Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

352 pages
Reading Group Read


Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

My Review

Decades ago, when I was still in primary school so definitely no older than 12, I wrote a paper about the Trojan War, using a book about Greek Myths and Legends as my source. I don’t have the book anymore, but I remember it well because it was the first time I read one of my mother’s books…an adult book.

More than 40 years have passed since I wrote that paper and to say my memories of the stories I read back then is limited would be a gross understatement. In fact, what while I perfectly remember loving those stories, most of the details in them have long since evaporated from my memory.

Having said that, I did remember enough about Achilles to know that he was an almost immortal half-god who still managed to get himself killed during the Trojan war. I can’t say I remembered anything about his companion, Patroclus though; not before I read A Song of Achilles, not while I was mesmerized by that story, and not now that I’ve finished the book. And, since I don’t have access to my Mother’s book anymore (and can’t for the life of me remember what it was called) I can’t check if I don’t remember him because he just wasn’t there or because my memory is faulty. 😊

But yes, it’s fair to say that I picked this book for my Reading Group because of my love of the Greek myths. And it is more than fair to say that after reading Song of Achilles that love has turned a bit stronger than it always was. Having said that, what I loved about this book was the all too human love story between Achilles and Patroclus as they moved from an unlikely but unbreakable friendship to the sort of relationship dreams are made of.

Not that the book diminishes the mythical side of their story. The weird, wonderful, and cruel ways of the Gods play a huge role in this book. How could they not when one of our heroes is the son of a water nymph, when a cyclops tutors Achilles and Patroclus, and the various Greek Gods go out of their way to influence the outcome of the war.

But, despite the myths, the magic, the impossible feats of fighting, what stood out for me in this book was the love between Achilles and Patroclus. The half-god prince and the exiled nobody made such a beautiful pair. Patroclus’ love for Achilles was breath taking right from the start. Since the book is mostly told from Patroclus’ point of view it isn’t until the very end of the story that we discover to what extent Achilles returns that feeling.

For me this book had everything a good read requires: a thrilling story-line, a mesmerizing love story, tension, heartbreak, and redemption. Of course, I couldn’t call this story a romance; in order to ‘earn’ that label the two main characters need to have reached their happily ever after by the time the story ends.

Although…I guess it all depends on your definition of ‘happily’ because the ‘ever after’ is never in doubt.

All in all this was, for me, a wonderful book to celebrate our first centenary of book discussions.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Pride & Protection (Southern Boys #2) by K.C. Wells

259 pages

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Goodreads link: Pride & Protection


What happens when an out-and-proud bear moves to a small Tennessee town, and takes a shine to the closeted cop?

Fireworks, that’s what.

When Del Walters agrees to go into business with his brother, he has one condition. Since he’s putting up the lion’s share, they’ll run the bike shop his way—and that means he gets to choose the name. And in a small Tennessee town, a business called Rainbow Racers, complete with a not-so-subtle sign, was always going to attract attention.

Unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind of attention, and after a few incidents, Del is forced to call on the local police to deal with the culprits. 

When Officer Taylor Cox walks into his shop, Del thinks Christmas has come early. An earlier encounter with the younger man left Del with a growing desire to know more about him. There’s only one problem—Taylor is in the closet, and there’s no way Del is going back into his.

When Taylor lays eyes on the sexy bear who owns the bike shop, he knows he’s walking into trouble. Not that he’s about to let Del know he’s interested: his view from the closet is just fine, thank you very much, and besides, that ship has already sailed, thanks to their first meeting. Now all he wants to do is forget Del even exists. But as time goes by, Taylor realizes how badly he is torn between protecting the persona he’s created, and giving in to his desires. And Del making it obvious that he wants Taylor isn’t helping matters.

Between an out-and-proud bear and a firmly closeted cop, something has to give. Problem is, it might be their hearts.


If you’ve read Truth & Betrayal (and if you haven’t, you really should) you’ll remember Taylor Cox as the police officer who tries to look out for young Jake when he’s facing a personal nightmare as well as a difficult journey.

Now it is Taylor’s turn to find love in the not all too tolerant town of LaFolette, Tennessee. But, while being gay and out in this little town is difficult for anybody, it becomes nigh on impossible if you happen to be a cop and well aware that at least a few of your colleagues are out and proud homophobes.

Enter Del. He’s only moved to LaFolette to help his brother set up a bike shop. He has no intention of staying for long, after all, he’s used to living in an environment where few bat an eyelid at him being gay and he has no intention of returning to the closet any time soon.

When the two men meet the attraction is instant, but although the obstacles appear insurmountable their hearts refuse to be governed by their heads and it isn’t long before neither man can imagine being without the other. But, any happy ever after depends on Taylor showing his community who he truly is.

This was a wonderful, touching, at times laugh-out-loud funny romance. In fact, it is nowhere near as angsty or emotional as Truth and Betrayal was. Or rather, it is emotional and touching in completely different ways but no less wonderful or memorable.

I loved the two different Taylors we meet in this story. The difference between Taylor in LaFolette and the same man when he visits Atlanta with Del is as astounding as it is stunning. Taylor may be engaging in a lot of first experiences, he doesn’t waste time learning all Del has to show him and making it his own, much to Del’s delight and satisfaction.

I guess what I loved most about this story is that while the undercurrent of threats and homophobia are never far away, it shows in beautiful detail how things are often nowhere near as bad as we fear, that support can be found in surprising places, and that following your heart can bring you all you desire, even when you think that’s impossible.

Pride and Protection captivated me. I fell in love with Del the moment he was introduced and with Taylor shortly afterward. I was rooting for them to overcome the obstacles they faced and couldn’t stop turning the pages as a result. The fact that these two men are incredibly sexy together only served to make an already wonderful story even more addictive.

Long story short, I highly recommend Pride & Protection if you love a book featuring two memorable characters, a perfect balance between angst and happiness, satisfying and inspired sex scenes, and a story that will leave you happy and will stick in your mind for weeks to come.

Related review: Truth & Betrayal

The Greenest Isle (Colors #2) by Brigham Vaughn

237 pages

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available to read in KU


When SiobhΓ‘n Murray gets a call from a neighbor saying her estranged father, Patrick, has been admitted to a hospital after a serious heart attack, she’s desperate to get to Ireland. Her girlfriend, Annie Slocum, books the first possible flight to Dublin for both of them. 

Despite their difficult relationship, SiobhΓ‘n wants to help her father, so she and Annie move in with him during his recovery. Although Annie loves SiobhΓ‘n and Ireland, and wants to be supportive, she feels out of place and disconnected from SiobhΓ‘n.

Patrick hasn’t been the same since his wife’s death fifteen years ago, and it takes time and patience for SiobhΓ‘n and him to work through their issues. 

Things slowly begin to improve as Annie figures out a way to expand her Boston-based blog to include some Irish content, and SiobhΓ‘n’s spark of creativity re-ignites after lying dormant for more than a year. 

But there’s one more hurdle they must overcome, and that decision will shape their entire future.


Oh man. I was so excited to return to Annie and Siobhan. They’d taken me on a very entertaining not to mention somewhat emotional journey in A Brighter Palette and I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for me this time.

When The Greenest Isle starts Annie and Siobhan have been together for over a year, but have had a bit of a reversal of fortune. While Annie’s blog has taken off and is keeping her very busy, Siobhan’s inspiration appears to have vanished, much to her frustration. And, without her art, Siobhan’s sex drive seems to have disappeared too. When Siobhan gets a phone call that her estranged father in Ireland has been admitted to hospital with heart failure, she doesn’t hesitate but decides to go home. Annie doesn’t need much persuading before agreeing to go with her.

Their stay in Dublin turns out to be one with quite a few ups and downs. While Annie loves visiting Ireland for a second time and soon decides that she can use her time in Ireland to expand her blog, she isn’t there as a tourist this time. And since Irish society is foreign to her, she feels like the odd one out more than once. The fact that Siobhan seems to focus solely on her father, to the point where Annie may well be right to feel neglected, doesn’t help things either.

Not that I could blame Siobhan. Being estranged from your one surviving parent is tough at the best of times. Now that she’s come face to face with the possibility that her father dies before they can mend the rift between them, it is hardly surprising her focus shifts from her healthy partner to her sick father. And because Siobhan is incapable of doing anything by halves, she throws herself into her father’s recovery, with little regard for the rest of the world, including Annie. Which of course means that Annie becomes ever more insecure and frustrated. The two ‘girls’ once again face an uphill struggle to keep their relationship going. While Siobhan starts to blossom in her old surroundings once her father’s on the mend, Annie feels out of place; not quite a tourist but not belonging either. It’s only when Annie makes a few connections of her own the path ahead becomes clearer.

And that is one of the things I truly love about these books. These two characters are real, as is their struggle and the way they react to what life throws their way. Neither Siobhan nor Annie is perfect. Both of them make mistakes and maybe focus on their own needs and wants a bit more than on the other person’s. While that certainly lead to me wanting to give both of them a good shake once or twice, it also meant that they came to life in my head, as if I personally knew them.

While Annie and Siobhan are the main characters in this story, it is safe to say that Ireland is a very important secondary character. I’m in awe at how well Brigham Vaughn managed to describe places I know personally and very well, just as it was delightful to see them through American eyes. And, while I’m on the subject of secondary characters, this book comes with a host of fascinating personalities, all of whom I’d love to spend more time with.

Since this is a Brigham Vaughn book it goes without saying that it is very well written. This author obviously chooses her words with care and manages to paint pretty and crystal-clear images with them.

A Brighter Palette told the story of two women finding each other and carving out a relationship despite obstacles. The Greenest Isle tells the story of how a relationship develops after the first rush of falling in love has subsided and real life starts throwing real obstacles in the way. Both stories are as realistic as they are fascinating, and I can only hope we’ll get to visit this world and these characters again in the future.

Long story short: This enthralling story about love and loyalty, about going back and finding home, stole my heart.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Come, Play - An Erotica Charity Anthology - Release Blitz

Book Title: Come Play - An MM Erotica Charity Anthology

Authors: Quin Perin, A.G. Carothers, E.M. Denning, Emma Jaye, K.C. Wells, 

Lynn Van Dorn, Luna David, Sara Dobie Bauer, T.M. Chris, T.S. McKinney

Cover Artist: Morningstar Ashley

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Erotica, M/M BDSM

Trope/s: Including hurt/comfort, first time, forbidden and others

Themes: Anthology includes BDSM and erotica. 

It has a wide variety of tastes/themes

Heat Rating: A mix of 4 and 5 flames. 

This anthology features a collection of erotic MM short stories. 


Watch and Learn if the Coach’s Little Kitten can be Tamed.

Follow the Doctor’s Orders and read all about Brotherly Love.

Understand Abstract Love and then take a peek at A Kink Chronicles Short.

It’s all about Pretty Boys, The Kiss, and Particular Tastes bundled up in this must-have erotic anthology.

Come, play with us.

Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

A Kink Chronicles Short by Luna David

Brotherly Love by Lynn Van Dorn

Coach’s Little Kitten by Quin Perin

Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jaye

Particular Tastes by T.S. McKinney

Pretty Boy by E.M. Denning

Tamed by T.M. Chris

The Kiss by A.G. Carothers

Watch and Learn by K.C. Wells

All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to 

πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’™ 𝘍𝘰𝘳 π˜›π˜©π˜¦ π˜›π˜³π˜¦π˜·π˜°π˜³ π˜—π˜³π˜°π˜«π˜¦π˜€π˜΅ πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ

Buy Links: Universal Buy Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

- Available on Kindle Unlimited

Facebook Link for each Author: Quin Perin | A.G. Carothers | E.M. Denning |

T.M. Chris | T.S. McKinney


Not all of these stories are love stories, some are scenes, encounters, or two men getting together to satisfy their sexual desires. What all of these stories do have in common is that they’re sexy, intimate, hot, occasionally original to the point of being unique (to me) and possibly extreme. These stories are all about lust, about fulfilling needs, about men encountering their match or their exact opposite on the kink spectrum and indulging. And boy are they scrumptious.

Coach’s Little Kitten by Quin Perin

This story manages to be incredibly sexy and thoroughly endearing at the same time, while never turning romantic. I’d never read kitten play before and I have to admit, it was quite enticing.

Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

This wonderful story was like ‘trope central’. We’ve been given an office romance in which enemies turn to lovers, one of whom is gay for you, and both of whom thrive of angry sex. A lot happens in this exciting short, up to and including a happy ending.

The Kiss by A.G. Carothers

Wonderful tale in which ‘Steele’ discovers that he isn’t quite as asexual as he’d always thoughts when he persuades ‘Hightower’ to accept his submission and give him the pain he so desperately needs.

Pretty Boy by E.M. Denning

With half-brothers Mark and Paulie, we slip into taboo. But also into a deep love that started long before they admitted as much to each other and acted on it. And their coming together is as kinky and sexy as it is sweet and adorable.

Particular Tastes by T.S. McKinney

A hot will they – won’t they story featuring one American and one English operative and a most delicious gay-for-you vibe.

Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jaye

A stunning hurt-comfort story in which the hurt runs deep and the comfort is as loving as it is kinky. I never thought I’d find medical play enticing but I guess I’ll need to rethink that now.

Brotherly Love by Lynn Van Dorn

Jamie and Jay *sighs*. These two are stepbrothers ‘only’ through marriage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy for them to accept their love runs deeper. The fact that Jay appears to be mostly straight doesn’t help either. But when they do get together…. Wow. And that’s before the most wonderful ending.

A Kink Chronicles Short by Luna David

More kitten play, I guess my kitten cherry has been well and truly popped now. 😊
Although in this story the kitten is ‘only’ a part of a much larger scene featuring two Doms having a fabulous time while they make their two gorgeous subs entertain them. A wonderful combination of love, kink, and hotness.

Tamed by T.M. Chris

Jake is too big to be a sub, too strong, too contrary, and too belligerent…Until he meets Eduardo and Earl (boy did I love Earl). The road isn’t easy and littered with obstacles and resulting spankings, but maybe, just maybe, Eduardo (and Earl) are exactly what Jake needs to find the peace necessary for submission. A beautiful story.

Watch and Learn by K.C. Wells

This is not a romance, but it is a most intriguing story in which Chris recognises something in the younger Zac, a need he thinks he may be able to meet. His quest to show Zac that his needs and desires are perfectly normal, showcases a long and intriguing list of kinks. It will also turn these two men into, I guess you could call it, friends with benefits, although not quite as we usually encounter it. The kinks come hard and fast in this one, and there are some you may not have encountered before, that may make you blink once or twice. A stunning showcase that kinks are never shameful and needs can be met in all manner of fashions.

To summarize the above, Come Play is a delightful anthology if you like your stories hot, kinky, potentially eye-opening, and intriguing. And, to make an already enticing book even better: all proceeds from this book go to the Trevor Project. So many fabulous reasons to read this wonderful book. Go. Get. It.


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Monday, 3 June 2019

Give Up the Ghost (Not Dead Yet #2) by Jenn Burke

Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: June 3, 2019
280 Pages


The bigger they are, the harder they maul. 

Immortal not-ghost Wes Cooper and his vampire partner, Hudson Rojas, have it all—rewarding private investigation work, great friends and, most important, a love that’s endured. But ever since Wes sent a demon screaming back to the beyond, his abilities have grown overpowering and overwhelming. He’s hiding the fact that he’s losing control the best he can, but it’s hard to keep anything a secret for long when your partner’s a former cop…and especially when your partner’s a former cop who wants to move in together.

When all hell literally breaks loose in Toronto and superstrength ghosts are unleashed on Wes and his friends, he and Hudson are thrown into a case unlike any they’ve seen before. To save the city, Wes needs to harness his new power…and find some answers. But when he gets them, the solution to fix it all could mean losing everything.


Sometimes I read a book and it ends up surprising me in the most wonderful way. Give Up the Ghost was such a wonderful discovery for me. Based on the blurb I hoped it would be a thrilling and fascinating tale of danger, adventure, and magic, and that’s exactly what I got; an intriguing rollercoaster ride that kept me guessing and on my toes for most of the book. But, that’s not all I got. Give Up the Ghost is also a touching and emotionally fulfilling romance. And, what’s more, the balance between action/suspense and the up and downs in Wes and Hudson’s relationship was just about perfect. Neither thread overwhelmed the other, nor did either of them feel like filler. The way the romance threaded its way through the suspense while the danger was never far away, no matter how romantic the moment meant that the story flowed smoothly and the progression of the story felt natural.

And that wasn’t the only thing I loved about this book. I’ll try to list the various ways in which Give Up the Ghost delighted me below.

I smiled when it became clear that even being immortal doesn’t mean less insecurities or even fewer ‘less than smart’ decisions.

It was rather wonderful to read a story in which sex wasn’t the end all and be all for one of the characters, namely Wes. I mean he’s not a-sexual, but he’s just not always in the mood for more than cuddling. And that’s okay. 😊 And somehow it made the times when he and Hudson do get hot and bothered together, more meaningful and sexier.

The cast of secondary characters is both inspired and delightful. In fact, I feel I do them a disservice in calling them secondary, because they really only come second as far as the love story is concerned. Apart from that they shine on the page with almost the same amount of brightness as Wes and Hudson do. As a result, the story is much richer and we get a better insight into exactly who Wes and Hudson are too.

This is the second book in a series and I didn’t read the first title, Not Dead Yet. I can’t say that has been a problem. While I have no doubt that those who did read the first book will be delighted to reconnect with this cast of characters, I never once felt as if I was missing something. I fully connected with the story and with the characters and I have to admit that I’m mightily impressed at how well Jenn Burke managed to give me all the backstory I needed without ever ‘info-dumping’.

And that will be the note on which I’ll end this review. After reading Give Up the Ghost I’m in awe of Jenn Burke’s skills as a storyteller. Considering the amount of characters in this story and the numerous threads that all needed to be tight up before the book ended, she’s accomplished an awesome feat. I have no doubt it won’t be long before I read Not Dead Yet and I’m ridiculously excited that a third book in this series will be published before the end of the year. More Wes, Hudson & Co is always going to be a good thing.