Kit Rocha-The Devil You Know

It is a known fact that I love Kit Rocha books. The two talented ladies behind the books have written some of the most aggressively feminist books I’ve ever read, really well balanced with strong female characters and strong male characters. The Beyond books, which I often describe as fucking to save the world, is dystopic and post-apocalyptic. The Mercenary Librarian series, which is so far only 2 books, The Devil You Know is the second, takes place in the same world as those books, but in Atlanta, instead of out West, like the Beyond books. You don’t have to have read the Beyond books to know what is going on in this series, but you do need to read the Mercenary Librarians in order.

Our prime couple in this book are Maya and Gray. They have both been modified by Techcorps. Gray has had implants put in his brain and was turned into a super soldier and sniper. That’s why he’s one of the members of the Silver Devils. Maya’s brain has been messed with, and she has perfect recall. PERFECT. RECALL. As in, if she had a lover who was tortured in front of her, she would never be able to forget it. She was used as a data courier by one of the VPs of Techcorps. The VP, Birgitte, put all of her secrets into Maya’s head. Everything is in Maya’s head, including the revolution that Birgitte was fomenting. When Birgitte was “promoted”, Maya escaped Techcorps, faked her death, and met Nina and Dani.

Now, years after that, her little group of friends has swelled from just Nina and Dani to also include the Silver Devils, including Gray. She’s always totally aware of Gray. She likes him, but she’s worried. That’s because for most of her life, Maya has been told that data couriers’ brains will basically break down because of all the stimulation that gets absorbed into their brains. She works really hard at keeping the stimulation low so that she doesn’t waste any of the time that she has left. But Gray. He tempts her so much. She wants him. She likes him.

Gray has his own secrets. One of them is that his implants are failing. His life is counted in months, if not weeks. But he has such strong feelings for Maya. He really wants to get closer to her, but he doesn’t really want to leave her and he really doesn’t want her to fall in love with him and then have to suffer after his death. But there’s just something about her. He has to be around her, protect her, and help her. In fact, he trains her in a new technique that Maya ends up being really good at, and loving a lot.

I really like both of these characters. They are both really strong. They each have their own weaknesses, I mean, they are human. No human is perfect, not even super soldiers. The thing is, neither Gray nor Maya take advantage of the other’s weaknesses. Instead, they prop each other up in those weak places. They each help the other be a better them. They don’t make each other complete, because both Maya and Gray are complete on their own, but what they do is make the other more. It’s like 1+1=2.5, not just 2. They are better together than they are apart. And I think that is beautiful. That is one of the things that I really like about Kit’s books. Yes, the characters have growth to do, and they might not be the healthiest, mentally, but each character is complete in themselves, or is becoming that way. They don’t need to have a partner to complete themselves, and the relationships make each person better, not whole. Does that make sense? It really does in my head.

The romance in this one is a slow burn, but it fits for Maya and Gray. The story, though, that isn’t a slow burn. We do get glimpses into other people’s heads, with their own chapters. I really like that, because it does let us see more of what is going on. I can’t wait for the next book. It’s going to be so good.

OK, that’s it for today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Ava Sinclair-Daddy’s Home

I am always down to read one of Ava’s Daddy books. I love how well she writes the couple and their stories. So, when I saw Daddy’s Home, I was all like sign me right the fuck up, yes, please and thank you. And, as always, I really enjoyed the story.  I do have to say that there were parts of it that were hard for me to read, for reasons. I’ll get to them.

Here’s our story. Gage has just returned from a tour in the Sandbox. He’s a member of the National Guard. He wants to serve, but he didn’t want to go the full military route. His best friend and neighbor joined up with him. However, things happen, and well, he didn’t come home. Gage was right there when he died, and ended up with a concussion and a discharge. All he wants to do is to get home to his wife and baby girl, Poppy. He’s going to put everything else behind him, and lock it in a teeny, tiny box and throw away the key. That’s what he has done with everything else bad that has ever happened.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, literally, Poppy has been holding down the fort, working for the local vet as his assistant, and doing all the adult kind of things that need to be done. She loves her job, she is proud of herself for all the things that she’s learned how to do, and she’s so happy that her Daddy is coming home. He’s ready to get back to the life they had before he got deployed, including having her stay home as a housewife.

But, life never stays the same, and what worked before his deployment doesn’t necessarily work now. Plus, Poppy and Gage aren’t the same people now as they were before his deployment too.

OK, here’s where we get to the part that made it hard for me to read sometimes. My dad served 2 tours in Vietnam and Things happened. He came home different. Not that I knew him before or anything, but people who knew him before say that. He spent the rest of his life fighting with PTSD. It wasn’t until later in his life, and by later I mean the early 2000s, that he finally got the right treatment, and the change was huge. So Gage’s struggles hit very close to home. PTSD isn’t something that just affects the person who has it, it affects their entire family. Anyway, there’s that.

So, I mostly like Gage. I like him a lot more in the last few pages of the book, I think. There were times that I wanted to walk into the book and smack the everloving shit out of him. I worked hard to remember that he was dealing with PTSD and trying to put his life back together, but still.

I really like Poppy. I think that she is really strong. I can relate to some of the stuff the vet said to her. I’m glad that she had someone who was outside the situation and who could advise her. I would not have wanted to be her. There was just too much for her to have to deal with.

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Dogs are good. Doggos are very good.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

2019 Round Up-Top 10 MM Books Pt. 1

I’ve read MM for years, but this year, it seemed to ramp up even more. It ramped up enough that I’m giving it its own Top 10 list this year. Remember, these are in no particular order.

K. Webster-Wicked Lies Boys Tell

Once a year or so, K writes an amazingly, overwhelmingly emotional book that rips you apart and puts you back together. Her books My Torin and The Day She Cried fall into this category. So does Wicked Lies Boys Tell. This is a friends to enemies to lovers kind of story with some coming of age tossed in. The relationship between Penn and Cope is beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. I will fully admit that there were times that I cried during this. K really just knows how to create characters that break me down and stick with me for a while.

Nicky James-Long Way Home

Long Way Home was beautiful and devastating. It’s the story of Gavin and Owen. They were high school sweethearts, but when they turned 18, they ended up being split up, and the story spans many years of their lives. We get to see what happens to each of them. It sounds like it could be nothing but a heartbreak, but I promise that it’s not. It really is a beautiful story. It was the first Nicky James book that I read, but not the last.

Susan Hawke-How to Heal

Susan Hawke is also Susi Hawke, but she writes contemporary under this name. Her first series was the Lovestrong series, and How to Heal was the last book in that series. It’s a great series, with a lot of humor and love. There is also a lot of pain, especially in this book. This is my favorite book in the series. It’s a hurt/comfort, redemption, Daddy/boy kind of book, and it works so perfectly together. Clark had been a bully in the first couple of books, but this one takes place several years later, after he has changed, but he still thinks that he has to pay a penance for what he did. His journey is a hard one, but a beautiful one. I have all these books signed, and I ARCed most of them. How to Heal is also the book I’m currently listening to in my car when I’m alone. I’ve read it at least 2xx this year.

Lucy Lennox-Wilde Love

Lucy Lennox has two main series that she’s written. They are the Made Marian and the Forever Wilde books. The two series are interconnected. Marian came first, but I read the Wilde books first and I fell in love with Grandpa and Doc, because it’s totally impossible not to. I, like all of Lucy’s readers, was desperate to find out all of their story, and thus Wilde Love was born. I own both an e and an audio copy of this. I took a mini-vacation this year and listened to this on my drive. It starts with when the guys first meet, during Vietnam while they were both serving, and runs through the current day. There are so many beautiful little moments in here and so many heartbreaking ones at the same time, and sometimes they are the same moments. This book made me just love Grandpa and Doc so much more.

Alice Winters-The Hitman’s Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love

I laughed hysterically the whole time I read The Hitman’s Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love. Leland is a hitman, no really, a real hitman, and Jackson is the PI who is trying to help catch him. Leland is so fucking snarky and may or may not have a gun fetish. I mean, honestly, Alice writes a damn good story that keeps you interested, while letting you laugh at the most ridiculous stuff possible. I swear that Leland just has no filter at all, and it’s glorious.

Tune in for part 2 tomorrow!

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Nicky James-Long Way Home

Guys, this one made me all teary more than once. Long Way Home is a really emotional book and a helluva journey. It is intense, loving, draining, fulfilling, and just devastatingly good.

The book follows the story of Gavin and Owen from the time they meet as teenagers all the way through current day. I think it’s a 15 year span. Gavin is one of the stars of their high school football team, works for his dad in his vet’s office, and is planning on being a vet himself when he grows up. He’s happy, outgoing, and enthusiastic. Then we have Owen, who is much quieter and reserved. He’s not an athlete, but works for the school newspaper, and he’s planning on being a journalist when he grows up. He has been assigned to interview Gavin for the school paper. They both end up fascinated with each other, and over the rest of the school year, Owen keeps coming up with ideas for articles so that he can meet with Gavin.

At the end of the school year, Gavin invites Owen to his birthday party, and the rest is history. Or the beginning. They spend their senior year dating, but don’t tell anyone, because Owen is positive his parents will kick out. The football team knows, but none of them actually care. In fact, Lorenzo and Ollie become great friends to Owen, as well as Gavin. Two weeks before graduation, things happen, and Gavin ends up in the Marines and Owen ends up at Michigan State University, studying journalism.

This story starts in 2004, I think. That’s during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and it was really bad in the sandbox. So, you know that’s it’s going to be hard on Gavin. The stories we get from his time in boot camp are bad, but then we get stories from when he goes on deployment. What Gavin goes through is heart-wrenching and terrible, on so many levels, just so many.

Of course, it’s not easy on Owen either. The way that things go down is so hard on him, and he’s devastated. It’s like his insides have been pulled out through his nose and then hot sauce has been rubbed on the empty spaces.

We get glimpses of the lives that Owen and Gavin are leading while they are apart. They aren’t necessarily happy lives, but they aren’t completely terrible lives either. They each make friends, and have their good times and their bad times. But through it all, there is one thing that they both still have, and that’s the connection they have to each other, even if they don’t see each other. That connection is just visceral and raw and passionate and as unbreakable as vibranium. It’s an amazing thing to witness.

This book does deal with issues around PTSD, but since you are dealing with a Marine who has been through several tours of hell, PTSD is to be expected. Nicky handles it really well. There is no glorification or glamorization of it. You just get the straight, raw, grittiness of it. It’s really honest and unflinching and even maybe uncomfortable at times, but it’s excellent.

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I hate Gavin’s father and uncle. Just totally flat out hate them so much. Die in a fiery crash and drown in a lake of hellfire kind of hate.

I love Lorenzo. His fate made me cry.

OK, that’s all for me. Go check it out. Happy reading!

L.V. Lane-Taking Control

I think that at this point I could comfortably be called an Omegaverse connoisseur. I’ve read a good chunk of what’s available on Amazon, in whatever gender configurations I can. I haven’t read a lot of fanfic yet, for reasons. It’s on my list of things to do, but if you saw my list, you might faint away dead. So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, today is a new MF Omegaverse, by a brand new author. L.V. Lane has decided to jump right in their very first published book, ever, Taking Control.

I’m going to tell you right now, I have much to say about this one, so let’s just jump right in.

Copper’s Virus has given a chunk of humanity the A/B/O dynamics, but in this universe, it’s more than just those three. There are other dynamics as well, like Mus, but we don’t see any of those, I really hope that we do in further books, I think it would be really interesting to explore the expanded dynamics. Anyway, there are some people who ended up with dynamics thanks to this created virus, and then there are the Uncorrupted. They pride themselves on being uninfected by the virus. And the two groups of humanity are at war with each other, and it’s not a pretty war. Of course, no war is, but I get the feeling that for the Uncorrupted, it’s almost more like a holy war than anything else.

In the middle of this war, we have Eloise, who is an Omega Singular, and Logan, who is going to be her Alpha controller. Singulars have additional powers on top of having their dynamics. In Eloise’s case, she can read the emotions of people if she touches them or drops her mental shields around them. If she has something of someone’s she can feel their emotions and find them. She’s been called in on a mission because an important diplomat and his family have gone missing on a war-torn planet and he has some very important and sensitive information. That means that they have to go rescue him. So, Eloise was called in, and since she needs to have a controller, enter Logan.

Logan is a war hero, and he’s been offered the chance to be a controller for a Singular. In order to do that, he had to fight a whole bunch of other Alphas. It’s basically a training exercise with benefits, or so his CO tells him. And since the person who he fought for is a female Omega, guess what those benefits are?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am really grooving on the whole dynamics from a virus thing instead of an inborn kind of thing. It’s one I haven’t seen before, but one I really like. I also really enjoyed the fact that the Omegas get deployed and go into war. Of course, that’s also kind of a double-edged sword. They have to have controllers who control them, and for control, read fuck and discipline, and they don’t get to choose those controllers. The Omegas don’t have a lot of rights in the world, and they are getting fewer and fewer.

I liked Eloise and how conflicted she was. Everything seemed to weigh very heavily on her, and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do from one moment to the next. I like Logan too. I think he’s a pretty good guy. We do get some peeks into his head, but mostly we only see Eloise’s head. Each chapter is headed by quotes from a doctor who is an expert in Copper’s so that was really fascinating to read.

Now, having said that, there were a couple of things that I would’ve liked to have more of. For example, I would really like to have more information about investing. We learn more about Singulars as the book goes on, but we never really find as much about investing. I would like to find out more about it. I’m pretty sure that I can get a basic idea, but I would’ve liked to have more.

I’m really looking forward to the next one and to seeing what LV Lane is going to do with the world. I don’t think I really have any spoilers today, but I have a picture for you.

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Zoe Blake-Defying Him

I am always down for Zoe Blake and her particular flavors of darkness. She always brings us a fun treat to read, one where we can enjoy the story and enjoy the sex. She’s done it again with Defying Him.

Unlike her last couple books, we aren’t getting a dark Daddy Dom. This time we get a hot man in a Marine uniform. Which, yes please. Have you ever seen those boys in the full get up? OMG, lick them like a lollipop. OK, where were we?

So, Phoebe is an investigative journalist. She specializes in going undercover and getting her story. She’s damn good at it. When she gets to work, her boss tells her that he has a new job for her. There are have been some strange murders at a military acadmy, and she is the perfect person to go in and find out what’s going on. Her boss thinks that the Navy may be hiding something, and he wants to know for sure. He sets her up an ID as an associate professor in English and sends her in.

Michael is the new commandant of the academy. It’s his job to find out what is going on at the school. No one else has been able to pin down the murderer and he’s going to improve the security. When his secretary, who doesn’t really approve of him, sends in the new English professor, Michael immediately tries to send her home. He’s trying to scare her off because she looks just like the other women who were murdered, sadly, Phoebe is not the type to be intimidated easily.

The first chapter of this book is awesomely creepy as fuck. How many of you remember the 1, 2, Freddy’s Coming For You chant that came out of Nightmare of Elm Street? Yeah, that scared the piss out of me when I was young, but it really set the atmosphere. That’s what this chapter does. It totally sets the scene of the entire book. This is a suspense/murder mystery/thriller/erotic romance kind of thing. And it’s really good. It isn’t a real instlove, so much as instalust that builds quick.

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The killer was creepy. The reasoning behind it was just creepier.

I got a little mad at Phoebe’s boss for sending her into a situation that was very dangerous, since she looked just like the other victims. However, she probably would’ve have done it even if she hadn’t waited until she got there to see the victims’ pix. She’s stubborn that way.

OK, that’s all for this one. Happy reading!

Maggie Ryan-Daddy Commands

Maggie Ryan has written some utterly delicious stories. I enjoy reading her stuff. She’s shown up in several anthologies I’ve read and/or own. I also have several of her books in my library. So, today, she had a new one drop, Daddy Commands. And it’s as good as I expect anything I read of Maggie’s. (almost put the wrong book link on there! Yikes! Good thing I always double-check.)

I’m betting that with a title like Daddy Commands that you can tell that it’s a DD/lg book. Although, it’s not the most Daddy Dom book I’ve ever read. In the book, it’s explained that Hannah calls Brett Daddy because as a Major in the Army, he gets called Sir all the time and Daddy would be something special that’s just theirs. I think that makes a lot of sense and it does make the Daddy term have more meaning. When you are called Sir all the time by people around you, I would expect it would lose its impact.

OK, here’s the story, morning glory. Hannah and Brett have been married a year. Brett is a Major in the Army, Hannah is an Army wife. She has jumped into that life with both feet. She’s joined every committee, signed up for every everything, and managed to end up either doing everything on her own or doing all the work anyway. She has a whole bunch of things that are in various levels of doneness. Her house and husband are starting to fall by the wayside. She’s stressed out to the max. Hannah goes to Brett, says oh hey, dear, can you help me? He’s all like yeah, babe, I can totally help you.

Together, they come up with an agreement and enter into a Domestic Discipline relationship. That means that Brett will set out rules and establish consequences. There are also other things when it comes to sex. They also set up a Maintenance Night. Those are nights that happen on the same night each week. Brett will give Hannah a spanking every week, whether or not she’s earned it, to help keep everything working out well.

Anyway, that agreement starts on their anniversary, which happens to be a Friday, which happens to also be their Maintenance Night. When they are out for their wedding anniversary dinner, Hannah is disrespectful to Brett and he tells her to take off her panties. (Hawt, right?) She keeps going and he reminds her of their agreement, and she keeps digging a hole. When they get in the car, Hannah thinks that she’s figured it out, Brett’s just playing a super-sexy game with her. Except… Whoops, he wasn’t. And she figured that out pretty damn quick.

The next morning, she figured out that he was going to make her exercise every day. And I mean, who increases their runs by a 1/2 mile a day? Well, a Major in the Special Forces I guess. Anyway, he got her up and running and exercising daily, and blowjobs if she wasn’t ready on time, so win/win for him?

OK, you know what time it is. I loved Brett and Hannah. He really cared about her so much, and he really wanted her to be all that she could be (in the Arrrmy) (am I the only one who remembers that commercial?), and he pushed her to do that and supported her in her choices. Brett also helped her figure out what she could and couldn’t do and helped her figure out how to delegate and how to see how her actions made others feel. You could tell that everything he did came from a place of very deep love for Hannah. You can see why Hannah is doing all that she is. She’s trying to support Brett and help his career. She figures if she’s the PERFECT ARMY WIFE ™, it will help Brett get further in his career. But… Great story, some fantastic sex scenes, great romance and relationship, and strong characters. Go check it out.

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The whole garden store and gardening adventure is just super cute, super romantic, and in the Garden of Eden, super hot. I swear to heaven, I will NEVER look at zucchini the same way again. Ever.

I have friends who ran a mudder run. I know from them how hard they are, so the fact that Hannah managed to run one with her friends and with Brett is pretty cool. I love how she handled some of the obstacles. I actually laughed loudly about it. My husband asked why, and he just rolled his eyes when I told him why. He’s a silly man. I also loved that Hannah decided to do that on her own, without Brett pushing her, and that she wanted to surprise him with it. The fact that he had helped her get her life more under control let her make friends who could help her with getting ready and the confidence to know that she could. I loved that. You won’t see me on one of those runs, and if you do see me running, be scared because it’s the end of the world, but good for Hannah!

OK, that’s all for today. Really, go read this book. It’s a good book and you will like it.

Lilly Holden-The SEAL’s Secret Baby

This is the second week that we have a Lilly Holden story showing up on my humble blog. We have two more weeks of them, so I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am. Yeah, you may think that they aren’t my normal fare, and they aren’t, but they are nice candy for my brain, which I often need. Quick reads, guaranteed HEA, and main characters that end up head over heels in love? And oh yeah, sex scenes that steam up the page? Is there anything better when you need something to relax your brain?

So, this is going to be a short blog, since The SEAL’s Secret Baby is pretty short. I read it in under an hour, I think. I was actually a smidgeon disappointed in how short it was. I would have loved to see more Deke and Sophie.

Two and a half years ago, Deke retired from the SEALs and buried his father, all in the same week. The night of the funeral, his long-time love and dream girl, Sophie, brings him a lasagna. They end up having one glorious night of passion. They both knew it was going to be only one night because Deke was headed out to Denver to work with his SEAL team in private security.

Fast forward 2.5 years and Deke has to go back to his hometown to sell his father’s house. He needs to go there and do some work to fix the house. The one consolation he has is that Sophie’s parents, who lived across the street, had sold their house and moved, meaning he will be able to avoid Sophie since no one in the family has talked to him since that night. What Deke doesn’t know is that Sophie is the one who bought the house, and that’s not the only surprise that Sophie is hiding.

OK, our paths are diverging in the woods here. Like I said, I enjoyed the story, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a nice, straight-forward, guaranteed HEA. I am looking forward to the next 2, since they deal with the rest of the SEAL team. Actually, I’m not even going to have a spoiler section. I do love Deke and his protectiveness over what’s his. I’m still going to post a picture of a cute baby.

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Lilly Holden-Bad Boy SEAL

With all the very dark and twisted stuff I’ve been reading lately, I decided that it would be nice to intersperse some lighter, sweeter, more straight-forward romance. It’s nice to mix it up a bit. That way I don’t get burnt out on any one thing. So, to that end, I ended up signing up for 4 books from Lilly Holden, with a nice group of a former SEAL team as the good guys. The first one is Bad Boy SEAL.

Charlie left Chicago to move to a small town in Texas after her mother died. She had a cousin there, so it made sense to do it. Charlie doesn’t see her cousin much since he spends a lot of time in his office doing his computer kind of stuff. She is working as a waitress at a diner, trying to figure out to do with the rest of her life. One day, 4 big guys come into her restaurant for lunch.

Jake is a former SEAL. He now does contract work for a friend. He and his team are in BFE Texas on a job. Their mark has a cousin named Charlie who they’ve decided to use. The problem? Their intel doesn’t say that Charlie is short for Charlotte. When Jake sees her, he knows that she is meant to be his.

This is a short story. It only took me around an hour or so to read it. It’s an instalove story, with a virgin, and an HEA. Those aren’t my normal fare, but like I said, I wanted to mix it up a bit. There’s nice fun, hot, and kinky sex. It has a bit of action tossed into the mix too, which is always nice. And since there is a pretty picture here, you know this is where you get to make your choice.

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Not a big picture, but hey, he’s pretty, so we can live with it, right? That’s OK, I don’t have a lot of anything else to say, just because anything else I say about this is going to end up being a spoiler.

There are reasons why Jake and his team are targeting Charlie’s cousin and we’ll learn more about them. I think that if Jake had shared a little more with Charlie, maybe some of the conflict wouldn’t have happened, but I can get why he didn’t.

So, that’s all there is today. There isn’t anything tomorrow, because of the holiday. I may not even get on my computer. For all the USicans, have a nice Thanksgiving. For everyone else, have a nice Thursday! Meanwhile, happy reading!