Author Archives: Marieke

Little Wolf (A Beings in Love Story) by R. Cooper

LittleWolfFrom Dreamspinner:

On the run from his old-blood werewolf family, Tim Dirus finds himself in Wolf’s Paw, one of the last surviving refuges from the days when werewolves were hunted by humans and one of the last places Tim wants to be. Kept away from other wolves by his uncle, Tim knows almost nothing about his own kind except that alpha werewolves only want to control and dominate a scrawny wolf like him.

Tim isn’t in Wolf’s Paw an hour before he draws the attention of Sheriff Nathaniel Neri, the alphaest alpha in a town full of alphas. Powerful, intimidating, and the most beautiful wolf Tim has ever seen, Nathaniel makes Tim feel safe for reasons Tim doesn’t understand. For five years he’s lived on the run, in fear of his family and other wolves. Everything about Wolf’s Paw is contrary to what he thought he knew, and he is terrified. Fearing his mate will run, Sheriff Nathaniel must calm his little wolf and show him he’s more than a match for this big, bad alpha.

Marieke’s thoughts:
Tim, aka Little Wolf is on the run. He’s a wolf shifter but only half and that makes him smaller and weaker than most full wolf shifters. He came to Wolf’s Paw because someone he trusted sent him there. But the first day he arrived he made a foo out of himself with the Sheriff. Luckily Sheriff Neri is his mate, and a very powerful yet controlled wolf. He tries to show Tim that he can be patient and trustworthy.

Tim slowly gets used to Nathaniel, even starts to look forward to his visits to the café/ souvenir shop where Tim works. He’s still scared shitless though, and freaks out with every little thing that happens.
But when his room is breached by magic, he runs straight to Nathaniel––without knowing why. Nathaniel takes him home, stating can protect him better there.

Of course then the whole ‘starting to get to know each other’ begins, and Tim learns a lot about Nathaniel but also about himself. He lets himself shift for the first time in years, which is quite the victory for him. The sexual tension is overwhelming and the two end up having sex. But that’s not the end of the problems Tim has.

I loved how Nathaniel cares for Tim, even if I sometimes wished he’d just hurried up and claim the guy already. Tim is frustratingly slow in understanding anything to do with shifters, and I often wanted to hit him on the head. But when you hear his story, you understand why. He’s in denial and his brain won’t let him out of that.
It’s a slow burn book, and you really have to love that to be able to read this. I happen to do love it, so this book was great for me. If you like action and fast paced stories, you better skip this one though.

Little spoiler alert
In the end there is action, and suspense so you do get it. But you have to wait for it. Tim’s uncle, who you think is the evil bastard in this story, ends up kind of stealing my heart….kind of, because he’s still an ass. But, not an asshole like his right hand, who I truly wanted to end up dead…alas, that wish didn’t come true. Thank God he did get some sort of punishment.

In the end, this was a very pleasant read for me, even if it sometimes was a bit too frustrating that Tim was so clueless and Nathaniel so reluctant to force the issue. Another good story in this series that I adore.

Rating: 4

Food For Thought by Amy Lane

From Dreamspinner:FoodForThought

Emmett Gant was planning to tell his father something really important one Sunday morning—but his father passed away first. Now, nearly three years later, Emmett can’t seem to clear up who he should be with—the girl with the apple cheeks and the awesome family, or his snarky neighbor, Keegan, who never sees his family but who makes Emmett really happy just by coming over to chat.

Emmett needs clarity.

Fortunately for Emmett, his best friend’s mom has a cookbook that promises to give Emmett insight and good food, and Emmett is intrigued. After the cookbook follows him home, Emmett and Keegan decide to make the recipe “For Clarity,” and what ensues is both very clear—and a little surprising, especially to Emmett’s girlfriend. Emmett is going to have to think hard about his past and the really important thing he forgot to tell his father if he wants to get the recipe for love just right.

Marieke’s thoughts:

Emmett is dating a girl, a sweet, good looking girl that wants a serious relationship, just like Emmett does. She has the perfect family, and Emmett wants it all. Family is everything to Emmett, as he doesn’t have one of his own. He’s always been alone with his dad, who loved him but didn’t know how to communicate it. His best friend Vinnie–– who’s family lived next door to him when he was a kid–– is his substitute family. Vinnie’s mom is the only mom he’s ever had, and she sees him as one of her own kids. That’s why she gives him a mysterious cookbook after one of their family gatherings.

That day Vinnie and his mom both try to talk to Emmett about his girlfriend, and about how he never seems to look like a man in love. They hint about knowing he might have feelings for men, and it scares the hell out of Emmett. If he’s gay, he’ll never have the big family he craves.

Keegan is his neighbor, and a good friend. They hang out all the time, and Emmett can’t seem to put his girlfriend before Keegan, who’s openly gay. With a little help of the magical cookbook, Emmett finds clarity, but so does Keegan.

I have to say, this was the first time I read an Amy Lane book that didn’t blow me away. The plot idea was good, but the way it was worked out, wasn’t. It all felt very stilted and too unnatural. It just didn’t flow. Emmett wasn’t as likeable as I like my main characters. Keegan is great, but his role is too predictable.

Vinnie’s family is awesome but they too have only a small role in the story. They probably have a huge role in Emmett’s life though, so I kind of missed that part. And in the end it all happened just a little bit too easy and too fast. It could’ve been amazing, but now it was just so-so. I was very disappointed as I am an Amy fan, but I can’t give it more than three stars. It’s not a bad story, but it’s not great either. For a light read before bed it’s perfect, but not exciting.

Rating: 3

 

Morgan’s Thoughts

As usual Amy made me tear up when I read about the death of Emmett’s dad… God – this was supposed to be a light sweet book! Damn you Amy (shaking fist!).

But… of course that helps us to buy into Emmett’s lies and betrayals.

I loved the cooking part and the paranormal aspect to the receiving of said book… In general I’m digging this series as a whole.

Another win for the Queen of Angst!

5

Shaken Up by Nicole Forcine

ShakenUp

 

From Dreamspinner:

Tim Myers is the flamboyant and overly fastidious owner of the adult shop Little Earthquakes. In his spare time, he moonlights as a sub for his friend’s BDSM classes, and while he’d love to find a Dom to cater to his domestic servitude kink, he’s wary of exposing his body and his heart. When Jae Seong comes into Tim’s shop and asks him for help with a wax play demo, Tim is turned off by the idea. Jae is nothing if not persistent, though. He’s a skilled Dom and soon finds out why Tim is so protective of his body, his neck, and his heart. Over a series of play dates, the two grow close, and it dawns on Tim that he might be looking at a match made for collaring.

Marieke’s thoughts:

This story starts out very funny, with Tim helping a woman trying to convince her very straight man to take a dildo in the back door. Tim’s funny, helpful and very confident, but that’s only when it comes to his shop. In real life he’s scared and closed down––with good reason. He’s a sub but doesn’t want a Dom for himself, or so he tells himself. To get his nerves under control he sometimes helps David and Reggie––two friends who happen to be big bad Dom’s––to do demo’s for a local BDSM group.

In walks Jae, who’s a Dom but not one of the overly macho ones. Jae asks him to do a demo in wax play and somehow convinces him to not only do it but also practice a few times. David is the one to tell Tim that maybe Jae could be more than just a temporary play partner. Tim is scared but secretly a little excited.
When they do the practice scene, Tim and Jae connect and Tim finally tells Jae the story of why he’s so afraid.

The story started so funny that I was sure this was going to be one hell of a good story, but somewhere it went a bit askew. Not that it isn’t a good story, but it didn’t get to the great stage. The characters are all very likeable, the story line is great, the setting is wonderful, yet somehow it’s just not….awesome. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s pretty short and the author doesn’t go into the depths of feelings and situations. Whatever it is, I’m missing something.

I did enjoy the story. The connection between Jae and Tim is sweet and the kinky side of the book is very nice too. David and Reggie are funny Dom yenta’s and Gloria is the dirty minded best friend. The bad guy––who only gets talked about but never appears–– is a big bad Dom who scared Tim off pretty badly…but not bad enough.

All in all, this story was worth the read, but I won’t be rereading it, I think. A sweet short, with a dash of kink.

3

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate (A Beings In Love story) by R. Cooper

From DreamspinnerBeginnersGuidetoWooingYourMate[A]:

Zeki Janowitz has returned to his hometown of Wolf’s Paw to start his wizarding career. Unfortunately, Wolf’s Paw, a werewolf refuge, follows centuries of tradition and shuns human magic and a very human Zeki. He knows he’s in for a struggle, but a part of him has always belonged in the mountain town, or rather belonged to Theo Greenleaf. Years away at school haven’t lessened Zeki’s crush on the quiet werewolf. When town gossip informs him Theo still suffers from his mate’s rejection and does not date, it does little to ease Zeki’s embarrassing feelings. He decides now’s the time to get the man he’s always wanted.

Werewolves usually don’t recover from losing their mates, and Theo barely pulled through by focusing on his love of baking. It’s a daily struggle, and Zeki’s return to Wolf’s Paw shatters his peace. Theo doesn’t know what to think when Zeki attempts to woo him, talking about his wizarding business and settling in town for good. It’s like Zeki doesn’t have a clue how his words years before left Theo a shell of a werewolf.

Beginners in love, Theo and Zeki must seduce each other with a bit of heavenly baking and magic.

Marieke’s thoughts:

In the beginning of the story Zeki is not filled with a lot of confidence in himself. He knows he’s good at witchcraft, but his personality and looks have never been appreciated by the residents of Wolf’s Paw. The fact that he has magic is even more detested––or so he thinks. But during the story, Zeki meets some new people who don’t treat him badly, and don’t have problems with his magic. This makes him more self confident, which is great to read.

Zeki has no idea he’s the mate evil mate that rejected Theo, who everyone is talking about. In fact, he’s just as mad at the bloke as they are. So he tries to overcome his secret crush that makes him babble on and on, hoping to give Theo some comfort and friendship. Zeki has no clue why people suddenly start treating him as if he’s done a terrible deed again after he tells them the story of the one and only conversation between him and Theo in high school.

To be honest, Zeki was so clueless when it came to the mates stuff, I wanted to slap him. But I guess sometimes you close your eyes to the things that are too painful, or you keep thinking in circles and don’t see what’s right in front of you. That’s the only thing that kept me from being annoyed with Zeki in the second part of the book.

The first part of this story was very intense. I kept reading even when I really had to go to the bathroom, I kept putting it off because I didn’t want to stop reading. But the middle part got a bit confusing for me. The sentences became a bit chaotic, or they seemed to be for me at least. Zeki’s thoughts didn’t make a 100% sense anymore, but I got the gist of the things. He had so many conflicting thoughts, yet they all were kind of the same thing.
Anyhow, this was only a small part of the book and didn’t take away from the fact that the third book in this series is another hit for me. The third part of the book was another intensely emotional and romantic read. Zeki found out he was Theo’s mate and has a bit of a melt down. He takes some time for himself to think, while Theo tries to be patient and keep hope.

The bits where we read Theo’s POV are so sweet and endearing, I just want to hug him to pieces. The guy is so kindhearted and gentle, almost like a big teddy bear dressed as a wolf. His best friend is super funny, and his colleagues at the fire station are funny, a bit like Neanderthals when it comes to relationships, but caring nonetheless.

To make a long story short, this is a wonderful book. The middle was a bit out of my league (maybe because English isn’t my first language) but the ending was very satisfying. This series is one of my favorites, and I keep re-reading them.

Rating: 4.5

Hook, Line, & Sinker (Hard Hats #2) by Piper Vaughn

hooksinker

Hard Hats: Book Two

From Dreamspinner:

When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.

Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred. 

Marieke’s Review:

Blake has broken his leg in a stupid street hockey accident, leaving him sleeping in the couch at his mother’s. He’s frustrated and irritated by sitting inside doing nothing all day. But when his mother tells him Cas has moved into the house across the street, he doesn’t feel inclined to go over there and say hello. Cas used to be this bratty, annoying, smart-mouthed know-it-all, who he clashed with every summer. And he liked to forget that Cas had been way more attractive than Blake had wanted to admit at the time.

Cas doesn’t have to travel as much for his job anymore, so he’s able to move into his grandmother’s house. He’s thinking about remodeling, to update the outdated kitchen and bathroom. This gives his grandmother and Blake’s mother the perfect opportunity to interfere and meddle. They get Blake to go over to Cas’s place for a estimation of the work, but Cas has no idea he was coming.

Even knowing they’ve been frenemies all they teenage years, they get along great now. They go out camping and fishing, watch movies and eat pizza’s together. On the first camping/fishing trip, Blake sees Cas jerk off before going to sleep. One thing leads to another and a very––and I mean VERY––steamy hot, sex scene happens.

From there one, the story revolves a little bit too much about the sex, and not enough on the way a relationship grows. Both men develop feelings for the other, despite them trying not to. I would’ve loved to see a bit more of that, instead of reading it between the lines.

Don’t get me wrong here, the sex is amazing. The men are both very likable in their own way, and I love the fact that they used to be frenemies. It’s just that it gets a bit predictable and almost a bit boring at times. Blake could’ve thought about going to see Cas in Denver, where he’s working on an difficult account. When his mother finally suggests it, it’s almost too easy.

The trouble between them is kind of predictable too, but the way the author lets the fight develop, when Blake goes home, the silence and Blake’s fear… that part I loved. The ending is sweet, yet not completely fulfilling. It’s almost like an afterthought, so short. Cas’s way of finally communicating again, is very romantic though…

The first book in this series was more exciting, had more angst and emotions. But this was definitely not a bad book at all. I liked it a lot.

3.5

Buy from Amazon

Blue Days by Mary Calmes

Optimized-Blue daysFalling for a coworker is rarely a good idea, especially for a man getting a last chance at salvaging his career. But from the moment Dwyer Knolls sees the beautiful but socially awkward Takeo Hiroyuki, he seems destined to make bad decisions.

Takeo’s life is a string of failed attempts to please his traditional Japanese father. Unfortunately, succeeding in business turns out to be just as difficult for Takeo as changing from gay to straight. In fact, the only thing Takeo seems to truly excel at is taking notice of Dwyer Knolls.

When Dwyer and Takeo head to Mangrove, Florida on a real estate buying trip, their tentative friendship combusts and becomes much more. Is their sudden connection real enough to bank their futures on, or should they chalk the whole thing up to the daze inspired by the blue ocean breeze?

Marieke’s Review:

Dwyer thinks he’s about to lose his job, but then is give a new partner. Mak is hilarious and they are a perfect team. But Mak is not the only new colleague Dwyer gets. Takeo Hiroyuki is Dwyer’s dream man, but he has no idea is the man is gay. He starts to talk and ‘play’ with Takeo.

Takeo is Japanese, and doesn’t get the whole social conversation thing. He takes everything too literal and is a perfectionist to the littlest detail. He’s all business and no pleasure to everyone but Dwyer. His colleagues start calling him the Ice Prince.

Then one day Dwyer has to go to Florida for business, but instead of Mak, Takeo comes along. The trip changes everything, their relationship, their jobs and their ideals for the future.

**

Mary Calmes is not my favorite author… Yes I know, people will be shocked and all that, but that’s just my taste. I did, however, liked this book a whole lot. The only thing I would’ve changed was the length. If it was longer, the part from friends to lovers could’ve been worked out better.

I love Takeo. Dwyer is sweet and funny, but in this story Takeo stole my heart. He’s so clueless and socially awkward, I just had to love him. His father is––predictably–– the asshole here, and I was very happy that the two men move on without remorse.

But this bit could have been more angty too. More confrontation, and maybe even a bit of a rough spot with the new B&B, because dad was making it hard for them. But, as it is a novella, this was not annoying or anything.

It was a heart-warming story with lots of humor. It’s definitely something the Mary fans will adore, as did I.

Rating: 4