31/100 The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

Okay so the end of the world is nigh, only the fire wielding Crow with a love of starting trouble can help save the world.  What is a Raven to do, but help her (and fall in love).  If you think this is a recipe for disaster, well then join the line, so does almost everyone else.  If you’re looking for a good, funny, read with a little too much graphic sex, then this is a good read for you.  I will admit, I HATE how this Ended! Right up until then it was a wonderful, action packed adventure.  If you have problems with graphic language or content then this is probably not the book for you!

28/100 Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

This was a pretty good book, well book and a half really. The initial story, the beginning of the series, is a fascinating introduction to a very interesting world. There was a little too much graphic sex once that got started but the characters were funny and easy to relate to. If you are looking for a very ‘girl power’; ‘girls unite’ mentality like in her Crow books then you will be a bit disappointed. However if you are looking for strong female characters that know what they want and work hard to get it, then this is a decent book.

My favorite part was when the main character thought that the knight and dragon were separate entities. She had to make a hard decision, Aiken didn’t skip over that decision but included that aspect of the story.
I found this to be an enjoyable read, not wonderful or compelling me to get the next book in the series but enjoyable. I plan on reading the next book in the series to see if the writing develops to the level I am used to from this author under their other pseudonym.
It is my opinion that the ‘prequel’ half story adds to the background, but really is more graphic sex than much else.

25/100 Hex on the Beach by Gina LaManna

This was a very interesting read.  It began quite serious with a tinge of humor.  From there things just went sideways.  A successful executive on her way to a promotion winds up meeting family she never knew she had and is told that she is something that shouldn’t exist.  From there things get interesting.  There is some world development, but not as much as you would expect from a series so off the wall.  It is interesting how the author manages to balance character development and world building so that you sort of feel like there wasn’t enough of either.  I am interested enough to explore the next book in this series, and honest enough to admit I love that she breaks all of the rules on accident.  This was described as Stephanie Plum meets Harry Potter, this first book did not eventuate that level of humor but I can see the faintest beginnings.  Note: If you don’t want to read the second book don’t read the Epilogue.

23/100 Prince of the Moon by Megan Derr

This is a heart wrenching book, I found myself crying for the prince at one point.  In this book taking out the crimes of the mother on the son is taken to the extreme.  While the prince is allowed to grow up and there is no physical abuse visited upon him the effects of neglect and emotional abuse are certainly present.  Then one day a man comes, a witch, that the prince had written to so that he could break the curse his mother laid upon the land.  From there love blooms, well you’ll have to read the rest to find out how it turns out.

There were a couple of scenes of graphic sex, but most of the plot was heart rending and sweet.  If you like a good Gay Romance with a fragile prince and the dashing witch come to rescue him *except that’s not why he really came* then this is a good book for you.

17/100 The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston

As always Laurenston celebrates her version of female comradery with endearments like ‘bitches’ and ‘heifer’.  If this form of feminism offends, or is something you take seriously then don’t bother reading her laugh out loud books. I listened to this book in audible format and really enjoyed it, after I skipped the graphic sex.

This is a fascinating world that Laurenston created based on Norse mythologies that are not completely focused on Thor and Loki or Odin and Frigga, but on other Norse Deities.  Thor and Odin are both mentioned as they both have their warriors but they are not the central focus.  Really, the dieties are just the vehicle on which the plot is based.  If you have read any of the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon then some of the plot elements are familiar.  I do enjoy the world’s that Laurenston creates.  The Pride Shifters Series was amazing and I can see where they might eventually intersect with these Crows.  I know that Hunting Season (The Gathering Book 1) is considered a different series but like the Magnus Pack and Pride series I believe they are two sides of the same series.

This is a fast paced series with characters that you will love, hate, and love to hate.  The main female character is both wonderful and flawed at the same time.  She is retired marine with a pit bull and an inability to kill wantonly.  Normally the last thing would be good, but Crows are sent into situations when killing is needed.  The main male character was born and raised to be a Raven, but this hasn’t stopped him from falling for a Crow.  Watch how a retired marine and her pit bull come to terms with their new life and bring some special joy to the Crows and Ravens; causing havoc and meeting people along the way.

12 Books So Far

If you have problems with Gay Romance in any form this post is not for you.

Due to my new crafting goal my reading goal temporarily fell by the wayside.  Since I had a few days where I was miserably ill and could not do much more than sulk in bed and read my reading goal has gained some progress.  I reiterate that this year I plan on reading a little bit of everything.  I do not know what it is about this time of year, but I do tend to start out with Gay Romance.  If I follow my past pattern I will then go back to some of my favorites, work my way into a new series obsession, taper off during the summer, then do a frantic read in the fall.  Oh well, maybe things will be different this year, though the Gay Romance part is staying the same.

So Far, I have re-read several books by Megan Derr: Midsummer Baker, Suitable Replacement, Backwoods Asylum,  and With Pride.  In addition I have re-read Dragon Groomer, by Amber Kell.  I have also read several new books by Derr:

The Stable Boy   is essentially a book of a man betrayed by those he should be able to trust forced to sneak his way back to the position that is rightfully his.  Of course there is a curse and mercenaries trying to kill him standing in his way.  All the while his fiance is being tricked by the usurper that betrayed him and took his place.  For all of the high drama this really does read like a bodice ripper, except that all parties concerned in the romance are male.  This is some blatant sex but, as always, I skipped over those parts as much as I was able.

Once Upon a Dream is essentially a collection of short stories that ‘gay up’ traditional fairy tales.  None of these stories have much in the way of character development, they are just a slightly light-hearted poke at traditional fairy tales. This is some blatant sex but, as always, I skipped over those parts as much as I was able.

The High King’s Golden Tongue  is a fast paced book that leads the main characters through a good bit of trauma but everything resolves itself in the end, as a good romance novel should.  *Spoiler alert* Though the high king at first does not take the suitor presented to him seriously, he expected a soldier and instead received a scholar, he quickly becomes aware of the mistakes he has made.  There is some high drama, and emotional trauma, in this fast paced book, but for the most part this book is an easy, enjoyable read. This is some blatant sex but, as always, I skipped over those parts as much as I was able.

The Engineered Throne is an interesting tale of a noble son abused almost from birth by his drunken father, neglected by his drug addled mother, being given the opportunity to marry a prince.  Of course the Noble Son has already made much of himself in the army and engineering corps.  His regiment is quite capable of building bridges and taking down buildings with equal skill.  Naturally the course of love is never smooth and this fairly fast paced novel is riddled with emotional trauma and death defying feats. I confess that this book kept me up most of the night, just to see how the emotional trauma would resolve.  This is some blatant sex but, as always, I skipped over those parts as much as I was able.

Blood in the Water is simply a retelling of The Little Mermaid with some elements of the original version rather than Disney style.  A young mermaid thinks that she fell in love with a handsome prince so she asks the wicked water witch to grant her legs to win his love.  However this is not where we enter, we enter when the mermaid’s brother is called upon by their father to fix the mess she has gotten herself into before she is killed by the witches spell.  The rest of the situation fixes itself rather nicely if you keep in mind it is a Gay Romance.

The Rapier Brothers This was quite an interesting novel.  Each of three brothers, how they view their lives, and stations.  When you first read about these brothers it is easy to cast one as the bad guy, one as the fop, and one has the scullery maid, however this does not explore the complexity present in each of their situations.  For a book that is not very long Derr does provide you with ample opportunities to empathize with each of the brothers and their plights.  I really enjoyed this fast paced novel, a light read even if there are some pathos.

Spell Weaver  Is the last new book by Derr I have read so far.  I will confess, this is a light read as most of Derr’s books are.  Some of the trauma is a little more blatant since the main character is given the option of paying 20% more rent or giving sexual favors to his landlord in addition to only having enough to eat a single meal a day.  Most of the plot goes well, the ending is a little too ‘damsel in distress’ for my tastes.  Everything works out in the end, so I guess all’s well that ends well…if a bit unsatisfying.   This is some blatant sex but, as always, I skipped over those parts as much as I was able.

21/100 Wild Things by Jennifer Ashley

This is not my favorite series.  Not because of the writing, but simply some of the aspects of the ‘world’.  If you enjoy romances and don’t mind a bit of steamy stuff then this is certainly a book worth looking at.  The characters are pretty well developed, flatter than some I have read but with more dimension than most romances.  As the plot advances we get to know the characters a bit better, they see in each other some beautiful character traits.  I supposed if I had been reading this series from the beginning, and I have already read more of the series than I thought I would, then I would have already met the brothers and gotten to know everyone involved. Jumping around the series as I have been tending to do I got a little lost with all of the names and am missing quite a bit of the backstory.  Unfortunately unlike Laurenston, Geary, and Robb’s books I don’t feel the need to go back and familiarize myself with the series more.
Admittedly I am really hung up on the Collared Shifter’s aspect of her books, I cannot get past the isolation and collared nature of her shifters.  I guess what I really cannot get past is the lack of progress that they make.  If you can get past that then this is a steamy romance with a couple of very likable characters.