Mostly reading MM romance. Just sharing my love of books.


Review: Not a Game

Not a Game - Cardeno C.

Audio edition, narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo.

6 hours 4 minutes


Overall: 3,5

Performance: 4

Story: 3



This book was like overdosing on a gigantic cotton candy.


In the beginning, it tastes really great and you're really enjoying it, then it gets to be too much, and you kinda go like this.




Jamie and Oliver were, you guessed it, sweet together. The plot wasn't exactly believable, and it was very low on angst. It didn't bother me a lot. I enjoyed basking in this sugary sweetness, especially coming fresh out of reading something dark, angsty, and violent.


Review: The Raven King - All for the Game #2

The Raven King - Nora Sakavic

See my review for the whole series HERE (link).

Review #1-3 of All for the Game Series

The King's Men - Nora Sakavic

I finished this series a few days ago, and I don't really know what to write in a review. This series have filled me with such conflicting emotions.


The story had me intrigued, interested, curious, shocked, irritated, frustrated, sad, emotional, bored, annoyed, terrified, exhilarated, cheering, face palmed, shocked again, disappointed, confused, hopeful, glad, gleeful, sorrow, and basically just a general feeling of WTF throughout the series, both positive and negative.


I'm choosing to write a joint review of the series, and not the individual books, #1 The Foxhole Court, #2 The Raven King, and #3 The King's Men, because you really don't get the full picture until you've finished the series.


The story in very simplified, and short terms is about Neil Josten, who has been on the run from his crazy murderous mobster of a father for the last eight years. Neil decides to stop running since he's out of options, and joins a team who plays Exy (a made up game that's kinda like lacross in a way, I think). At the Palmetto University he finds a "team" of fucked up individuals, all with their own issues. I say "team" in loose terms, because they really don't function as a team as all, and have been on the bottom of the rankings for ages. The series follow Neil and his team as they train and play Exy, and develops as a team, but also as individuals. At the same time having deadly enemy rivals like one opposing team, and their captain, in addition to crime syndicates. 


There is so much stuff happening in these books, it really is impossible to sum it up. It just needs to be read and experienced.


I'm choosing to give this series as a whole 4 stars. I can't honestly say I enjoyed all of it, since I raged and rolled my eyes through a lot of the events. At the same time, though, a lot of it was great. See list of emotions above. I liked getting to know the characters and the story. I couldn't wait to find out what happened and how it all would end. I didn't feel exactly happy finishing, I felt mostly relief. Also, shocked, because that epilogue! Aren't epilogues supposed to leave you with a smile on your face, and not a horrified grimace?


Anyway, these books are not a romance, and shouldn't be read as such either. It's a story about making complicated pieces of a puzzle fitting together when an outside force threatens with you with violence and death. AKA a group of individuals trying to work together as a team playing a game they love. It's literally ALL FOR THE GAME in every way. There are violence and deaths (yes, plural) in the story. They are not an easy read. In the last book there is also a romance blossoming. I felt it was a very non-romantic romance.There wasn't a lot of sweetness described. But that doesn't mean it wasn't important. It was grand and very emotional, so subtle, at the same time all consuming. 


The author has done a fabulous job writing this book. The writing is brilliant, and she doesn't hold your hand with the story. You need to put things together yourself, which may leave you confused and exhausted, until they are revealed or hinted at later. Hence, I think a re-read of the series will make several scenes and happenings make more sense. I think I will definitely appreciate everything more reading it again, when my shock factor isn't as huge as it was reading it the first time.


Kudos to Nora Sakavic, who not only wrote a series, but made a Foxhole universe. She introduced me to the crazy, fucked up characters who lives there, whom I was mostly frustrated with, but couldn't help caring for.


"Yes or no?"

"It's always yes with you."




I've listened to 58% of Not a Game

Not a Game - Cardeno C.

The story is like sucking on a gigantic sugar cube. Sometimes that's just what you need.


I've listened to 42% of Not a Game

Not a Game - Cardeno C.

What's up with the words "pubic bush"?

I don't like it. It's very accurate.... just not very sexy.


"Mmm-hmm." Jaime lowered his hand to Oliver's groin and combed his fingers through his pubic bush."


I've read 57% of The King's Men

The King's Men - Nora Sakavic

I've read 55% of The King's Men

The King's Men - Nora Sakavic

"The only one I'm interested in is you."

"Don't say stupid things."

"Stop me."


Review: The Foxhole Court - All for the Game #1

The Foxhole Court - Nora Sakavic


See my review of the whole series HERE (link). 




I don't know what to make of this! LOL



I'm strangely intrigued, but also confused, and annoyed at some (most?) of the characters. A lot of stuff happened in this book!


The story was:


And the whole team is:



The writing was excellent! And I think it can be brilliant. I've already started the second book. I've been told it gets better, AND worse. Whatever that means. LOL


I'm waiting to rate until I've read the rest of the series.


Thanks to Susan, Maggie and Wendy for the BR!

Review: Plaid versus Paisley - Fabric Hearts #2

Plaid versus Paisley - K.C. Burns

Plaid versus Paisley is the second book in the series Fabric Hearts. The first one, Tartan Candy, was published early 2016.


Dallas Greene shows up at his (half)brother’s house asking for help. He hasn't seen, or spoken to his brother much these last years, but have come to him as a bit of last resort. Dallas is out of a job, out of health, out of a boyfriend, and out of supportive parents. Everything has crashed down around him recently, and he desperately turns to Stephen for help. Stephen receives him with open arms, and sets him up with a job as a computer specialist in his porn studio company, Idyll Fling. His technical/computer specialist, Will Dawson, is overworked trying to keep Idyll Fling up and running online. He’s desperate for help, even if he has refused to hire more help, since he’s a bit of a control freak. Will and Dallas share a history from their previous work place. Will believes Dallas is the reason Will lost his job back then, so he’s harboring resentful feelings towards Dallas, and think Dallas is “back to haunt him”. They didn’t mingle, so they don’t really know each other, but they’ve both have nurtured crushes and attraction towards each other since then.


Plaid versus Paisley is an enemies-to-lovers story. Will and Dallas butt heads from the day Dallas starts work. The attraction is plentiful for both, but they hate each other at the same time. There is a fine line between love and hate, isn’t it? I found some of the situations funny since they are so obviously attracted to each other, but refuse to act on it. I enjoyed their bickering and head butting, and how Dallas kept pushing Will’s buttons just to get a reaction, but also because Will was being a bit of a jerk. I admired Dallas perseverance to wear Will down, and get him so see Dallas as a person, and not as an enemy. I liked Will and Dallas together. They clearly had chemistry, and the question wasn’t if they’d get together, just when and how. I liked how they danced around each other, and when they finally acted on their attraction. I also liked that it didn’t resolve all their problems right away. There were some relationship angst, but it was mostly due to miscommunication. I did feel Will hung on to his resentment towards Dallas a bit too long. It was also the reason he acted badly to Dallas revealing his “secret”, Dallas being Stephen’s brother.


I read these two books back to back, and I can see some similarities in the build of the stories. Where #1 Tartan Candy was a slow build with the characters getting to know each other, and taking their time before the progressed their relationship, #2 Plaid versus Paisley was more high in passion and attraction, they both had the same build up to a big misunderstanding, or revealing, that led to the characters falling out. Then an apology and quick forgiveness, and everything wrapped up nicely in a rather short amount of time. I felt the writing was a bit better in this than the first book. There's still some repetition in the writing that irked me, but it was less of it in this book than the first one.


Even though Tartan Candy and Plaid versus Paisley have the same characters and setting, I do believe they can be read as standalone. Each book is about a different couple. I don't think you have to know the characters, strictly speaking, getting introduced to them in Tartan Candy, but I really recommend reading them in order to fully enjoy all these characters, and get the most out of these books.


Plaid versus Paisley was a nice sequel in the series. I have some minor niggles, like miscommunication, some of the scenes, some repetition, and how everything is worked out and wrapped up rather quickly, but I also enjoyed reading about Will and Dallas, the enemies turning in to lovers.

I've read 54% of The Foxhole Court

The Foxhole Court - Nora Sakavic

What the heck are they doing???


I've read 35% of The Foxhole Court

The Foxhole Court - Nora Sakavic

..watching her gaze sweep over the brutal marks of a hideous childhood.


Oh my god, poor Neil, how has life treated you?


I've started listening to Sloe Ride

Sloe Ride - Rhys Ford

Continuing with my audios of this series.

Audio review: Sinner's Gin - Sinners #1

Sinner's Gin - Tristan James, Rhys Ford

Re-listen November 2016:
I liked it a bit better this time, but maybe it was because I had listened to it once before and knew the story? Anyway, I enjoyed Kane and Miki more this time around. I'm keeping my original rating of 3,5 stars.

Review: Off Base - Out of Uniform #1

Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) - Annabeth Albert

**** 4 stars ****


"This was home. This house. This man. Home."


Off Base featuring Navy SEAL Zack Nelson and Pike Reynolds, is a spinoff from Albert's #gaymer series. We briefly met Zack at the end of #3 Connection Error  sharing a room with one of the main characters, Ryan, who’s also military. We also met Pike, who's Josiah's friend. Josiah's is Ryan's love interest in Connection Error. While it's strictly not necessary to read Connection Error before starting Off Base, you’re not doing yourself a favor. Off Base can be read as standalone, but I really recommend reading Connection Error, because it’s a great book, and you’re able to fully enjoy Ryan and Josiah’s appearance in Off Base, and get most out of these books.


Pike is an outgoing guy. Not being out is not something he ever had to deal with, because there never were a question about his sexuality. He always knew he was gay, and the world around it knew it too. He has grown up with a great, accepting mom, and mostly accepting environment around him. He did get burned by falling for his straight best friend when he was a teenager, and that burn still hurts. Pike is a guy who would flirt with wallpaper, he’s got no filter and he’s got a keen sense of observation. He also got a thing for military guys (who doesn’t?).


(..) Pike knew that, like Fireball shots, he was an aquired taste. And twice as much fun. Or at least he liked to think so.


Pike scares the heck out of Zack. Zack grew up with his very conservative parents, and a bully of an older brother. He doesn’t want to look too closely at his sexuality that he has repressed for so long. He feels a big urge to be the perfect son, the perfect SEAL. Mostly to try to keep his own focus away from his repressed interest in guys.

Zack frustrated me a lot throughout the book. He was so far in the closet he had Narnia snow on his shoulders. Pike manages to lure him out, though, and Zack helplessly follows. He wants and needs so much. He really is into guys, and especially Pike, he just don’t want to acknowledge what it will mean for him if he does. Zack wants only Pike, but he also only want him inside the confine of their shared house. Zack struggles so much, and still continues to deny that part of himself throughout most of the book, and in denying himself, he also denies Pike. Pike and Zack were wonderful together, and I really loved their moments, and blossoming friendship and relationship. He frustrated me, though. I felt he never stood up for himself. He pulled away from Pike at moments of importance, instead of standing proud beside him. I understand why he did it, it just frustrated me.


"Please stop lying to yourself. It's killing me to watch. [Pike]"


I really liked the side plots of Pike being a professor and teaching. Him caring for his students really warmed me to him. Zack had trouble with bullying during his training, and my frustration with him continued. It got worse, before it got better. But when it did get better, and Zack finally acknowledged himself, it got awesome! I loved how things was resolved. They weren’t easy resolutions, but both Zack and Pike worked through them. Pike deserves a medal for his patience.


I realized that telling was what I needed for myself too. It was a relief almost.


I got really curious about Lieutenant Apollo, who was introduced at the end, and apparently the next book is about him. I also have a feeling that I haven’t seen the last of Harper, one of the other SEALs.


All in all, it was a pain suffering through Zack’s denial. Pike had endless patience. There were lots of good moments, and they were so good together. The last 20% shifted my feelings from frustration, to just gooey. I’m so happy for Zack and Pike!



An ARC copy was given me from the author. I wrote an honest review after finished reading it.

Review: Wrapped Together

Wrapped Together  - Annabeth Albert

*** 3,5 finally together stars ***


Aww, this was really nice. The writing flowed, the story was nice, and I liked both main characters. AND I didn't choke on the few flashbacks, I usually hate, in the story either, so yay me.


Hollis and Sawyer are a bit opposites attracts story. Hollis is careful, kind of stuck up, and a introvert, whilst Sawyer is the happy, outgoing type. They're long time friends since their teenage years. They both have a twin sibling. Hollis and his twin sister Cher. Sawyer and his twin brother Tucker. They became friends while they were all teenagers, bonding on them all being twins. Cher and Tucker is married, and Hollis and Sawyer have danced around each other for years, the attraction between them never coming to fruition until now.


There's also a bit of melancholy to the story, since Hollis and Cher's parents died a couple of years ago at Christmas time, and Hollis is still struggling with his grief of their passing. He doesn't like the Christmas time because of it. Sawyer decides to try get Hollis out of his funk, and also act on their attraction.


I was really rooting for Hollis and Sawyer, and was happy to see them finally happy together. There's also a very light sprinkling of kink to the story, nothing really big, just slightly there. It added a nice touch.





Review: Tartan Candy - Fabric Hearts #1

Tartan Candy - K.C. Burn

*** 2 disappointed stars ***


This was about a 3 star read most of the way through. I liked Raven, and being inside his head, and understanding him. Caleb was a very sweet guy, and perfect for Raven.


Their meeting and start of relationship was very insta attraction, but I felt it worked. After one little heated kiss in the beginning, these guys take it real slow due to Raven's insecurities. I liked that they took their time to get to know one another, and just dated with a bit of making out instead of going all the way. It was a very slow build. It was very sweet when they finally had sex, but the sex is not the focus of this story. It just happened naturally as part of taking their relationship to the next level. I can appreciate that.


The title, Tartan Candy, is a reference to Raven setting up "Tartan Candy" as a small business where he and his friend, Will, can do model gigs, being "eye candy" in kilts. Tartan being the name of the pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours on the kilts.


(several of these are referenced in the book as kilts Raven owns and wears.)


The Tartan Candy work is in the background, though. There really isn't much referenced to it in the story. The focus is Raven and Caleb's relationship, and Caleb has nothing to do with the Tartan Candy. Only that he absolutely loves his man in a kilt.


I did feel the story was a bit repetitive. The characters feelings and thoughts of events were repeated a lot. Like Raven's accident and scars. They were of course a big part of the story, but I felt it got brought up too many times. Like I couldn't help but think "I heard you the first few times.


I also found it weird that the author praised her own writing in a way? I felt the author was set on telling me about the importance of course in creative-writing. The references felt really out of place, and the third time it was referenced, I had to roll my eyes.


Almost unworldly in his beauty -- and no, Caleb had never regretted the creative-writing elective he'd taken when getting his college HVAC technician diploma -- Raven was simply stunning. Black dress shirt, bright red plaid kilt, and hair that matched both. Raven looked almost regal, but his smile was approachable.





[On their dates] Instead, they'd talked about school (they'd both taken creative writing as electives.




For a moment, he wondered if Raven's love of reading had developed after the accident, for lack of anything else to keep him occupied, but then he remembered that they'd both taken creative-writing courses in college.



I'm also not too happy about some descriptions the author made through the characters. Like Caleb saying that knitting equals gay.


He needed a fucking hobby. For a second, an image of himself knitting a sweater came to mind, making him laugh. Not only would that effectively out him to his family, he didn't require a whole lot of knitwear in Orlando.


I got really offended that Caleb views men knitting as automatically outing them as gay. When is that a rule? Also, I wasn't all too impressed with Raven saying:


Simultaneously, the two of them shuddered, and Raven giggled, just a bit. He hadn't realized women could be that weirdly cool.



---spoilers underneath---

What really knocked the rating down from 3 to 2 star, is the way Caleb reacted to Raven's secret being outed. Caleb was a totally sweet, gentle, and patient character throughout 80-90% of the book. Despite of the few niggles I mentioned above, I really liked both characters. But then Caleb turned around and had the biggest assholish reaction. It shocked me! And then it was suddenly straightened out, and wrapped up so quickly that I didn't have time to get over the shock before they had made up, and the story had ended with an epilogue. It felt me flabbergasted and reeling, especially since the whole book had been about taking things slow, and a slow build up. Raven forgave way too quickly, Caleb should have grovelled much, much more because of the mean things he said to Raven! This whole episode totally ruined my impression of the book, and Caleb as a character.

---- end spoilers---



All in all, it was an okay book, with niggles, and one big WTF moment from me. It might not bug you, though.


The next book is about Will, Raven's friend and work partner in Tartan Candy. I'm looking forward to his story.