Review: Deathless by Belinda Burke

Sweeter than strawberry, darker than blackberry, better than please…

Son of the wood god, son of a mortal woman, Myrddin has lived a carefree life for sixty years. Now, with his mother dead, the wilderness that has sustained him is an overflowing well of powers he can no longer control. Sent by his father to seek someone who can help him, the one Myrddin finds is a nameless stranger, whom he calls Kas.

Kas, so named, is still what his nature demands he be. He is Death, its essence and its king…its master, and its open gate. Since the first death that came into this world, he has been alone, essential and solitary – until Myrddin. For his sake, Kas aids in building the Rite of Spring, and in the process learns love…and loneliness.

Between life and death, want and need, there is just enough space for a new beginning. The question is how it continues – and whether it ends.

Publisher's Note: This book is linked to the Eight Kingdoms series.

This story was beautiful in it’s descriptive text. The author did a fabulous job of showing me this fantasy world.

From the beginning, the landscape was captivating and rich. Full of colour, sounds, and smells.

The whisper rose through the wood until it was a roar among the leaves, a howl in the throats of wolves. The Sudden baying of stags mingled with a thousand fluted melodies as the birds scattered from the trees, and the trees bowed, bent, rolled their shoulders and tossed their heads with no need for the wind.”

The text follows this flow throughout the story, and gave me a complete sensory experience. From the taste of wildberries, to the sounds of the woods, the smell of the earth, to the texture of flesh, this was a powerfully written story that captivated me from the first page until the last.

Myrddin is looking for someone to help him control his immortal power. Now that his mortal mother is gone, his powers are building and he is unable to sleep through the winter months as he has done for the last sixty years, producing too much spring energy for the world to sleep under the snow. His immortal father, god of the woods, has commanded him to journey out of his small tribe to find that link he needs to spill his excess power. His journey brings him to Kas, whom is Death, the being without words.

Kas was something special. A solitary individual due to the nature of his being, encountering Myrddin is like an awakening for him. And once he’s had a taste of companionship he can no longer go back to his lonely existence. Only he doesn’t have the words to communicate effectively with Myrddin, and has no choice but to let him go.

Together these two immortals are intoxicating. Their connection is all consuming. Kas’ possessiveness was delicious and scary. It was powerful, and addictive to read. I loved the way he spoke. Few words, because he doesn’t have them, but the words he uses are direct and sure.

Like Spring, Myrddin is full of life and energy, laughter, and flirtation. But once he’s had his fill, he is off to do other things. I found that his personality was slightly inconsistent with what I learn in the beginning. He is loyal, but that loyalty only seemed to stretch as far as his mother. That wasn’t the feeling I got from him in the beginning of the story, but by about halfway, it seemed that he was dismissive and flighty. It may have been a transition from grief, but if that was the case it didn’t translate well from one scene to the next. I enjoyed him, but I felt like I was getting mixed messages.

The world building was good, if a little incomplete. But it didn’t slow my enjoyment of the story. It gave me a feeling of being out in the wild, and the landscape translated like a complete memory for me. Picture perfect.

I’m very interested in reading the series this is linked to. I imagine a full length novel would give me that little bit more I was looking for.

Recommended for those who enjoy high fantasy, suggestions of mythology, and paranormal stories. This short was very satisfying but did take concentration. It was not light reading, but it was worth my undivided attention.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: The Omega Nanny by Penelope Peters


Single dad Thomas Whittaker loves work, his daughter, and coffee – not always in that order. Romance hasn’t been on his mind since his mate died six years ago. When his sister hires the cute busboy from Thomas’s favorite coffee shop as the new nanny, he’s just amused.

Until he finds out that the busboy is an omega.


Kieran Corvey is newly single, almost homeless – and determined to pay back every cent his parents spent on an engagement that went nowhere. Kieran needs money more than he needs a love life. Being hired to take care of a six-year-old girl is much better than shilling coffee to thirsty and lusty customers all day.

Until he finds out his new employer is an alpha.

Sometimes you find exactly what you need when you’re not looking for it at all.

The Omega Nanny is a standalone Omegaverse non-shifter story with a HEA and mpreg (male pregnancy) ending.

Welcome to the Omegaverse!

It was my first visit, and I had no idea what I was in for.

If you're like me and you've never been, here's a little breakdown to make things easier:

Omegaverse is basically all that wolfy behaviour and hierarchy that you'd expect with a shifter book, without any of the fur. But if you really want to get a grasp of what the Omegaverse is


Everyone in this universe is either an alpha, a beta, or an omega, but their roles are slightly different than they would be in a shifter universe. Here, betas are kind of relegated to the back burner, with their main role being the built-in babysitter for when the alphas and omegas can't do it themselves. They've just recently been granted the ability to marry, and the viewpoint on that is akin to gay marriage in today's society. Mainly there's a lot of betaphobia directed towards anyone unfortunate to be born beta. I'm sorry, did I say unfortunate? I meant I'd pray to every God in existence, and even make up a few in the process, just to beg to never be born beta. They seem to like the role of glorified babysitter, but me? Yeah, not so much. I don't get why one third of the population is totes okay with being relegated to only this role, but it probably has a lot to do with the fact that they can't bond like alpha/omega couples, and have a difficult time conceiving children.

Alphas have all that growly possessive, protective behaviour of shifter books.

And omegas?
Omegas were meant to put alphas at ease; it was to do with the pheromones they secreted. It was what made alphas protective and careful of them, drew them closer and closer, and then the extra kick of pheromones during an omega's heat would push the alpha into claiming them as their own. That was how biology worked.

It really doesn't matter if the omega is male or female. It's the bond that matters, and either can carry children.

And for the few of you who've just put two and two together and perked up in your seat, that means MPREG, and for the fun of it, KNOTTING.

(I know a few unicorns that just DIED reading that line.)

So, let's get down to the story.


Thomas is haunted by the ghost of his dead mate. Not quite literally, but he does have conversations with her memory throughout the day, and he feels her gentle prodding to move on and find a new mate. He's not ready to let go, but fate might have a different opinion, when Thomas's sister, Nora (that beta built-in babysitter I was talking about earlier) becomes engaged to be married and has plans of moving to Germany. Now they're scrambling to find a caregiver for his six year old daughter before Nora leaves, and none of the candidates feel right.

Until Kieran.

Kieran is the perfect fit for their family, but he's not a beta; he's an omega, and that is going to prove interesting for Thomas.

There's no denying there is an attraction building between Thoman and Kieran, but it's not one either can easily trust. Kieran doesn't know if his feelings are genuine or if they're all due to pesky biology, and Thomas initially fights it because he wasn't looking for a mate. To be honest, it did feel a little like there was more biology at work than the emotional connection forming between them, but there are these moments where things just click with them, and in the end, it doesn't really matter. It makes for a slow burn read that, regardless of how they end up in bed, ended up sexy as hell.

And speaking of ending up in bed, the story is focused on these two men getting together, so don't expect sex to come into play until near the end. I personally liked the wait, and we get a sweet little Epilogue nine months down the road as a result.

We also get a well written story with lot of great secondary characters that could easily star in a book of their own, and a very adorable little girl who has everyone wrapped around her little finger.

So, while I might not have liked the way betas were treated, the rest of this story is sweet with a little sexy, and definitely worth the read.

Recommended to those who like slow burn with a bit of sexual tension, and who want to try a different take on the shifter universe.

... Have I mentioned there's knotting?


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Review: Con Boys are Naughty by JP Barnaby

Shy author Brandon doesn’t understand why his Sir, Sean, wants to break him out of his comfort zone with a fan conference. The very idea makes his skin itch with fear. But, when they head up to the con suite and pick up a hot little Robin cosplayer, the weekend starts looking up—way up. 

This title was previously published as Between a Cock and a Hard Dom, a part of the Authors Gone Wild Anthology.

A hot little shorty!

Brandon is a ginger with body and mental health issues. He's also an author and my interpretation is that he wants to be like other authors he sees who are outgoing, all over socmed and at conventions with numerous pics of them smiling with fans and other authors, but his anxiety has prevented him from even revealing his face.


With a little encouragement... ok, prodding, from his dom they set out for Austin and Brandon's first literary convention and end up in a threesome with boy Robin! Fortuitous indeed.

The kink is of the D/s variety and not overt, just enough to leave the reader with the understanding that Brandon enjoys ceding power to Sean and likes it a little rough.

They're also polyamorous and if I'm filling in the blanks correctly usually engage in polyamory together which is how "Robin" wends up getting ginger'd.

For a short story "Con Boys are Naughty" brought the heat. The striptease was sweltering as was the threesome scene, but what I liked best was the connection between Sean and Brandon. It's clear they've been together long enough to read each other and for Sean to not only understand Brandon's anxiety/depression, but to squelch his anxieties before they become debilitating. At least in this instance.

All and all, a nice little diversion.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: The Lusty Adventures of Theseus by Arthur Griffin

The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur has never been quite this steamy!

Handsome Theseus journeys to Athens to claim his birthright as heir to the throne, and along the way he meets the roguish Pirithous, who teaches him all about matters of the heart—and body. When they reach the city, Theseus is shocked to discover that his father, the king, has a tradition of sacrificing young people to the Minotaur, the monster that inhabits the island nation of Crete.

Theseus and Pirithous, along with Iphitrion, a slave boy they befriend, set out to slay the Minotaur. After learning Crete is ruled by a mad tyrant with a fetish for orgies, Theseus puts his new skills to the test, fighting, flirting, and fornicating his way through the ranks, working his way past soldiers, satyrs, and gods alike as he attempts to accomplish his goal and save his city.

Lovers of Greek Mythology with a twist, look no further than this smutty, smut-fest of an adventure story.

I am no history buff. I don’t know how accurate anything is when it comes to historical novels, and mostly I don’t care, but I do know that this was a lot of fun, and was centred around Theseus and Pirithous and their ‘friendship’.

Theseus has turned eighteen and has been told by his mother that he is the son of King Aegeus of Athens and must go to the city to introduce himself.

On his way he meets Pirithous, who has stolen a herd of cattle from Athens, in rebellion of the King's rule. Pirithous introduces Theseus to the wonderful world of wrestling, and just happens to have the oil required for such a challenge. This challenge, if Theseus wins, will have Pirithous joining Theseus on his journey to Athens, and returning the cattle to the King.

This story started off burn the pages hot, and just kept going with the sensual smut throughout the entire journey. I am a HUGE fan of naked oil wrestling. MEGA HUGE fan! To start this story out with a solid wrestling scene, was perfect. (Btw I encourage everyone to google oil wrestling)

Modern day Kirkpinar oil wrestling in Turkey *waggles eyebrows*

I regress… back to this story.

There is a consistent plot line, so don’t mistake this for PWP. It has a very entertaining storyline, and some great characters are introduced along Theseus’ journey.

All the characters have distinct personalities, (except for the soldiers, they are mostly the same) and the central relationship between Theseus and Pirithous is well fleshed out. Everything is described well so that I got the image of who was whom, and what was what.

Back to the sex. There is a lot of it. Twosomes, Threesomes, Four-or-more-somes. And all of it was delicious. For a short story, this was packed full but for the most part, well balanced. All the favourites are in here too. Wood nymphs, Centaurs, the Minotaur, Ares, Poseidon, and a Satyr. And plenty of half-naked soldiers. It seemed that everyone was backing into someone’s cock by ‘mistake’. But what do I care, it was hot.

If you’re looking for wank fodder, look no further than this. Well written, and highly entertaining, I regret not a thing about reading this, and it is going on my permanent pile of fappalicious inspirations.

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Dreamspinner Press


Blog Tour & Giveaway: North to Zombieville (Zombieville #1) by Meg Bawden

Meg Bawden is celebrating her new release from Dreamspinner Press, "North to Zombieville" with an excerpt from her novel guessed it GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner with will an autographed paperback of this zombie-filled delight! May the odds be in your favor!

The year is 2028, and Dallas and Raleigh Jenson are torn apart when a worldwide zombie apocalypse ravages their home of Townsville, Australia. After a year of searching, Dallas, a former Australian army rifleman, finally reunites with Raleigh, but it’s not like old times. Not only do they have zombies to contend with, but also other humans, changed by desperation and willing to do anything to survive.

Dallas and Raleigh have changed too. So much so, that Dallas struggles with the idea that Raleigh no longer needs or wants his protection. But they will need to rely on each other and find strength in their love as they are forced to evade zombies and watch their friends die. As they fight for their lives in a brutal landscape where every supply and every step toward a potential cure is a battle to the death, only their trust in each other can keep them from perishing.

Author Name: Meg Bawden
Book Name: North to Zombieville
Series: Zombieville
Book: One
Release Date: May 18, 2016
Pages or Words: 67,114 words
Categories: Horror, M/M Romance, Science Fiction


A loud crash and screams from downstairs made them pull away. The diners on the top floor were glancing around worriedly, some of the men showing caution as they stood, but making no move to head downstairs and see what was happening.
Raleigh frowned toward the stairs. “What was that?”
Dallas narrowed his eyes and stood, taking Raleigh with him. The screams were filled with pure fear. It wasn’t just downstairs, though. Distant shrieks echoed through the street as well, but when Dallas glanced over the balcony railing, he couldn’t see anything odd. A crowd had formed on the sidewalk and they were peering around the street in confusion. Glass shattered, and then a rush of people scrambled out of the Strand Delight. One lady fell on top of the glass, her legs dragging over the shards, but whatever scared her was more important than the pain she obviously felt from the glass, because she kicked off her high heels and got to her feet to run again.
Car horns and crunching noises similar to pieces of metal colliding with each other filled the air. A car accident, maybe? But there was more than the sound of one accident. It put Dallas on high alert.
“Raleigh, stay here.” Dallas moved toward the stairs.
“Dallas, I’m coming with you.” Raleigh started to follow him.
“No! I said stay here, and I mean it.” It came out as an angry growl. He hadn’t meant to snap, but if something was going on downstairs, he didn’t want Raleigh in the middle of danger. He had defense training; his husband didn’t. “Please, baby, stay here,” he said, softer than before.
Raleigh hesitated and then nodded. He took a step back toward his seat. Dallas felt eyes on his back as he descended the stairs.
The sight he found nearly made him retreat. Tables were upturned, the glassware and utensils scattered over the floor. Bodies lay on top of each other, blood oozing from holes and torn skin. An older lady’s body was askew in the middle of the room, covering a young boy who couldn’t have been older than ten. His body was twitching, but his neck was in pieces, chunks of meat torn from his jugular. The people left standing were screaming or running toward the exit.
The people who had fallen didn’t look right. Their faces had deep gashes, with blood gushing from their cheeks and down their chins. With some, their mouths drooped on one side, their gums dark and bloody. Their eyes were lifeless, as though they were dead on the inside.
People on the streets ran into the restaurant, pausing as they saw the bodies on the floor start to move and shift as though they were puppets on a string, only missing their master. Upon taking in the scene, they’d run out again.
It all seemed absurd, like a B grade movie that didn’t even make it to the cinemas. Dallas frowned, taking a step up on one of the stairs, farther away from the scene. He stared at one of the women, who rose, her face scratched up badly.
“Ma’am, are you all right?”
She didn’t respond, only groaned in an animalistic way. She started to stumble toward Dallas, her left leg dragging behind her. Her foot was bent backward and she was putting all her weight on her very twisted and broken ankle.
“Ma’am, are you all right?” Dallas repeated, but she ignored him, continuing her walk toward him.
Diners from upstairs came rushing past him, shoving him roughly out of the way.
“No! Don’t go out there!” But it was too late. They weren’t listening to him—fear controlled their every movement.
This had to be a nightmare. It was the night before their anniversary and he was still in bed, he had to be.
He wasn’t watching the lady, and she managed to catch him off guard and shove him to the ground. She slammed herself on top of him, her teeth bared as she dived toward his neck. He raised his elbow, slamming it into her face. She let out a pained squeal and her head jerked back, making her neck crack loudly. But that still didn’t deter her. This time, she went for his arm.
Over the lady’s shoulder, Dallas saw a man clambering out of a door. The man paused, glancing around the room, obviously searching for something. Survivors. Dallas opened his mouth to ask for help at the same time the woman grabbed a piece of wood from a broken table and slammed it against his forehead. Dallas’s head smashed hard against the floor, and his vision flickered for a moment.
By the time he looked again, the man was gone. Dallas would have to deal with the woman on his own. Using all his strength, he shoved at her twitching body, and she went flying backward into a broken chair. She shrieked as Dallas struggled to stand. His legs felt like jelly beneath him.
He stared at her in confusion. How did she keep getting up? It was impossible. But this entire thing was impossible.
Raleigh’s voice. He had to get back to his husband. He spun on his heel, but before he could get anywhere, a hand grabbed his ankle and he fell forward.
“Dallas, where are you?” Raleigh’s voice was on the verge of desperation. “Dal!”
“Raleigh!” Dallas called back, but the sound of a car horn close by drowned it out.
As he opened his mouth to call out again, whatever had grabbed him clawed up his trousers. He twisted and stopped in shock. A man this time, but he looked worse than the lady. He was older, with a receding hairline, but his forehead was peeling and blood was cascading down the side of his head. Only part of his teeth remained in his mouth, and even those were halfway out of his gums. To top it off, he only had half a body. From the waist down, there was nothing but his insides dragging behind him.
“No, no, no. I don’t want to go!” Raleigh’s voice sounded distant among the screams from outside. “He’s alive! No. He’s alive!”
“Raleigh!” Dallas shouted again, but as before, his voice was lost in all the other noise.
Anger and anxiousness welled in his chest, and he let the emotions take over. He kicked at the man holding him, slamming his boot into his face. The man squealed as his skull shattered under the force of Dallas’s kick. His body went limp and he released Dallas.
Rising, Dallas quickly retreated back upstairs to Raleigh and made his way toward the balcony. He paused when he found it empty.
Fear curled in his belly, his skin tingling. “Raleigh?”
He was met with silence.
But still he got no answer. He spun around, surveying the dining room.
“Leigh, where are you?” He looked out toward the street. More and more people ran out of the restaurants along the Strand, and very quickly the streets filled with running, screaming people. He had no fucking idea what was happening.
Dallas ran to the railing, looking over the balcony. It was then that he realized there was a ladder leaning toward the railing. Raleigh must have climbed down it.
Dallas took two steps at a time. His feet hit the ground and he desperately scanned his surroundings. He pulled out his phone and rang Raleigh. It went straight to message bank. He angrily pressed the End Call button.
The scared crowd ignored him for the most part, though a couple shoved him hard as they ran past. Some tried to get into their cars, but with too many people in the streets, they couldn’t go far. A couple of drivers tried to nudge people with their vehicles, but it only had negative effects. Some of the people in the streets were just like the woman in the Strand Delight. Their eyes were dead, their faces and any other exposed skin bloody and scratched.
One of the men nudged with a car spun around, eyes flashing a dark red as he slammed his hands on the hood. The hood made a crunching sound, and the man screamed, spit flying from his mouth as he pounced on the crumpled hood. The woman in the car shrieked and jumped out, kicking off her heels and running down the street with the mobs. But the man obviously wasn’t going to allow that. He ran after her. He wasn’t fast, but he was fast enough to catch her. He grabbed her by the hair, jerking her backward. She screamed again, but he threw her on the ground and tore at her neck like a starving cannibal.
Dallas made to move toward them, but the woman’s scream turned into a gurgle and then nothing. It was too late. Dallas could have saved her life, but he hadn’t. He couldn’t. He needed to find Raleigh. He needed to protect his husband.
“Raleigh?” His voice cracked under the strength of his roar. Yet it was barely audible over the cries of fear filling the street.
The woman from the restaurant dragged herself out of the Strand Delight. She stretched out toward Dallas, a stupid grin on her face that caught bloody teeth flashing at him.
Dallas acted on adrenaline. He ducked beneath her arms, spinning until he was standing at her back, then grabbed her head, twisting it hard and quick until her neck snapped and she fell to the ground, lifeless.
He dropped to his knees, his stomach churning in fear and desperation as the need to vomit slammed into him. But he held it in.
“Raleigh….” he whispered, biting his lip hard. He needed to find his husband.
Something shone in his eyes from under the lamplight and he immediately zeroed in on Raleigh’s phone. He grabbed it, tapping it desperately, but it was dead. “Dammit!” he growled. “Raleigh, where are you?”

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Today we're very lucky to be interviewing Meg Bawden, author of North to Zombieville.
Meg dropped by the clubhouse to tell us a little about herself and discuss her current book including a main character interview! Take it away Meg!

Hi! Thank you so much for having me. So, my name is Meg, as you know, and I am an Australian author. I’ve always loved writing, but never thought I’d get to a point where I could submit my work to be published. When you’re growing up, being a writer seems like nothing but a dream, but it was a dream I wanted to follow. I’d been writing M/M since 2007, but never had the bravery to submit something, much less finish it to begin with. Dreamspinner Press has always been my first preference and when I finally finished North to Zombieville, I knew it was them who I wanted to submit it to. I expected a rejection, so when I received my acceptance email, I was beyond thrilled. I nearly cried.

North to Zombieville is a science fiction/horror story set in the future. 2029 to be exact. It’s based around a married couple, Dallas and Raleigh Jenson. Dallas is a former army rifleman, while Raleigh is a photographer. During the zombie outbreak, they are driven apart and Dallas makes it his mission of find his husband. When they finally do reunite, the horror of the torn apart city of Townsville, Queensland, has taken a toll on both of them. This story is about survival, love and friendship. It’s about believing in each other and relying on others to survive each and every day against strong and dangerous creatures.

It’s my first novel I completed and I’m quite proud of it. :)

Character Interview - Dallas

What’s your job like?
Before the apocalypse? I was a rifleman in the Australian Army. I loved my job. There is nothing better than serving your country. Saying that, it’s also very difficult when I was deployed. I missed my husband, a lot, and I saw friends die. Returning home to the normalcy was difficult and I was lucky to have Raleigh at home waiting for me.

Would you rather be respected or feared? Why?
Respected. Those who are feared are bullies. By being respected, I have the loyalty, along with the friendship.

What’s your favorite book?
I’m going to assume all of these questions are about before the zombies showed up. So I’m going to answer them that way. I don’t read, to be honest. I prefer the Xbox. If you ask Raleigh, he’d tell you that one thing about me that annoys him. He loves reading and he believes everyone should read. Me? I don’t have time or the inclination to read. That’s what movies are for.

If you could go anywhere, all expenses paid, where would you go?
New Zealand. I’ve been to plenty of different places, but New Zealand will always be a second home to me. I visited my mother’s family when I could, but it was never long enough. I took Raleigh to meet them a year after we started dating and he loved it there. They lived in a small town outside of Wellington.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Alright. Um. I’m Dallas Jenson. I was a rifleman in the Australian Army. Married to Raleigh Jenson. Before the world went to shit, I liked video games and going to the gym with my mate, Richo. I’m half-Maori. My mum’s side is where it came from. My dad was Australian.

I discovered I was gay when I was eleven. I had a crush on one of the guys from Home and Away. I still remember my first stiffy, it was pretty hilarious. My mum said she knew I was gay before I did though. She had a feeling. My dad was a little surprised at first, but he quickly adapted to the idea of me being interested in the same sex. My sister, Sasha, was cool with it too.

I met Raleigh at my sister’s wedding. He was the photographer’s assistant and while taking a photo, he backed into me and I spilt beer all over us. It was pretty fucking hilarious though. We had sex in the bathroom while ‘washing’ off our clothes. Sasha knew. She always knew when I fucked a guy. Although, I don’t think she expected me to get his number and ask him out on a date. I didn’t either. I didn’t do dates, but I thought Raleigh was cute. Turns out, he is as smart as hell too. So I made sure to take him off the market for other men. Ha!

I don’t know what else to say about me other than I now lead a small army of people who are trying to survive each day in a bloody zombie apocalypse. We’re doing what we can, and that’s all we can do.

Meet the author:

Meg Bawden was born and raised in North Queensland, Australia. She’s loved stories since before she can remember and has always enjoyed creating characters of her own, even if it did begin with drawing faces on toilet rolls and giving them names. Wiring has always been a passion of hers and she’s loved the M/M genre since 2004, the first book she read being Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez.

Writing M/M since 2007, Meg has never had the confidence to attempt publishing her own stories, but in 2015, she decided that it was all about to change thanks to the amazing friends she’s made in the M/M genre and their support and encouragement. So watch out world, Meg Bawden is coming out to have some fun!

Where to find the author:

Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @megbawden

Goodreads Link:

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Tour Dates & Stops: 

25-May: BFD Book Blog
            31-May: My Fiction Nook, Man2ManTastic

One lucky winner will win a signed paperback copy of ‘North to Zombieville’ by Meg Bawden! Good luck!

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Review: Rock Bay Bundle by M.J. O'Shea

Read all three stories of small town romance in this exclusive bundle of M.J. O'Shea's Rock Bay series!

In Coming Home, Tally has to pull out all the stops to prove to Lex, his gorgeous boss at the local coffee shop, he was never really the jerk he seemed to be. If he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of the town should be a piece of coffee cake. In Letting Go, can Mason learn to trust again and can Drew learn to let go of who he thinks he is? If not, a real connection is nothing but a pipe dream. In Finding Shelter, both Justin and Logan have come to town hoping to leave troubled pasts behind them. They are attracted to each other too, but Justin is wary. Will Logan’s love, faith, and stubbornness be enough for Justin to believe their love is worth fighting for?

I tell you, reading all of these stories back to back was not a good idea. They were all similar in the formula that was used to write them, and all with very similar characters. However, each of the stories are very sweet and romantic reads and if you want to read any of them I'd recommend this bundle, but perhaps avoid binge reading them in one go.

COMING HOME - 3.5 hearts

This was a cute story! 15 years ago Tally was the high school bully and his favourite victim was Lex. Lex now owns his own shop and is comfortable in the town of Rock Bay. When Tally comes back to Rock Bay broke and in need of work, Lex offers it to him. It’s obvious to Lex that Tally has changed from the bully he used to be. However while Lex’s still insanely attracted to Tally, he resists starting up a relationship to protect himself from getting hurt again.

Lex and Tally both felt a little too perfect. Both were hard-working nice people who were seen in the wrong light (or not seen at all). Even Tally, who I thought would have a pretty cool backstory because he was so mean in high school, was secretly a very nice person back then. His family's position within the town and the pressure they placed on him made him ‘act’ the bully.

These two were incredibly sweet together and I enjoyed the fluffiness of it all. The sex was hot and I liked seeing Lex get all needy when he was bottoming. The build-up to their relationship was fun to read about and the sexual tension was done really well.

The big drama at the end was good, it didn’t feel convoluted and wasn’t some misunderstanding, however it did drag on much longer than it should have. The whole time Lex and Tally were fighting, Lex knew he still loved Tally and that he would forgive him, but for some reason he didn’t tell Tally this for weeks….. Tally made it clear he was sorry and lived in near depression for weeks, for no reason! I don’t know, it just got a tad annoying and felt unnecessary.

Also there was no epilogue, everything was left feeling very unfinished. In that sense I’m glad I’m reading this in the bundle, because I’ll get to see more of these two happy together.

LETTING GO - 3 hearts

I think this could have possibly been a 4 heart read if I had read it as a standalone, but reading it straight on the back of Coming Home, definitely deducted some points.

Drew has been in Rock Bay all his life and has been friends with the bully of the town, Brock, since high school. Drew is a self-employed accountant and most of his clients are friends with Brock, therefore Drew doesn’t feel comfortable getting on Brock's bad side.Therefore he avoids coming out as gay. That is until he meets Mason. Drew feels an instant connection and just knows he's found his reason to come out. Mason just moved from Seattle to escape a controlling ex-boyfriend and is looking for some time to himself when he meets Drew.

The first 10 chapters is virtually an overlap of Coming Home just from Drew and Mason’s POV. Needless to say I found this quite tedious due to the fact that I was reading them back to back. If someone was to read this as a stand alone I think this part of the story would be relevant and interesting, but to me it just wasn’t. I skimmed most of the first part of the book and unfortunately that left me feeling less of a connection to Mason and Drew than I did to Lex and Tally.

However Mason and Drew are probably the most ridiculously sweet couple ever. Drew is a gay virgin and is so awkward and shy around Mason I just wanted to smoosh his cheeks together. These two have the most fumbling conversations when they first meet. Mason has been burned a lot by past boyfriends, so he’s hesitant to trust his first impressions of a guy, but he is so stunned by Drew’s sweet nature he finds himself floundering.

The sex was pretty hot, seeing big Drew lose his gay virginity was good fun!

When the drama at the end happened, I was rolling my eyes with how ridiculous it all was. I won’t even go into, it was just a big ol’ misunderstanding. Luckily the boys came to their senses and it actually resolved very quickly with no more unnecessary drama.

Once again, no epilogue. I don’t know why this author doesn’t write them, it just leaves me feeling so unfinished with the couple.

FINDING SHELTER - 3.5 hearts

I think this was my favourite story out of the three.

Justin is nineteen and has been verbally and physically abused by his father for the majority of his life. When an opportunity presents itself to escape, Justin takes it and runs to Rock Bay where his cousin Travis lives. There Justin gets a job at Lex and Tally’s coffee shop, and has an instant attraction to Logan. Logan moved to Rock Bay a few months prior to recover from a sudden breakup with his long-time girlfriend. When Logan sees Justin it's instant attraction and he finds them becoming fast friends as he helps Justin move on from his past.

I really liked Justin's story, it was refreshingly interesting in comparison to the previous stories. Justin's pain was heart breaking and his healing was done well over a period of months. It felt realistic seeing him tentatively trust the new people in his life, then start to relax into touches with Travis and Logan, slowly but surely.

Logan was sweet and understanding and really just a big snuggly teddy bear. He has an instant attraction to Justin despite never having thought of another man in any sort of sexual or romantic way before. It was nice not seeing any trace of concern or homophobia in Logan as he came to terms with being bisexual. I use the phrase ‘came to terms’ very lightly there, Logan saw Justin and was immediately ‘to terms’ with with being bisexual.

It took a tad too long for Justin and Logan to get together for my liking, but once they were together it was all pretty much smooth sailing. There was a smidgen of drama at the end, but it was resolved before it became anything too angsty.

(Not even going to mention the lack of epilogue *glares at book*)

Despite the seriousness of Justin's past, this was actually a very angst free book and I found it quite an easy enjoyable read.

All the stories just got a little repetitive for my liking when reading them all together, but reading them individually would work well. I would recommend this bundle for some fluffy reads and great value for money.

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Dreamspinner Press


Tag Team Review: Victory Portrait (Pride of Uttor #4) by Tali Spencer

Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.

General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose na├»ve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.

When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.

Combined and Averaged = 4.125 Hearts from the both of us

Ann/Peachy - 4.5 Hearts

There were so many things for me to love about this book. Tali Spencer does an amazing job of world building in a really organic way. I don’t feel like I need a schematic and a flashlight to figure out where I am and who is attached to, fighting or fucking whom. It just happens and I can enjoy all the nuances without taxing my brain or reversing and rereading to figure out WTF is going on. And there are a lot of great little nuances and golden sentences that I really love to read. Sentences like;
“That statement begged to be turned inside out and made to reveal its bones.”
So much impact for one little sentence. I really appreciated the flow of the language throughout and it fit the whole feel of Victory Portrait perfectly.

The first half of the book is incredibly erotic and full of deliciously exhibitionistic foreplay. There was plenty of information as to why Peta was in the social state he was in and why he was completely fine with sharing his fluids for Brazzi’s masterpiece of his hero Arrento. The whole thing was an interesting take on slave life in Uttor and how conquered royalty fit into the society. And, while I like slave fic just as much as the next Unicorn, I was glad Peta’s status played out like it did. He was, “the least enslaved slave that ever lived.” Given that these two didn’t know one another but admired greatly the bits they did, any kind of complete master/slave thing would have felt out of balance to me for the later relationship that starts to come together for them. The off balance social structure between captured royalty and the lower classes kept it all in balance in the end.

So, anyway, about the foreplay. Damn, that was fun. A sexually frustrated Arrento is a beautiful thing. A hard and horny Peta is even better. I really dug on the effect Peta had on Arrento and how flattered Arrento was by Peta’s reaction to him. I loved how Peta knew what he wanted and had no issues with going after Arrento in what could possibly be his only chance to get with his hero. He wasn’t about to let the chance get away from him and his incredibly leaky dick. Good on you Peta!
The second half of the book gave the characters the depth they needed to get me to believe there really could be something between them in the long run. Arrento didn’t easily let go of his feelings towards Peta’s family and understandably so. But, it’s a good thing he has a wise Emperor as a BFF in Gaspar. I love that guy. I was pretty enamored of all the secondary characters and they made me want to read the rest in the series. While this book is #4, it’s the first that I’ve read and I had no trouble keeping up considering all the backstory. And, like I said, this one really just made me want to devour the rest, especially Book 2, Dangerous Beauty, I need to know Endre’s story. And books 1 and 3 too. I basically need to know all the things now.

My only niggle was that I needed a little bit more balance between the erotic flavor of the first half and the more technical taste of the second half. The first half was all about the setup between Peta and Arrento, it was flirty, filthy and emotional. The second half was more focused on the whole of Uttor along with the politics and war that had been looming throughout. All of which I found very interesting and I absolutely loved the letters that Peta and Arrento exchanged. There isn’t much more romantic than evolving love letters. The HEA came along in a realistic and reasonable way considering Peta started the book as a slave. I really just wanted a detailed final consummation scene for them. And not just because I love gratuitous boning, because I do, but because I wanted to read about them coming together with their new statuses, without the labels attached to them like they were before. Peta was finally more than just a beautiful boy and Arrento was more than just a war hero.

Of all the great words, sentences and pearls of wisdom, I really loved this conversation between Gaspar and Arrento:

Hearts can overrule cocks, you know . . . except when the two join forces and then a man is lost forever. Be careful with your heart if ever it and your cock should meet and be both enraptured by a smile.

Arrento was completed enraptured by a smile from a beautiful boy in the end and I loved the journey they took to get there.

SheReadsALot - 3.75 Hearts

Art can be sexy.



In Victory Portrait, the fourth standalone in the Pride of Uttor series, painting is very sexy.

How much? Fresh semen needed to add into the paint sexy.
Lusting for what seems like ages and finally getting to pound your the object of your desire into next week...with an audience kind of sexy.

"You dream about this, don't you? About taking cock inside you, of becoming one creature, one perfect holy creature, with the man who's fucking you--"
"God help me--"
"He already has."

In this new to me series, Tali Spencer has created a fantasy based world (no magic) filled with intrigue, captives, war, lust, family drama, backstabbing, maps and hero worship that turns into something more. Prince Peta's Sebboyan royal family was captured due to his tyrant king of a father and evil eldest brother by the empire of Uttor. He and his family are Uttoran imperial captives, slaves but due to their ranking they're the least slaved as a slave could get. It's a tricky situation and the author did a great job trying to show the balance. Peta has crushed on the great Uttoran general Sar Darius Arrento for years. The beautiful youth gets his wish to meet the older man who had a hand putting him into captivity as a notorious artist's assistant. Peta has to strip naked , have his semen collected to paint a specially commissioned painting of the general. Let's just say the sexual tension was sticky...

The story isn't only hot sex (though Arrento/Peta do give lava hot screen time), there is a political/double-crossing war antics. Potential triggers: off page rape of a secondary character. I'd say the second half focuses more on war and a suspense-ish secondary plot that introduces mythology and attempted crimes in an interesting mix.

"He was a lion, and he wanted another lion. He didn't have the patience to deal with snakes."

Thankfully, the story is told in alternating POV, I got a great sense of both men without it getting too deep. That was a great aspect of this story it would broach serious topics - captivity, being an orphan, coming from a religious/homophobic background and the story didn't get ugly. There was ample explanation for the author to get their point across.The main characters from the previous books were secondary characters in Victory Portrait and gave follow up/ a prequel to the couples. A lot happens in this 80K+ story.

The story's strongest point? The setting. This world the author created seemed very real, very lived in. There were a lot of side characters and mythology and different lands in this world, at some points it read like the never-ending story, since we kept reading about yet another land embattled with the mighty Uttor empire. Sometimes a new character and their purpose would go right over my head. But I was able to grasp the main plot points and follow along with the central theme without being lost.

The main couple added the needed spice to carry this story along. Reading Arrento's struggle with wanting to bed his emperor's slave was endearing. Arrento wasn't all unicorns and rainbows though. He stormed off but thankfully didn't have a major meltdown because he listened sooner than later. There was a separation period and lasted months, maybe a year? The way the men courted each other was sweet. The sexy first half isn't recaptured in the second half. It's more about the whodunit plot with a romantic background.

"Is that cock of yours still talking? Didn't you vow to Chasca to stop listening to it?"
"After that boy in Dalmeri and barely escaping with my skin intact? My cock has gotten wiser since then."
"Cocks don't get wise," Gaspar said. "Their masters get wise enough to overrule them."

I have to talk a little about the artist Brazzi and his wild and crazy way of needing semen to create his art. He helped bring some comedic relief. And a little CBT. ;D

I was happy with the ending, wouldn't have minded a little bit more on the reunion. I did have a few questions - what happened with Imre? what will become of Adora's child? I didn't have to read the previous books but I really want to now. I was fully immersed in this world and was sad to leave it by the end.

Arrento and Peta remained true to themselves and didn't change, even if they started with a little subterfuge enemies to lovers. I liked that they explained themselves once the hidden identity was revealed. And Peta wasn't a lovesick, puppy dog following his crush for scraps. He was his own man just in every sense as Arrento did. Great couple. Totally think they'll last.

Recommended for fantasy lovers who like erotic scenes, war/political intrigue and some fun times.

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