Review: Omega Replaced by Tanya Chris, Omega Reimagined 5

 

omegareplaced
Not credited

 

I would rate this 3.75 stars.

This is book five in the series, but I’ve not read the previous four and had no issues reading it as a standalone. This one focuses on Donovan, an alpha from Southern Pack who comes to Northern Pack territory as a bounty hunter for a runaway omega named Carmen. When he arrives, Judge Tarek refuses to give him an extradition order. His stay, while trying to convince Carmen to voluntarily return to her family, shows him how restrictive the wolf caste system is. As he acknowledges his forbidden desire for another alpha, he has an affair with Tarek that is rapidly becoming something else. Can he confront the difference between what he’s been taught his whole life, and the reality he is faced with?

Since this is about Donovan’s character development, the POV stays with him. The politics snuck up on me, although I don’t know why; the correlation with patriarchy and gender roles is obvious. In this world, omegas are treated differently in each region as is the legality of same sex and mixed caste unions. Central and Western Pack are mentioned, but don’t play a role. Here’s where some more in depth world-building would have made this really shine for me. Maybe that’s unfair because perhaps it was already done in previous books, but with this writing style, I doubt the previous books were markedly more detailed. Ditto the secondary characters in this book who have had their own books: they are all likeable and move the story forward, but not much is learned about them here. So reading the previous books might have given me a greater emotional attachment to them. However, it’s cleverly written because you can read them all in order for the overarching political story, or you can just read the ones you want if that couple strikes your fancy without missing much.

The sex scenes are steamy and well written. While this world has heats and knotting, there was no mpreg. The development of Tarek and Donovan’s relationship is fast–a matter of days. While cute, I would have liked more connection outside of the sex. In the end, did me wanting more detail about everything affect my enjoyment of this book? Nope. This is a new to me author and I really loved the writing style. As a fun, easy to read, steamy, paranormal erotic romance, this is a great choice when you want to be entertained for a few hours and have some food for thought (it’s okay to be who you are), without a lot of angst. I will read this author again.

Buy from Amazon

Tanya Chris Website

**The ebooks are exclusive to Amazon but you can buy books 1-3 bundled together as a paperback at Barnes And Noble here, so check back later after book six comes out to see if books 4-6 are published as volume 2. Ditto for Book Depository here.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Unfettered by Kate Hawthorne

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Heath is a 39 year old Sub who has suffered past trauma with his Dom. When he meets 24 year old Beau on a dating app, they have more in common than he could have imagined. With their first date, the dynamics slot into place nicely. Having Heath’s point of view creates a nerve-wracking tension, while having Beau’s point of view cements his confidence and maturity. The author creates a nice push and pull. This gets intense on the second date with Heath telling Beau about his ex. Beau handles Health’s abuse well throughout the relationship. Once Heath finds out Beau is a student, and in a class he is subbing for, things get complicated. On the one hand it’s taboo sexy, on the other hand it’s wrong of Beau to put Heath in this position as his Dom. I think that is why the author makes it Heath’s decision to out them to a colleague Michael. But then it’s just dropped with no mention of the ethics of Heath grading Beau’s work at the end of the semester.

One focus is on Beau’s five half brothers and that family dynamic, yet I can’t figure out if this is only to try and give Beau more depth, or if they are added so the author can make this a series and give them their own books. Of all the brothers, Cameron keeps pushing for a relationship with Beau and I’m not really sure why. Heath’s sister and her wife are also included, but considering he speaks to her daily, she is still not not given a lot of life. Michael is given the least to do even though he unintentionally plays a pivotal part. There is a plot twist with a big reveal, but that too seems glossed over: there is more emotional resonance coming from the postscript by the author, than the story she fictionalized about it. For me, I enjoyed Beau’s top drop and his crisis of faith in himself, yet his real emotions weren’t explored. At this point I successfully felt Heath’s frustration with Beau not trusting his own judgment. The reader is not really privy to how Heath worked out how to trust his judgment after what happened with Mac.

This is an erotic romance that basically goes from one hot, graphic, explicit and messy sex scene to another. They do build a relationship, but the dialogue gets stuck on awkward talk of family or Health’s job. I enjoyed the sex and there were moments I really liked the characters: it’s just that after being privy to so much of their intimacy, I still don’t feel like I know them very well from their own points of view. For instance, what does Beau want to do after he graduates? I have no idea. Their collaring and planning their lives together is romantic, it just would have been even more so if I would have been more emotionally invested. Think of this as high on kinky sex, and low on plot and character development with suprisingly low angst for the subject matter.

The cover design by AmaiDesigns shows a scene from one of their dates.

Buy Link: AMAZON 

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 261 pages
Published November 21st 2019
ASINB081FZPXX1

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Unfettered by Kate Hawthorne — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Earthquakes (New Amsterdam #4) by Kelly Wyre

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is the fourth book in the series focusing on Ellis and his crush on one of his customers from the firing range named Bryndon. Previously Ellis seemed enamored with Clark; there is definitely still hero worship involved, complicated by doing BDSM scenes with Clark and his husband, but Ellis knows the difference between what he has and what he wants. He’s decided that he wants Bryn.

I was irritated when Ellis “realizes” he’s in love with Bryn, even though he’s only spoken a few sentences with the guy. Having said that, in the same conversation Daniel was talking to Ellis about Clark, which I loved. So, while the recapping will let you read this as a standalone, it has more emotional impact if you’ve read book one, story 1.1, and book three. Once Clark, Daniel, and Lucien try to help Ellis get noticed by Bryn, their worlds crash together. Bryn’s friend Medea is annoying, but she is also a force of nature as she helps play matchmaker. It’s also nice to have wealthy friends Ellis can borrow a plane from whenever he wants. While this widens the friends as family cast, the focus is on the two main characters. The alternating points of view between Ellis and Bryn actually made me worry for both of them.

Bryn is a ballet dancer with mental health issues. The creepy parts of this are him being haunted by someone who’s dead. He keeps everyone at arm’s length, but Ellis sneaks into his thoughts…and then Ellis ignores all Bryn’s boundaries. Even though he is the submissive, it is Ellis that pushes this whole thing forward. The more the author reveals about Bryn, the less likeable he is to me. At the same time, I see why Ellis wants to save him. His mother has been emotionally abusive his whole life so it’s not any different when Bryn goes home for his father’s funeral, Ellis in tow. Unfortunately, most of this is about Bryn’s revenge on his Mom and a plot twist that seems to have been written to heal Bryn. For me, it all comes down to this: how can Ellis trust Bryn to tie him up, to hurt him? Ellis is basically a saint, but I thought he had a somewhat healthy view of the situation until he agreed to a scene when Bryn was angry, under stress and emotional duress, and had been drinking. This was just a big turn-off for me. I was not convinced that the cathartic release was worth more than having this be safe and sane.

While love will not cure mental illness, it can give a person hope and support. If that had been the focus, I would have enjoyed this more. Complex PTSD would make sense for this character, but the author chose to have Bryn be on antipsychotics. My understanding is that hallucinations can be suppressed, not cured–even his epiphany, his closure, wouldn’t stop real hallucinations that require antipsychotics. In the end, even though there is a happily ever after, it didn’t seem realistic to me. There was no follow-up about the state of Bryn’s mental health, no therapy, no mention of Ellis meeting Bryn’s therapist, no way to know if Bryn was still having hallucinations or still taking medication…the whole thing is just dropped out of the plot. I know this is fiction, and I applaud having mental health issues being represented, but it does a disservice to people if it’s not portrayed accurately or just used as a plot device until it’s no longer needed.

The cover design is by Natasha Snow. It matches the rest of the series with the city view, but this one shows Bryn–dancing, but to me also wrestling with his darkness

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published September 28th 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published February 29th 2016)
Original Title: Earthquakes
ASIN B07Y3TL7XB
Series: New Amsterdam

Review: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

I like my erotic romances with some depth and this fit the bill. There are many triggers in this book so please pay attention to the tags: past and present abuse, off page rape, self harm, flashbacks, alcohol, drugs, and suicide attempts. Of course, this all means the hurt/comfort trope is quite strong. Wyatt is full of pain from parents who don’t know what love means; he is acting out recklessly in his hopelessness. Lincoln is hired by Wyatt’s father as a babysitter for him during the Senate reelection campaign.

Much of this story takes place in a fish bowl of forced proximity. The attraction is immediate for both of them and while a misunderstanding keeps them apart for a little while, once that is gone there is no stopping the lust from boiling over, even if it all seems like a horrible idea, bound for heartbreak all around. As an erotic romance, the sex scenes are plentiful and smoking hot if light Daddy play is your thing. My heart hurt for both of them pretty quickly. Linc’s usual scenes and after care haven’t prepared him for actually caring for a boy of his own. He is in denial about his PTSD from the service and glosses over his own childhood abuse. Wyatt’s never had a man care for him at all, in any capacity. This is completely dysfunctional, but at least Linc understands that. Linc is an intimate witness to Wyatt’s life without his consent; it is Linc’s choice to share his life with Wyatt in return. With this dynamic, I wonder if anyone who showed Wyatt affection would have sufficed. Still, the moment that it becomes less about play and more about making love, the sex is real including the fear, communication, and humor.

The pacing is fast due to the feeling of racing against the clock. This has an expiration date, not just because of the senator’s campaign, but because this bubble is not sustainable. There are thankfully some interesting supporting characters involved: Linc’s boss and former service buddy Jackson, Graciela the housekeeper, Charlemagne or Charlie as Wyatt’s best friend, and Wyatt’s grandmother Violet. Charlie has the largest, much needed role as support for Wyatt when he can’t support himself. Some might criticize her for not doing more, but I think she did what she could whilst not humiliating and outing Wyatt against his will. When he makes the choice to change his circumstances, she protects them all. I admit Linc and his sister’s circumstances make no sense to me: caring for someone who hurt, neglected and abandoned them over someone Linc is falling in love with seems like a fake box to put him in. Neither does Wyatt’s situation make a lot of sense: if at 22, Wyatt is so abused and mentally screwed up that he can’t get out of the situation with his father, then he is not fit to be anyone’s partner. There are two scenes where Wyatt shows he can be supportive of Linc also–enough to give me some hope. With all the angst I had to wade through, I would have liked to see the epilogue expanded to show more of the happiness a romance brings to the table. Their kinks and childhood traumas match enough for them to bond, but I do wish there had been a bit more as to why they would work as a couple in real world circumstances for a more believable HEA.

The cover design is by We Got You Covered Book Design. This doesn’t have anything to do with the story. This model is a bit more built than I pictured Wyatt and less built than I pictured Linc. The tagline makes this seem more about discipline or BDSM, which doesn’t match the flavor of this book at all.

Sales Links: Amazon | Universal Link 

Book Details: ebook
Published July 12th 2019 (first published July 8th 2019)
Original Title: Intoxicating
Edition Language: English
Series: Elite Protection Services

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: My Cocky Cellist by Cole McCade, Undue Arrogance 2

 

My Cocky Cellist cover
Cover Artist: Cole McCade

I would rate this 4 stars.

 

Vic Newcomb has been best friends with Ash since boarding school. He is briefly in book one. You don’t have to read book one or read these in order to understand the plot. Since he’s suffering from hypertension, Ash books him in with his masseuse, Amani Idrissi. Vic is the rich, egostistical, privileged, white man. Amani is the poor, talented, hardworking black man working his way through school. Vic is intrigued by him and during the course of their conversation offers to pay him for cello lessons. He ends up paying him for something else entirely, and that twists the layers of intimacy they are creating. As they both fall in love, trying to remember this is a business contract, they hurt each other.

I liked the characters and wanted them to be happy together. The author’s writing style weaves the audience into their intimacy with alternating POVs. Even though the words master and sub are used, the kink is mild and has more to do with voluntary power exchange. This also plays with the bi for you/out for you trope. With all of Amani’s pride at the beginning of this, it all but disappears as they become a couple. It seems unlikely that the money was such a big deal, is just no longer an issue. It also seems strange Vic doesn’t tell Ash about Amani. There are never any ramifications to a rich, famous, straight CEO suddenly dating a femme, black Moroccan man. In other words, it’s a nice fantasy, but I wanted a little more realism–a little more depth. However, there are references to Richard Gere, so if this is a take on Pretty Woman, that may be unfair of me and there is something to be said for writing the world how we want it to be.

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Author’s Website

Review: Expeditions, Estimation, and Other Dangerous Pastimes (Claimings #4) by Lyn Gala

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This is the fourth book in the Claimings series with an overarching plot, so these should be read in order. There are also alien words used without context, which you would need to be aware of beforehand. This is the continuation of Liam and Ondry’s journey aboard the Rownt ship Calti, to seek trade with the Imshee.

One of the things I like about this series, like all good science fiction, is viewing the absurdities of humanity, when trying to explain them to an alien race. I always enjoy the discussions of linguistics and psychology. The fact that this happens after a rousing bout of alien sex, made me laugh. Quite a lot of this book made me laugh and appeals to my dry sense of humor, although be warned the depictions of sex and biological functions are a bit graphic and crude. Anyway, if you have been following this series and like those linguistics discussions, those are increased in this book due to Zach and Liam both being in the linguist field, them both learning from each other aboard ship, and meeting a new alien species.

In the last book, Zach came aboard as a palteia to a Grandmother who is now his chilta. The nearest translation in English to palteia seems to be submissive (although these relationships are not sexual in Rownt culture.) A chilta would have the “dom” role of protecting and helping a palteia, who are a highly regarded in Rownt culture. This opportunity gives the Rownt a way to learn about humanity without all of that burden remaining on Liam. It’s also intriguing to see a higher ranked human than Liam, but someone with less experience with the Rownt, navigate the complexities of the society, culture, and language. The change in dynamics is a way to show us Liam’s place in the world, in both cultures.

The author shows Liam and Ondry established in their relationship of mutual trust and love. Liam’s confidence has grown and as Liam has become more Rownt in his thinking, Ondry has also become more human in his. Ondry has also gotten even more overprotective the more he reads human medical texts. If fact, the whole reason for this book is fear of human physiology and aging–Ondry wanting Liam’s lifespan to be more compatible with his and for Liam to be less breakable. I love how Liam asserts himself to be an equal partner in decisions that affect their lives and status in a way he never would have earlier in the series. But while Liam seems more confident, in some ways Ondry seems less so.

There is a bit of repetition in Ondry’s thoughts and on the obsession with palteia throughout the book, but that is a minor niggle. Overall, this is a good contribution to the series, although not my favorite. The Cy, a race that traded with the Rownt thousands of years ago, are mentioned as how they learned folded space technology. I do hope this goes somewhere in a story, whether set in the past or the present. Of course, the Imshee contact with humans is a frightening prospect. I understand why Liam would want what the Imshee offer as he will live out the rest of his life with Ondry; I am unsure of why Zach would consent when he has a five year contract, especially since if he were to go back to Earth, I would expect the military to experiment on him. I would be happy for the author to pick any of these plot bunnies that she seeded in this story.

The cover artist is Anna Sikorska. It’s in keeping with the series in style and color palette and I think represents the story well.

Sales Links:  Amazon link coming
Book Details:
ebook, Patreon edition
Expected publication: October 23rd 2018
Edition Language English
URLhttp://www.patreon.com/lyngala
Series: Claimings

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Expeditions, Estimation, and Other Dangerous Pastimes (Claimings #4) by Lyn Gala — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words