Review : The Story of Us By Logan Meredith

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This is told in the first person POV of Kyle, a 40-year-old construction worker and part-time student. This is meant to be a standard, realistic man meets man romance without cliches, except he falls in love a gay porn star, Lucas, better known to fans as Tommy. Kyle tells the story looking back on how they met, the way people tell something when others ask them at a dinner party, through the lens of entertainment and nostalgia that turns into first person flashbacks so the author can add in all the world-building details for the reader to picture. Their meet cute is almost ruined by a misunderstanding, but Lucas persists. Yet, the porn star issue throws Kyle for a loop and it doesn’t look like this thing is going to sprout wings.

With the 17 year age difference Kyle is worried that he’s at a different place in his life; he wants marriage, kids, pets, and a home that he’s built. This is Kyle’s POV, so the reader sees his journey to become more open minded, to overcome his doubts, learn to compromise better, and not to care so much about what other people think. Many times when I only have one point of view, I feel like I missed things or that I don’t know the other characters as well–not so here! These characters come alive and feel real. Kyle and Lucas suffer from the same insecurities many of us do. As Kyle and Lucas fall into a relationship, it’s in a bubble, so I was waiting for it to pop which the author acknowledges. This doesn’t feel cliched or full of tropes. It can be difficult to integrate two lives together with work, family, friends, schedules, belongings, hobbies, etc. This doesn’t have manufacturered crises, real life gives all of them plenty; much of the drama in our lives comes from family and friends and trying to navigate to find our own path.

Here’s the thing: porn is a job and actors are people. I have met plenty of people who chose porn as a career. I think this was mostly realistic, if romanticized and less jaded. I have gone to AEE (Adult Entertainment Expo) in Vegas, although I didn’t get to go to the AVN Award Show. At one point Kyle thinks he knows why Lucas does porn and thinks he can fix him. Thankfully he gets over himself, because he’s wrong. Lucas loves his career and he’s not ashamed of what he does for a living. The sex scenes between Kyle and Lucas are not just smoking hot, but intimate. Top, bottom, dominant, submissive, Daddy, vers–these are all just words but Lucas and Kyle make them real by roleplaying and having fun. That’s what trust is. The difference between the porn scenes and the real sex is very clear. The moment when Kyle is all in, is perfect: “I would love him like I’d learned to ride a bike—scared, but reckless, without pads or training wheels. If I crashed, my scars would tell our story.” I smiled so much, my face hurt. I don’t think I’ve read this author before, but I definitely will again. If you support choice and want a story where sex workers are positively depicted with heartwarming, real characters, give this a chance.

The cover art is by Cherith Vaughan and shows a romantic scene from one of their dates.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ASINB07W57MLFC

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review : The Story of Us By Logan Meredith — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

***There is a great book by the same name by Barbara Elsborg so don’t get confused. Or, read them both!

Review: Fairground Attractions Series by L.M. Somerton

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I read and liked the Investigating Love series by this author years ago, so I thought I would try these. This trilogy has one overarching storyline, so although each novella focuses on one couple, they have to be read in order and together for maximum enjoyment. Garth, Stevie, Adam, and Zach are friends from university who work at the local amusement park during the summer breaks. The conversation in the diner at the start of summer lets the reader know what they are in for as each character is described and labeled. The plot focuses on criminals using the park as a cover for their activities: something to further tie together these three stories of couples exploring their different kinks with a hurt/comfort trope for all. I didn’t rate the individual stories because the plot is the same and each reader will have their own preference on what type of sex scene and dynamic appeals to them. The BDSM scenes are all pretty steamy, even though I think they are only there for titillation rather than being truly moving. I also don’t think these are realistic representations of loving D/s relationships, just erotic romances with a bit of fun plot. There is a nudge nudge, wink wink quality since Criminal Minds and the Scooby gang are mentioned.

GHOST TRAIN

This one focuses on the goth of the group, Garth. He is assigned to work on the ghost train ride for the summer. Most of the details are not believable: Clem works as an investigator that helps the police so they just let Garth leave without questioning him after he discovers a dead body. This is rectified somewhat in book two and three. Clem and Garth drive straight into BDSM the next day, with bondage, when he has very little experience and it’s technically their first date. I appreciate that information is gleaned from actual conversations between the characters rather than info dumps. There are little details, like Garth getting hurt, that just don’t disappear–they stay consistently acknowledged. Garth is the bratty type of submissive for Clem, who likes the challenge and play.

Buy Links

Pride Publishing  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

MERRY GO ROUND

Stevie is the sweet and shy one in this group of friends, but still no pushover. He has been assigned to the carousel. His best friend, and crush, Adam, is working security at the park. Although one assumes they have been dancing around their attraction for quite awhile, they are virgins who jump into more without talking about it. Whereas the first couple were much more serious about the BDSM, this couple seem more like they are playing at it. This matches them both being inexperienced and is generally cute. Although they are the same age and the dynamics are not all there, Adam is more like a Daddy with no age play.

Buy Links

Pride Publishing  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

 

HELTER SKELTER

Zach has a crush on his former math professor Daniel, who has been dragged into the investigation since he is an expert on mathematical ciphers. He works with the police to decipher the codes the criminals are using. Now that Zach is no longer his student, he is ready to make his move. He is the strictest dom, needing a compliant sub. Again, they rush headlong into a masochistic relationship without any indication Zach would be into that until the first sex scene. There is some scary equipment use here with no discussion about anything. Zach’s father, who owns the park, has not been doing well with all the stress. It is the perfect handing over of the reins for Zach’s care as the police close in on the drug runners and the assassin Harlequin. When Clem and Daniel go to help the police, the three subs can’t resist going to see the conclusion of the investigation.

Buy Links

Pride Publishing  |  Amazon UK  | Amazon US

 

The epilogue ties up any loose plot strings and gives one more scene between Daniel and Zach. Even though there are several traumatic events in these books, (murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, threats of sexual assault, shooting, and stabbing), they all seem to be there as a reason to excuse the insta-love/lust. The BDSM is used to take everyone’s mind off the criminal investigation and fear. There is amazingly low angst in all three of these. All three couples are looking to the future as the four guys head back to college for their final year.

The cover art is by Erin Dameron-Hill. I love the covers, but they seem quite dark. While there are dark plot points, this is all a bit of fun, so I think some more amusement park colors could have signaled that. Each one highlights the submissive in that story; I think the models used match the characters well.

Book Details: ebook, 86 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786517234
Series: Fairground Attractions

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Review: Enough by Matthew J Metzger

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Jesse is a firefighter with a huge lack of self-esteem. He seems to think the only thing he has to offer is sex. His first boyfriend is a teacher named Ezra. They’ve been together for 8 months and he is meeting Ezra’s conservative, Catholic family for the first time. Then, he meets Ezra’s ex-boyfriend and things start to go really wrong.

This book is more about Jesse’s journey battling his past demons and fears while learning to trust Ezra and himself. Erza has his own family issues. If Ezra’s mom is awful, Ezra’s sister is a true horror. At least Ezra’s mom has a moment in here where she redeems herself in the hospital. I don’t want to give you more of a spoiler than that, but while the book blurb tells you the whole plot, it also doesn’t give you the depth of what you are getting into here. The family issues are not magically solved with everyone an accepting happy clappy group at the end. I found this very realistic.

One issue that is used well at the beginning as a plot point is Ezra’s ex-boyfriend Liam. He is a foil and catalyst for some of their most conflicted moments as a couple. Yet, at the end, he is just dropped. I am of two minds about that. On the one hand, he is finally relegated to where he actually belongs in regards to his importance in their lives. On the other hand…did he just give up? If so, why did he give up? Did he finally back off because Ezra actually has a boyfriend, or was it something else? Did he no longer want Ezra? That would make him the biggest douchebag of all time under the circumstances, and contradicts how Ezra describes him.

Most of this is about those moments when dating turns into love and now the couple have to rip themselves open to each other to let that someone in. Seeing behind the curtain to see if they can be a real couple that shares the good and bad is part of the battle. Jesse learning his worth is a major part of the plot, but I was not totally happy with his epiphany moment. For me, there could have been some tweaking to let the reader know Jesse understood his value as a man: not just a firefighter or because Ezra loves him, and not just because he stayed. Still, the scenes between them are sexy and meaningful. There is never a doubt that Ezra is his whole world. It’s touching when he finally sees and believes that he is Ezra’s whole world too. There is a lot of time that passes in this novella so the reader gets to see when Jesse trusts himself to be himself, and trusts what Ezra tells him. I have to say I am starting to really like this author.

The cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill. I have to say I like the color choices. The hoodie is even reminiscent of fire gear and the blackened room shows Jesse’s nightmare landscape. I did picture him a bit bulkier due to the size difference with Ezra.

Salels Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Pride Publishing (first published May 22nd 2014)
ASINB07S7HXDXK
Edition Language: English

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Enough by Matthew J Metzger — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Jim does everything in his power to not have to ask his sister Sarah for help, but when it’s not enough, he ends up staying at her house until he can get back on his feet. Sarah’s husband is a reverend and his flavor of religion can’t coexist with Jim being bisexual, but it’s Sarah’s (and their mother’s) lack of support that hurts Jim emotionally. At 26, Jim has made some mistakes and at the beginning of this book still seems like he is “cutting off his nose to spite his face.” The fact that Sarah helps him at all and allows him to stay at her house, even when it may cause problems with her husband is not really given a whole lot of credit here, in my opinion. It’s definitely time for Jim to grow up. At first, his affair with the piano teacher that tutors Sarah’s children doesn’t encourage hope that is going to happen–hot and sexy though it is!

This has more heart than I expected right away, but what starts out as sexy fun ends up as a relationship. What starts out as an erotic romance, ends up to be a heartwarming and heartbreaking story of family. Fran is completely Jim’s type and has family issues of his own. Jim has finally met someone who could be good for him, but this is just good timing. I like the fact that what really motivates Jim to step up and sort himself out is his niece, not his boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong because I love Fran’s character and his place in the book is vital. I just don’t like storylines where one person “saves” the other. Fran provides support that allows Jim to more easily navigate his issues, but they are his issues to navigate.

It’s good to see a representation of the spectrum in this book. Be aware this story uses British English and vernacular, but it very easy to read and follow. I loved seeing character development in a story that has very erotic scenes as a natual part of his life and who he is. I loved that it is emotionally accessible. I am glad the author shows what can happen when a person changes their actions with someone; it changes their reactions too. Breaking cycles is difficult and it’s work. I would definitely read something by this author again.

The cover art is by Erin Dameron-Hill. I’m of two minds about the cover. It’s shows the tension and has the piano to represent Fran, but instead of showing that life is messy, it looks a bit like a horror novel. However, it’s not boring and neither is this book.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing |   Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

Book Details: ebook, 222 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786517050
Edition Language: English

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Release Day Review: Extra Dirty (The Speakeasy #2) by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I didn’t know this was book two in a series, so I had not read book one. While I might have enjoyed this more if I had already known the large cast, I slowly got into the main characters. There is a lot of telling instead of showing at the beginning. The recaps are sufficient so that I understood what happen in book one. Jesse Murtagh and his business partner, Kyle McKee own a speakeasy named Under in New York. They are also friends with benefits. There is also a former lover of theirs named Carter who is now with Riley. Another couple they are close with is David and Will. I am fairly sure almost all of them have had sex with each other at some point in book one. Jesse is bisexual and not a monogamist so if that is going to bother you, this is not the book for you.

Cameron Lewis is the music teacher for Carter’s two kids. He’s also a local DJ. He’s the working class guy in this scenario, commuting a long distance for his jobs and having three roommates. He seems as adverse to settling down as Jesse at first, but soon develops more feelings for Jesse than he expected. This leads to some bad choices and a stunning lack of mature communication.

This started out as a bunch of wealthy people enjoying themselves. Nothing wrong with that, but it seemed like Cam was expected to fit into their world or not. I was pleasantly surprised when Cam takes Jesse to Brooklyn and they explore his world too. Just when things started to get good, Cam starts running hot and cold. By the the time a disastrous misunderstanding happens, I am well annoyed with Cam. I had expected Jesse to be the annoying character with his rigid adherence to non conformity and his privilege, but he was always honest about who is and what he wants–at least as far as he knows. It’s Cam who tries so hard to protect himself, he hurts them both. He doesn’t even effectively communicate why. The angst pulled me in, but it was Cam’s family and Jesse’s friends that hooked me in to the story emotionally. In the end, I like the open partnership they achieve, but I think there were some spots on the way that could have been more smoothly written. By the time they actually talk and work everything out, I was invested in what was happening, but it was also fairly anticlimactic. Yet, isn’t that life? Sometimes you have such a strong idea about something, it’s earth shattering once you realize you can compromise, or things don’t have to be that way, or things aren’t quite what you thought they were, even though not much has actually changed. This book is about the family they have chosen and the safe space they have created for them and their friends to be who they are.

The cover art is by Cherith Vaughan and shows scenes from the book: the club and the cityscape.

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Apple iStore  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |

 

Book Details: ebook, 345 pages
Expected publication: March 26th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN 139781786517098
Edition Language: English
Series: The Speakeasy

via A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Extra Dirty (The Speakeasy #2) by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This is book four and you need to read these in order as it starts three years after the previous book. It took me a while to warm up to this series, but by book three I was completely sucked in. As Diego and Finn return to the world after Diego’s exile, everyone is still dealing with the aftermath of what he did. Zack is acting Consul and will have to remain so as having Diego return to the job might not be in their best interests. Magic legislation is still very much as issue. Neither Diego nor Theo have forgiven themselves. It has become unsafe in certain parts of the world to be magical. Trying to be useful and help rescue three Canadian students arrested in a country that is anti-magic, Diego and Finn find themselves also taken prisoner. The social commentary is about bigotry and the corruption of power. How are we still here fighting issues we thought had been addressed and dealt with?

While Diego was in exile, he learned as much as he could from the dragons and studied the wild fae. A young selkie, Limpet, follows Diego across the veil when he comes home. His POV keeps this fresh as he is innocent, curious, and naive about the human world. The pairing of Limpet with Theo is unlikely, but seems to be because Theo needs that kind of outlook to help him move forward and enjoy life again. I have to admit I didn’t like that Theo tends to tune Limpet out and not really listen to what he is saying, or worse tells him to not talk. That’s fine when they are in danger or hiding and Limpet doesn’t know any better, not so fine the rest of the time. Being excited, talking a lot, and being curious (which means asking a lot of questions) is part of who Limpet is. While the sexual compatibility isn’t in question, for me, the communication left something to be desired.

While Diego and Finn are in captivity, Diego gets everyone to band together, reminding them that they are stronger as a community rather than individuals living in fear. Finn, who is not my favorite character, spends much of this book subdued by steel. He does get to be a hero here, and there is none of the melodrama of previous books. Maybe being with Diego during his banishment in the Otherworld calmed him a bit. The author establishes a djinn character called Nusair, and a half human/fae named Asif, both of whom I expect to see in the future. Nusair is by far the more intriguing of the two. It’s a shame that the The Silver Adepts coven is left simmering in the background, but this book is about Diego finding his footing again. It’s a necessary step to make the whole series more cohesive. I’m hoping now that Diego and Theo are sorted, the next book will go back to some of the previous characters on new adventures.

The cover art is by Emmy @studioenp. It features Diego, the desert, and Finn as the bird. It’s in keeping with the rest of the series and I really like the golden color.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details: ebook, 281 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Pride Publishing (first published September 5th 2014)
ISBN 139781786517029
Edition Language: English
Series: Endangered Fae

 

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) by Angel Martinez

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The is book three in the Endangered Fae series. While you could probably read this alone, it would be best if you started from book one. Having said that, this is the best book so far and shows what could have been possible in the first two books. This is just more fun and action packed, with layers. It also introduces many new characters. All of the sudden weird paranormal phenomena is happening all over. Human magic is different from fae magic, but they are connected. Just as the shifter fae start to get a magical illness, humans start turning into vampires and werewolves, or developing new powers. I love the idea that all of the legends and lore are real, and are now alive because the Veil is open again.

While this book still has a lot of Finn and Diego, Finn is sidelined a bit with an illness and Diego has bigger problems. The main romance is between Zach, the marine medic from book two, and Lugh. Zach is working as the head of Lugh’s security detail. Lugh is, of course, a shifter fae and part bull. This book is more explicitly bestial than the previous books. There is also an element of dubcon. They seem to find their footing at the end and know what works for them. There were two times in the book when something is a huge emotional deal, and all is quickly forgiven when someone is injured, once with Zach and his parents and once with Lugh and Zach. There could be a better way of working out these conflicts.

As mentioned there are several new characters but the main five are The Silver Adepts, a human coven: Kara, Nate, Brandon, Will, and Minky. Will has awful premonitions, so Minky tries writing to Diego for help, but he isn’t taking them seriously. They have a plan to kidnap him and things go horribly wrong. There was a hint of dragons in book two, so I was waiting for the dragons! Diego and Zach go to find them for help with knowledge about human magic. The dragon lord eventually comes to help train the coven in how to better access their magic. The final showdown and rescue mission, in fact much of the book, reminds me of a comic book. This is no bad thing.

Zach becomes the human Consul for the fae now that Diego is ill. The book leaves some of our characters in the Otherworld making it possible for future books to take place on either side of the Veil. There is now so much magic in the world, these stories could go anywhere or even have spin-offs, so I’ll have to wait and see where the series goes.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. All the covers in the series are eye catching and fit together.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published January 13th 2013)
ASINB07HQ4DXQQ
Edition Language: English
Series: Endangered Fae

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) by Angel Martinez — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I almost don’t know where to begin with this. So much happens, it almost feels like different stories cobbled together. Diego and Finn are living in their new house in the Montana forest. Diego has to take a business trip to New York. While he’s gone, Finn saves a drowning women and tries to keep her warm. When Diego comes home and catches them together, his jealousy rips the Veil to the Otherworld open. Here the sidhe and fomorian courts are at odds. There is a wasting disease and the fae are dying because they have been cut off from the earth magic of the world. They need to find a safe place, with unpolluted air and water to cross over. It’s difficult to read stories regarding mythology or folklore, because to some these are their religious beliefs ripped apart by poetic license. I am at a loss as to what to say about the book when the U.S. government comes to deal with the “invaders.” This part feels like she had something left over from Prisoner 374215 (another book by this author), and adapted it and inserted it here. Then, we have the modern ending to the hostilities with a press conferences and good PR.

Instead of grounding this story, Diego and Finn’s relationship is just another agitator. The author uses the plot device of lovers in multiple lives, rather than actually developing their relationship in the here and now. They are each jealous of others and I’m not sure the lack of trust is ever dealt with effectively. They teeter between insecurity and desperation. There is a lot of sex, but why is it always when Finn is injured? They keep swearing their undying love with pet names, but then they hurt each other–Diego with his need to help everyone and not prioritizing Finn, and Finn with his insecurities that send him running away. Then, we have the wedding epilogue. Wow. I got whiplash from reading all that. One would hope now that they are married, all this OTT angst will stop.

It’s strange in a book filled with fae characters, that the people who stand out are the humans: Zach the marine, Miriam the agent, and Tia Carmen the wise woman. I have a feeling Zach and Lugh will be in book three. I also felt that the book kept me running from one emergency to another to cover up any deficiencies. I would say if you would like to see one version of how it might go if fae were real (misunderstood and friendly) and came out to the world, then you might like to read this.

The cover art for this edition is by Emmy @ studioenp. It matches the first book in style and shows when Diego opens the veil in New York to get Tia Carmen’s help.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published September 16th 2010)
Original Title: Diego
ASINB07FCT4SVR
Edition Language English
Series: Endangered Fae

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Finn is awake after centuries of Dreaming with no way to get back to the Otherworld now that the Veil is closed. Diego rescued him as it appears he’s preparing to jump off a bridge. Finn is a fae and the city, with all its iron and steel, is killing him. Diego is a kind soul, one who helps people and animals. He also doesn’t believe in the supernatural, even though he writes about it. After a breakup with his jerk of a boyfriend Mitch, Diego tries to be just friends with Finn whilst helping him adapt to the modern world. When his agent lets him stay at her cabin to get away from the city and write, it’s a great way to help Finn get back to nature. This is a fish out of water story that made me laugh out loud several times. Diego is as out of his element in the woods as Finn is in the city. Neither of them seem to take very good care of themselves, so they both need a keeper. As Finn sparks Diego’s creativity, helping him with his book, he heals now that he is free to roam in nature. But not all magical creatures are pleasant and evil awaits in the woods. Diego battles to accept his new reality and Finn’s love.

So many things fall into place when they need to, I think it would be best if I chalk this up to the “luck of the Irish.” This was an easy read and not too scary even though there is violence. If you like when the couple are overly sweet with pet names, you might like this. There are some sex scenes but they are not very long, actually there are so many, they are also skipped over by the author near the end. I think the issue is that it is actually too long. The conflict is resolved, but the story still goes on. (Apparently this was a Christmas story that had originally been separate, but was edited into the end of this edition of the book.) While Diego’s agent and landlord helped move the story along, they are not full fleshed out. I enjoyed the story, but I wasn’t super attracted to it.

The cover art is by Emmy @ studioenp. It is very striking and shows Finn as imagined on the bridge where he meets Diego. I also like the symbolism of the bridge: as him bridging the world between fae and human, also the bridging between corporeal and incorporeal. The crow flying gives a hint at where the story will go. Finn likes bright colors, as they speak to him.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Pride Publishing (first published July 2nd 2009)
Original Title: Finn
ASINB07C3MH4X8
Edition Language: English
Series: Endangered Fae

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words