Tuesday 11 November 2014

The Bone Orchard by Abigail Roux

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: August 11th 2014
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 6 out of 10
My Rating: 3 out of 5

After leaving a trail of terror and death in his wake, the notorious “Missouri” Boone Jennings finally meets his match in San Francisco when US marshal Ambrose Shaw catches up to him. The story of his capture, and the marshal’s bravery, has already become legend back east by the time Pinkerton inspector Ezra Johns gets off the train from New York City to testify in the murderer’s trial.

When Ambrose is unable to give witness to the evils he’s seen, Ezra becomes their lone hope for putting Jennings in a noose. But if Ezra thinks that’s his biggest problem, he’s got plenty to learn about life—and the afterlife—in the spirited West.

Fortunately, Ambrose is there to assist, and more than happy to oblige Ezra—in the courtroom or the bedroom. He spent his life bringing justice to the Wild West, and if he has a say in it, that’s how he’ll be spending his death too.


This was a pretty good western ghost story. I don't read a lot of ghost stories, but this was really interesting. Ezra and Ambrose are both lawmen hunting the same killer. One a Marshall from California, the other an Inspector from New York. They hunt Jennings across the country, until they meet in San Francisco where they have tracked down Jennings. He is tried and hung, but continues to kill from beyond the grave.

I especially enjoyed the second half of the story, as time starts to pass more quickly, and Ezra and Ambrose watch the decades pass around them. The idea that having a nemesis is what makes the time worth living for them is different and unexpected. You would expect the good guys to defeat the villain, but not here, and that's okay. Ezra and Ambrose have each other, but protecting people is what their lives were about and so are their deaths. Meeting Ezra's nephew at the end was an interesting turn of events as well. I was not expecting more story at that point and I enjoyed the fact that others knew of Ezra and Ambrose's existence. Although, I wish they could have spoken more and that Owen and his friends could have known all the good Ezra and Ambrose have done over the last 150 years.

The romance in this was pretty disappointing though. I didn't really feel the connection between Ezra and Ambrose. It seemed to happen awfully quickly. They probably knew each other 3 or 4 days before they expressed feelings for each other. Eventually they said the 'L' word and it wasn't even made into a big deal. They both acted as if it was totally normal to fall in love after only a week or so and neither were surprised to hear the words.

But regardless of the passage of time, it wasn't used to its full potential. Their relationship could have been developed better in the given time. I don't really know what they loved about each other. We were not told. And I don't think we were ever told what Ezra looked like. When he first saw Ambrose he described him to us, but we were never given a description of Ezra and he is sort of just a blank in my mind. Also, in a story of 133 pages, there was time for more than one sex scene, but we were only given one. It wasn't super explicit but I enjoyed it. It was one of the few times when I felt their emotional closeness, as well as the physical, of course.

So this is a good read for people who enjoy ghost stories and paranormal, who don't mind some M/M on the side, but aren't looking for a romance at the moment. I wouldn't mind a sequel.

"I love you," he said quickly. "If I don't come back..." 
"No," Ezra hissed. "No, you must."
"Know I loved you a lifetime's worth," Ambrose gasped. "A lifetime."

Friday 7 November 2014

Try by Ella Frank (Temptation #1)

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: November 12th 2013
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 9 out of 10
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and…tried?


Only once I had already finished this book did I find out that it was written by an author who had started out as a M/F author, and that this book was what got a lot of people into reading M/M romance in the first place. I am not a veteran of the genre, but I am not new to it either. This is my 13th M/M book, and I absolutely loved it. It is either the smuttiest romance, or the most romantic smut that I have ever read. I am gonna lean towards calling it the most romantic smut, because really, there is no need to have that much sex in a book unless you are writing a smut. Not that I am complaining. I love a good smut. But I really can't get into a book unless there is a good foundation to the relationship before sex comes into the picture. I have DNFed more than one book because they had sex sooner than I liked, and it made me uncomfortable (Sins & Needles and On Dublin Street to name a few). That did not happen here, despite how much sex there is in this book.

I really loved the pace in this book. I have read a lot of GFY stories where it only took the first advance for the straight guy to give in to his new and confusing feelings. I love how Logan took his time and visited Tate's bar several times to talk to him before Tate even realized he was attracted to him. And only several meetings after that did Tate agree to meet with him outside of work. They started with a few kisses before trying anything sexual, and even then Logan was patient and waited until Tate offered sex. It was so against his character and what he was used to giving. I loved how little either of them fought it. Tate was confused but once he realized what he wanted, he went with it. Albeit slowly. And Logan, as afraid as he might have been of commitment, he still knew he would not give up Tate to avoid it. They still had a few rough spot, but nothing too major. This was the story of two men who change each other's lives. How they get there and how they handle it. And I love how it wasn't overly complicated.

I also really enjoyed how evenly matched they were. Like Robbie pointed out, and like they both eventually recognized about themselves, they both liked to control and be controlled once and a while. It was a new dynamic and it worked for them. They are just so well matched for each other in every way. They challenge each other and balance each other, and understand each other. My only complaint is the way that the book ended to abruptly. Mid-sentence. I really don't like cliffhangers in books, and although this can't really be called a cliffhanger because it's not ended mid-action, it is ended mid-conversation and it is ended with a question without an answer. It always seems lazy to me when that happens. But its not enough to ruin the book for me. This book was emotional and beautiful as well as hot and exciting and I can't wait to read the rest of this story.

“You've changed me, and you don’t even realize it. Just being with you, near you? It makes me want to be a better person. You make me want to take a risk.” 
"What do you want to risk?" 
Logan let go of all the emotions he'd held so carefully at arm's length. Finally, with those feelings surrounding and engulfing him, he answered simply, "Everything."

Wednesday 5 November 2014

How We Fall by Kate Brauning

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: March 14th 2014
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus--and deepens Jackie's despair.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?


This wasn't really what I had expected, and it had certain factors that made me uncomfortable, but it was interesting, well written, and featured very likable characters. The blurb mentions Jackie's relationship with her cousin, Marcus, but it doesn't even touch on the true depth of their relationship. It's somewhat misleading. You have to be able to accept a relationship between first cousins to really enjoy this book I think.

Jackie and her family of four, and Marcus and his family of eight, moved in together to share a home when they were 14. They liked each other from the beginning. In such a large family they instantly gravitated towards each other, because they were the same age and they were both quiet. But after an innocent game of "Truth or Dare", they see each other in a different light, and their relationship is changed forever. The book starts during the summer before Jackie and Marcus' senior year, when their relationship is beginning to reach a tipping point. When they first gave in to their secret relationship they gave themselves rules. No commitment. Not labels. No sex. But things are getting too serious and they can't stop it. Marcus wants to spend more time with Jackie. He wants to be able to take her out without being afraid. Jackie is getting insanely jealous of Marcus talking to other girls. She is afraid she is falling in love with him, which she cannot allow. Their relationship just cannot be. So they try to make a preemptive clean break. It was inevitable, right?

“We didn't have to be a doomed romance. We weren't some cosmic mistake. We were us, and we couldn't be stopped by anything but ourselves.”

Regardless of what I might think of their relationship, Jackie and Marcus were very well developed, believable, and likable characters. Even when they were going through some rough spots I still liked them. All of their arguments were realistic and I understood both of their point of views, and why they were acting the way they were. The situation they had ended up in was difficult and really, neither of them were to blame. But its impossible to separate them from their relationship and the fact that they were cousins. If they weren't cousins none of this would have happened. There would have been no conflict. And if they hadn't been cousins, they wouldn't have become the people that they had.

I have a hard time accepting the fact that they were cousins, and I am trying not to think about it in realistic terms. I get a little freaked out when I think of this happening in real life. But, as a story it was very well portrayed and understandable. I could see how they were each others refuge. Despite how freaked out I may have been when I realized what I was reading, Kate Brauning made me accept it enough to finish the book. She made me really care about Jackie and her intelligence and laughter. And Marcus and his strength and steadfastness. They deserved happiness, and after reading their story, I know they would only be happy together and I am glad they made it work. I only wish that I could have seen more. I always prefer a book to have an epilogue.

There was also a side-story about the disappearance of Jackie's best friend which accented the book with a bit of mystery. It was a nice addition and I really couldn't figure out what was going on. But it wasn't focused on that much, and the book would have still been able to carry itself as a contemporary romance without it.

As much as I appreciate being drawn into a story, this loses more than a star for the serious "ick" factor. Despite the taboo subject matter, this book was completely clean and YA appropriate. If you don't have a problem with the taboo nature of the story (I am sure those who have read Forbidden won't even bat an eye), I would recommend this to those who are looking for an emotional, angsty story. For those who enjoy a good, forbidden romance.

“You did this to me. You came here when I was fourteen and shy and you were the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. You kissed me, and you talked to me, and you made me love you.”

Sunday 2 November 2014

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (The Lynburn Legacy #3)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: September 23rd 2014
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

As coauthor with Cassandra Clare of the bestselling Bane Chronicles, Sarah Rees Brennan has mastered the art of the page-turner. This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.


This series is one of my absolute favourites. 5-stars across the board. It's just so unique. I really can't get over how unusual it was. It's so dark. And by dark I mean dark. The bad guys in this story are true evil. There is so much blood and death and destruction and pure greed and evil. Yet, at the same time, Kami is simply one of the best, smartest, funniest, and wittiest YA heroines I have ever read. She provides a balance that you need in order to handle all the darkness. This is one of those books where, when you try to list your favourites quotes, you find that you want to quote the whole book. 

Another thing I loved about this book was all the love. Kami and Jared's love is epic, but it wasn't the only focus. Everyone loved each other and were willing to sacrifice so much for each other. Kami loved Jared, but she also loved Ash and Rusty, in a different way. She never really gave her love for them a title, but it was probably more brotherly. Then of course she loved Angela and Holly, and her brothers and her parents, and everything she did was for them. If you have read this series, then you know exactly how much Rusty loved Angela and Kami. How much Angela loved Kami, and Rusty, and Holly. How much Jared loved Ash, and Holly, and Lillian. How much Lillian loved Ash and Jared. And how much Ash loved Jared, Lillian, and Kami. They forged such a large family together, through everything that they went through they became stronger.

As much as I love Kami and Jared's oddly epic love story, it's really everyone in this series as a whole that make me love it so much. All the characters, the way they fight for each other and what is right and what they believe in. The way that they handle the tragedies in their lives. How they never quit, they hang on to what they have and keep going. How they always look for the bright side, and even when they believe that they are all going to die, they still do what needs to be done. Despite the evil of the story, and the heartbreaking deaths, this series was uplifting and inspiring because of the courage of Kami and her friends and family. I will never forget it.

"Your name was the first word for love I ever knew."

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