclusive, eccentric owner he’s in dire need of a salesman.

Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. Truth be told, he’d rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. When Mas comes flaming into his life talking nineteen to the dozen, he finds himself offering him a job and a place to live.

He should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together.

Warning: Contains an eccentric, bumbling Englishman, a gobby drama queen, fantastic retro clothing, scary fairies, exes springing out of the woodwork, and a well-aimed glass of bubbly. Written in brilliantly British English.

When Josephine Myles put out a call for people to review her new book Stuff, I did something I've never done before - I pulled the Brit card. That is to say I pounced on the chance and used being a fellow Brit as an excuse to keep the opportunity to review it from the other Unicorns. It wasn't easy, there are A LOT of Josephine Myles fans in the stable. Did I feel guilty? Not in the slightest - heck, I'll send 'em some porn or something to keep them quiet. But the result was, I got the chance to read and review Stuff. Oh yeah, oh yeah - and it was worth every bit of greedy manipulation on my part.

Stuff is the second book in The Bristol Collection. It is a follow up to Junk and, though both books can be read independently,  it was nice meeting Jasper and Lewis again. However, you didn't have to know them to get this story. I was a huge fan of Junk, but....come closer, shhh....don't tell anyone - I think I liked Stuff even more. Why? Well mainly because of Mas, who we also met in Junk.

Mas is the MC along with Perry. Mas is - in the authors words - a gobby drama queen. But he's a gobby drama queen with a heart of pure gold and I defy anyone not to fall in love with him. You know what though, if you do, hands off I saw him first. Mas is funny, kind, dramatic and loving. He's my kind of MC. Perry also is lovable. Bumbling and eccentric and goofy in his own way. He has heart - he just needs Mas to set his soul free. Free from the burden of his heritage and family. Free to be the Perry he really is inside.

The gay/out-for-you storyline is lovely. It didn't feel like a tired old rehash, but sweet and genuine. There was a whole cast of great characters and it was written in Brilliantly British English. If you liked Junk, you'll love this. I want more Mas, I know we've had his story but I'm not quite ready to let him go yet.

I'm so glad I grabbed this one and just hope the rest of the unicorns start talking to me soon.

A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Antidote by Jack L. Pyke

Video footage of Jack Harrison sleeping with Cutter, a man who has mutilated teenagers, should have stayed dead and buried with the man who had filmed it. Yet when footage to Jack’s past starts appearing on Internet porn sites, Jack’s whole world is again turned on its head. At first the porn links are done to unsettle, to disrupt Jack’s fire and ice world: all the sexed-up adrenaline of being caught between the pleasure to Gray Raoul's BDSM kink, and the gentleness of Jan Richards’ vanilla touch. But when the content of the porn sites force even Gray to turn his back on Jack, leaving Jack isolated and away from the full protection of the Master’s Circle, Jack is left at the mercy of a group of men who are out to alter Jack’s whole perception on his BDSM lifestyle. As brutally as possible, Jack’s sex life is now live webcam feed for a whole new audience.

Words cannot describe what I've just read. I just read words, technically, yes, but… to put into words what this book has done to me is next to impossible.
There will be spoilers in this review.

I think about this book and I want to cry, or puke, or cry and puke at the same time. I can't unread this. Okay. Let's be honest here. I like to draw pictures of unicorns, and pet cakes, and everything I like fairly fluffy. This book is practically like sitting a nun down in a room and making her watch some snuff films.

This book, friends, is not for the faint of heart. People warned me. Fuck, Jack L. Pyke warned me, and I was all, "Yeah, bitchin', totally tubular, sounds radical." Little did I know this book may possibly require me some therapy sessions in my future.

Basically, this book is fucked up.

Jack is a fantastic character. God, writing this kind of makes me want to cry like a little baby. I grew really attached to Jack in Don't… He's such a little shit, you can't help but love him. But the things that have happened to him are written and explained so vividly, I feel so drained for him. I feel like I was there, in Jan's place, watching him. I don't know how he can ever recover from this. It's not like he wasn't fucked up in the first place, then throw in this long, drawn-out abduction in Antidote, and you've got yourself a real shit-storm.

I actually learned to love Gray in this book and surprisingly enough, Jan too. It's hard to say. In all menage books I read, I usually lean towards a character or two. Pyke has done such a superb thing for the genre, creating an actual relationship between three men that feels so attached. I can't pick one without the other. I love Jack and Gray together, but I feel like Gray needs someone softer sometimes, someone to balance out Jack's irrational nature. So now my coupling is with Gray and Jan, who, god, broke my heart at the love admission. But I can't leave Jack out. He needs to be somewhere, he means too much to me. So, all in all, I love these three men together.

“Somewhere along the line you fell in love with him, didn’t you?” he said quietly, barely glancing at Gray. Then back at me, he shouted, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Martin. Martin confused the fuck outta me in classic Pyke fashion. Love it. I loved Martin being in the story. Oh, he's so sassy and such a little shit. My heart raced reading about him the first time with Gray. I'd secretly love to see a scene with Gray and Martin. I understand why Gray won't, but that doesn't mean a girl can't dream.

The beginning of the book was fantastic. Cute, fun, sweet, watching all of these boys having a gay old time, goofing around and living their fun lives of bickering.
The middle. Well, I had to pause on this book at least four times. It was so hard for me. I get it though. I read the warnings, I looked at the genres, I should've known what I was getting myself into. But not like this. The descriptive nature of Pyke's writing is kind of like a jackhammer (haw haw); it's completely relentless and it draws you in, even if the subject matter is horrifying. And trust me, it's horrifying.

In the end, I didn't think Gray would be the one to opt out, but a huge part of me is glad he did. He was becoming too much like Jack's dad (not Jack's actual dad, but as place-filler), and less like his lover.

This book.. is… so much. It's so much of everything to the point where I was wondering if it was too much. But the thing is, I get it. I get why there was that much intensity and brutality and pain. The story needed it, it's just hard for me to read.
There were parts of the story which literally left me pausing, almost gasping for breath because I forgot to breathe. I wanted to cry or kick something, or mostly just run away. Run away from a book? Sounds ridiculous, right? But try reading this and tell me it doesn't make sense.

Pyke has tortured my beloved boys so much in this book. Her writing is wonderful. I adore it. I admittedly am not even the hugest BDSM fan on the planet, but when Pyke writes it, it feels like it's right up my alley. She's so clever and tricky, making little babies like me read and love books like this one. Her writing is fantastic and if nothing else in this book, her intensity she brings to each of her characters should be noted.

I suppose if I had to think of something, the book felt a little long. Some of the talking, I feel, could've been cut and we could've lost a few pages in the process. But other than the fierce desire to now somehow Men In Black Flashy Pen Thingy the middle part of the book from my brain, I'm very glad I read it and will absolutely be looking for the third instalment when it comes out.

Group Review: Tall, Dark and Wriggly Anthology by Various Authors

What is it about tentacles that capture the imagination like nothing else? From The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife to the eldritch horrors of Lovecraft, what horrifies us often arouses us, too. Whether it's the taboo, the inherent wrongness, or something that can't be defined, tentacles capture the imagination, and these stories wrap their slippery appendages around our minds and won't let go. 

Julian has the salt of the sea in his blood, but his father spurns him as weak and the others in the fishing village whisper that he is cursed. He's willing to do anything to prove himself and to make his life on the water, including "A Bargain" with a strange man of the sea... a man who has tentacles instead of legs and untold wealth to tempt him. 

Niall is a Netrunner also known as the Timberwolf, fierce and cunning in his information raids. But when he's captured in the real world by tech giant Erik, also known as The Wheelman, Niall is "Chained to the Wheel" in real space and used for Erik's pleasure in the Net. And when Erik comes to test him, it will be with the awe-inspiring lower body of an octopus and a mingling of pain and pleasure that Niall no longer wants to escape. 

Aaron might be innocent to the ways of the larger universe, but when he escapes his luddite world to make his way on a space station, that innocence becomes a slight asset. His arranged employer, Ilyan, is charmed by his wide-eyed purity and his acceptance of others, no matter how strange. And as their bond grows, Aaron begins to find his "Home Among the Stars". 

Jonah is a human researcher on an alien world, making his way with the help of his lover, Othosh, but when the two fail to check in for a "Deadline" or two, they may have to answer to the Earth Corps forces who look at the two mated males and see only a tentacled monster and his kidnapped human hostage.

I don't read many anthologies, the shorter stories usually not enough to satisfy me, but when Justin brought this intriguing book to my attention, I couldn't resist, and I invited like-minded unicorns to join me in a group review of this tentacle extravaganza. Read on to see if this anthology is for you!

A Bargain by D.K. Jernigan
Average 4 stars

Sunny: 3.5 Hearts: A simple tale, with wonderfully sexy tentacle love. Kith was awesome and I loved how we were shown his reactions to Julian.
Historical Fantasy, Paranormal

Ann: 4 HeartsA really good story set in the true vein of an old fashioned fairy tale. Dark, but not hopeless and with a tragic MC that broke my heart and made me feel every wrong that was thrown at him. The bargain Julian strikes with the sea-man (yeah, I snickered a little like a 12 year old at that), is supposed to ingratiate him with his father once again. It starts out promising for Julian, but his old man is one cold hearted bastard and the bargain with the sea-man, Kith, turns into something completely different than what Julian had planned. As with any good fairy tale, it gets much worse before it gets better and just when I thought Julian was a goner, the sea-man and his tentacles show up. Even though there was fairy tale insta-love/lust the connection between Julian and Kith was pretty hot and I liked it muchly.

Breann: 3.5 Hearts I really liked the premise of this story with Julian, *sob* poor Julian, and his effort to please his father. What I liked the most (besides the tentacles) was the sea-man and his vulnerability towards Julian. Julian may have been striking deals for his own good but it was obvious that Kith really just wanted Julian all to himself.

It was a sweet story with the added bonus of tentacles.

SheReadsALot: 5 Hearts:  This. This is what I am looking for in tentaclesex books. It's quite a tale with a historical/fantasy feel. Julian is the unwanted second son of a grieving fisherman family. His older brother Paul was the perfect specimen of manliness...unfortunately Paul died at sea. His father thinks Julian is useless and bars him from fishing with his crew due to being weak, skinny and not manly enough. The sea is in Julian's bones. He wants nothing more to prove his worth to his hateful father and get on his father's ship. One night feeling morose for himself, Julian spies a sea creature, a leviathan named Kith. Kith bargains with Julian, a kiss for a gold ring. Julian sees the ring as his ticket back into his unpleasable father's good graces. Once they kiss, Julian finally acknowledges the secret part of himself that desires men. He and Kith develop a friendship with the promise of more through bartering sexual favors for baubles. However, Julian's plans backfire. Kith and Julian's relationship development was quick, their sex was extremely hot and I dug the ending. Strong start to the anthology. Plan on checking out other work from this author.
*Award: Favorite Couple of the Anthology*

Chained to the Wheel by Angelia Sparrow
Average 2.19 Hearts

Sunny: 2 HeartsThere was a lot of world building going on, maybe too much for such a short story. Much of the story takes place in a virtual environment which had some interesting aspects, but I didn't like the real world at all.

The MCs weren't likeable, either. Especially Ezekial, who was creepy and cruel. *shudders* It was difficult to grasp Niall's character at first, as the things he did online did not match his real life personality. As his personality became more clear, I found it difficult to connect with him, which is odd, because I've liked similar characters in other stories.

Despite all that, there was one scene that was so freakishly, creepily pervy, that I gave this story an extra star. I wasn't sure if I hated it or loved it, but I was definitely fascinated, and uncomfortable. 
Overall, though, I think this was just too dark for me.
Dystopia, dub-con, slave

Ann: 2 HeartsThis one started out . . . strangely. There was a lot of information on the world this was set in, but not a lot of explanation. So it felt like the first part was information overload, too much for a short story, so that I felt there was no way ALL of this was going to end up being relevant and for me, it wasn’t. I really should have felt worse for Niall than I did, but there wasn’t enough about the characters to get me invested into their futures.

Breann: 1 Heart: To be perfectly honest... I was completely clueless as to what the actual fuck was going on. There was way too much world building, I couldn't even tell you which character was who. That is all.

SheReadsALot: 3.75 Hearts: A story told from the bad guy's perspective! In a futuristic setting, Erik "The Wheelman" Ezekiel is a paralyzed, wheelchair bound cyber-evil geniu, a lord in cyberspace, feared in both real life and on the Net. He runs EIT, a cyber net company that rules with an iron first. His most devoted followers are called Immortals, voluntary quadruple amputees on life support tubes that live on the Net (cyberspace) and follow the Wheelman's every command and wish. A cyber-thief named Timberwolf has broken into EIT's codes and Erik wants Timberwolf found, his real identity revealed and brought to him in real life. What a cyber-evil genius wants, a cyber-evil genius gets. Timberwolf is revealed to be Niall O'Neill, a young gay submissive with puppy dog blue eyes that needs to be serve to a Master. Erik is cruel, of course and forces Niall to serve him as his personal slave, become an Immortal or die. Niall chooses to serve him.

Are you wondering when the tentacles come into play? On the Net, where Erik can change his body at his whim and he comes up with some inventive tentacles. Hands down best use of tentacles as cock and ball torture. A tentacle sound inserted in a...well you catch the drift. However, the story was confusing at first which lowered my rating. But I can muddle through the weird and confusing a lot and find something that works. In this case, the Master/slave relationship worked for me. Erik is not someone that could be romanticized. He's evil, takes good care of his pet and devises some kinky ways to play. I got what the author tried to portray. Overall enjoyable with the exclusion of the rough start.
*Award: Kinkiest use of a penis sound and cock ring!*

A Home Among the Stars by Gryvon
Average 3.75 Hearts

Sunny: 4 Hearts: Awesome world building. I would love to read more stories in this universe. Great characters and nice tentacle action, too. The ending was a bit too rushed, though. I needed answers! Like how did that even happen?! I definitely needed more. Minor editing issues, but I didn't even care.
Science fiction, aliens

Ann: 3.5 HeartsNow this one had some good world building. There was enough information so I knew exactly why Aaron had to leave his home planet and I felt all his hopes and fears he felt as he was rocketed off to a new life. Even though Ilyan, his employer doesn’t have a lot of page time, I still liked his character and how he was with Aaron. The whole sci fi setting of the story was really interesting and I would love to read a full length story based on this short. Ilyan may not have been the typical lead I read about and I had a bit of a Jabba the Hut picture in my head about him, Aaron loved him and that was good enough for me. The ending was too rushed, a LOT happened in the last bit of the story. I would have liked a bit more of a fleshed out ending because I liked the character and the world and wanted more of it.

Breann: 3.5 HeartsWhen Aaron went off-planet to work for a man(?) named Ilyan, he didn't really know what he was getting into. Heh heh. Luckily, he couldn't resist those alien tentacles and the way they held him. There was some good scenes between the two but I especially enjoyed the ending. I wish it were just a tad longer and I think I could have really believed in their HEA.

SheReadsALot: 4 Hearts: Not my first time in the Gryvon tentacle rodeo and this one is definitely the stronger of the two. But there's a recurring issue I'll bring up later. Aaron, is a young human alien from the puritanical planet called Opus Dei. Aaron ran away from his home planet because he was gay and did not want to be found and/or killed. He escapes with help to a different planet with a job lined up with Ilyan Osserman, an ancient hedonistic alien with a serpentine-like scaled upper body and huge tentacles on the lower body. Aaron is so happy to escape the oppression on Opus Dei that working for his surly boss doesn't faze him in the least. With help from the sneaky alien Tiberius and funny humanoid alien bartender Liana, Aaron gets to learn about a wilder side of life. Aaron is a virgin after all and innocent in a lot of things. His naievete, the characters (it's the best use of multiple characters, IMO) and of course the sex were the strong points of the story. And it's also mpreg. But no clear explanation is given about the mpreg which is disappointing.

This is the second Gryvon tentacle story where the ending is rushed, great ideas are introduced but the follow through comes up lacking. I wished the same detail given into the beginning and world building would have been given for the crux of the story. It was a rushed, fading in and out jumble. I'd think detail into the birthing process and the entire pregnancy would have been great. And even with my complaints...I'm still rating high because everything else was that good. The lone sex scene is my favorite sex scene of the entire anthology. Hint: Three tentacles, creative stretching and penetration. *shudders*
*Award: Favorite Tentacle Penetration*

Deadline by Peter Hansen 
Average 4.19 Hearts

Sunny: 4 Hearts: It's hard to choose, but this might be my favorite story in the collection. Othosh was a fantastic character and Jonah made a great narrator. I loved them as a couple; their relationship was sweet, tender and very steamy. I also loved all the little details that showed us how hot they were together. And bonus points for the humor that made me grin. *remembers Othosh learning what porn was*
Science Fiction, Aliens

Ann: 4.5 HeartsWith a line like, “Porn is the artistic representation of recreational sex”, is it any wonder that this was my favorite story in the anthology? Deadline could have been five times as long and I still would have wanted more. The banter between Othosh and Jonah was witty, smart and sexy. As much as Jonah taught Othosh about humans, Othosh taught Jonah just as much with his insight and observations. I loved the two of them together and the loyalty they had for one another. There was just the right amount of information about the world they lived in and the mission they were on to read easily without being overburdened by too much detail. This would make a great full length story and reading more about Othosh and Jonah would be something I would look forward to.

Breann: 4.5 HeartsHands down... err... tentacles down, my favorite in this anthology. This was the most loving of the stories since the characters were an established couple. Not only did I like the relationship better but the sex was better. They had experience with the tentacles and they knew how to use 'em! And the dirty talk was a definite plus.

SheReadsALot: 3.75 Hearts: This is the only story that features an established couple (not my go-to-type of read), a mated team of human and alien. Dr. Jonah Cheng and his alien husband Othosh are on Oshoth's home planet. Jonah has been stationed in Othosh's home planet for years and fell for a native. Jonah was the only one stationed on the exploratory team. He was charged with cataloging Othosh's people, culture and anything other information he could find on the planet. The couple have great dialogue, snarky and sexy. Othosh's innocence about the human culture and his disdain for working all the time was adorable. I love the alien's stance on porn too. The couple gets discovered and a human team mistakes an incident that happens between the married pair. Luckily it's quickly resolved. They have sex. The end. There wasn't any backstory on how the two first met or married. There was a brief mention of the alien's nervousness in their earlier months. I must say the tentacle anatomy was the strongest. The author has them all over the body, not just the bottom half. It's a cute, romantic, funny finish for a strong tentacle anthology. No duds among the lot, some hiccups and minor gripes but overall a recommended read for tentacle enthusiasts especially
*Award: Best Tentacled Body (most inventive with alien tentacle anatomy)*

I think fans of tentaclesex will not be disappointed.This is more than an anthology of one offs. It has a little bit of everything - sweet to kinky, fantasy to futuristic, virgins being plucked to couples reaffirming their love. know tentaclesex.

Happy Reading!!

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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