Review: Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

In Age of Myth, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan launched readers on an epic journey of magic and adventure, heroism and betrayal, love and loss. Now the thrilling saga continues as the human uprising is threatened by powerful enemies from without—and bitter rivalries within.

Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits—an enemy as surprising as it is deadly.

My feelings for Age of Swords in a nutshell: good, but not as good as Age of Myth, and that’s because all the myth is gone.

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Review: Oversight by Santino Hassell

30364801Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

Something that’s weird: Santino Hassell is my favorite romance writer, but even though I liked the first book of his The Community series, I went into Oversight 100% expecting to not like it that much, but surprise!, I actually enjoyed this one far more than Insight.

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Review: House of Cards by Garrett Leigh

34093924Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.

Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.

Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.

This book didn’t work for me.

Which sucks, because I’ve heard good things about this author and have been meaning to read something by them for a long, long time. I’m choosing to believe this one might simply not be for me, since I intend to check out their other books at some point.

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Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

34346381New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

It’s no secret that Santino Hassell is my favorite romance writer, right? So when I heard he was publishing a sports romance book, I was thrilled. For someone who doesn’t like sports all that much, I’m especially fond of romance books featuring athletes, so a sport romance book + my favorite author was just the combination I needed.

Illegal Contact was a fun, delightful read. It’s not my favorite Hassell book (Concourse/Interborough/Sunset Park are), but all the stuff I came to like in this author’s books are back: complicated characters, good writing and, more importantly (at least to me), relationships that make sense. That’s the one thing I look for in romance books: relationships where I can see why the characters are together and why they came to like each other. Illegal Contact excels at this.

I think the main reason this one didn’t become a favorite is that I didn’t relate with the characters that much and I kinda need this to really love a book. I do think I’m going to like the second book, Down by Contact, much more. I loved the little of Simeon we saw here in Illegal Contact and now I can’t wait to read his book.

In conclusion, Illegal Contact is a really good story with complex, well developed characters and a wonderful relationship. Definitely recommended. 4.0 stars.

Review: The Loveless Princess by Lilian Bodley

34608556Princess Anette doesn’t love her fiancé, Prince Everett, and despite constant assurances from everyone around her, knows she never will. It’s not that he’s terrible, it’s simply that she doesn’t love anyone, or want to be with anyone, the way the rest of the world says she should.

But princesses must marry princes. She’s expected to have her proper happily ever after. So Annette tries her best to be happy in her new life—until she catches her husband with the stable boy, and in a moment of anger wishes Prince Everett would just disappear.

And then he does.

Boy, do I have Thoughts(tm) on this book.

Full disclosure: I’m aroace and I think the author is also aroace. So there is that. Also: spoilers ahead.

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Review: Caught! by JL Merrow

34747619Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex–public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.

Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean away—but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.

This book was so much fun.

For many reasons, but the main one is the protagonist, Robert. He’s pretty unique and interesting, and I absolutely loved his voice. Reading this story from his perspective made the whole thing more…. well, fun. He’s not your average m/m romance MC and I liked reading about him/liked seeing this story from his POV.

Sean, the love interest, was an interesting character too, but he didn’t captivate me as well as Robert. The secondary characters were also awesome, especially Rose, Robert’s best friend, Sean’s twin nephews and some of Robert’s students. They brought the story to whole new level and protagonized some of the most funny moments in Caught!

The one thing that bothered me, though, were the… weird? comments about Sean being bisexual or random comments about someone looking or not looking trans. That was just… so unnecessary and brought literally nothing to the story. What was the point of it? None. It was certainly not funny.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue this series (kinda because of these comments, to be honest), but Caught! was a fun read. 4.0 stars.

The Other Five Percent by Quinn Anderson

34857690Logan Vanderveer has a joke he’s been telling since college: he’s ninety-five percent straight. He did some experimenting in school, but none of the men he fooled around with inspired him to abandon “the plan”: meet a nice girl, get married, and settle down, just like his parents always said.

None of them except Ellis Floyd, who aroused desires and feelings that scared Logan. So much so that he abandoned their burgeoning relationship just as it might have become something. But four years later, Ellis is back, and Logan finds himself questioning his sexuality in a big way.

Ellis doesn’t fit into Logan’s plan. He’s happy being a starving artist, whereas Logan has sold his soul to corporate America. Ellis is ripped jeans, and Logan is tailored suits. And, most notably, Ellis is out. But seeing him again is dredging up memories—like how it feels to kiss Ellis, and that time they almost went all the way. With chemistry like theirs, Logan isn’t sure he can—or should—keep ignoring the other five percent.

I got an e-ARC of this book through Netgalley.

Well, this one was disappointing.

I can’t even begin to explain why it was disappointing because… well, nothing about it worked for me, which was a (very sad) surprise. Even thought I hated the ending of Hotline by the same author, that book had awesome writing and really interesting characters. Reading it was pleasant, fun. But reading The Other Five Percent was almost painful.

First, because it’s too short. There is no time to develop the characters & their relationship, no time to really get to know them. Second, what we get to know about the characters isn’t that interesting. Logan and Ellis have no depth and I couldn’t care less about them & their past relationship.

But what made me really dislike this book was how condescending Ellis was about Logan’s sexuality. Now, don’t get me wrong: I completely understand why Ellis was angry because he had every right to be, but there is line between being pissed off your ex-boyfriend won’t even admit he likes men and using his denial to be condescending about his sexuality with other people in front of said ex-boyfriend. The whole thing was so unnecessary it was a bit cringey.

Logan’s eureka moment about wanting to be with Ellis/accepting he’s bi also came out of nowhere, so I also can’t blame Ellis for not believing it at first. Honestly, this book had no payoff whatsoever and was almost completely unsatisfying.

There’s also been criticism of this book’s title by bisexual readers.

2.0 stars for The Other Five Percent.