Review of: Suckerpunch by Elyse Springer

TITLE: Suckerpunch
AUTHOR: Elyse Springer
SERIES: Hockey Gods and Monsters
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2019


A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.
When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.
Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained.

The first thing that caught my eye as I scrolled through the list of books to review was the book cover. Who doesn’t love a hockey player with a hint of fang and a bit of blood? It immediately made me want to read the blurb to find out what the book was about. The book is about a rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman who clash in the locker room and on the ice. The book is about hockey, has closeted paranormal players, and an enemy to lovers theme—all things that are right up my alley. It is the first book in the Hockey Gods and Monsters series by Elyse Springer, and I decided to give it a chance. It lived up to the blurb, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book does have homophobia in it obviously since the paranormal players have to keep their origins a secret and one of the characters has to deal with a tough moral decision on lying for his best friend when he gets arrested for a DUI or doing the right thing and telling the truth, possibly losing him as a friend, and getting him the help he needs for his drinking problem. Up until I found out what he decided to do, I was biting my nails.

Since he was little, all Alex Fanning has wanted to do is play hockey as a goalie. He’s been playing on a Portland hockey team since getting out of the US National Team Development Program, just waiting to get called up to the big leagues, the NHL, the National Hockey League. When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving, Alex is recruited to take his place, and he thinks his dreams have come true. He gets to play hockey with his best friend Shawn, who knows all of his secrets and is there to help him fit in with the team. And as he proves himself to the team as a goalie, the team starts to accept him as a team member. Well, all of them except for Sasha Petrov, the best friend of Eduard, the goalie that Alex is replacing until the injured goalie is cleared to play.

Not only does Alex have to contend with Sasha’s animosity toward him, but the sport is moving to ban paranormals from playing and implementing that all players have to be blood tested to find out if they are paranormal or human.

Sasha Petrov doesn’t want to like Alex Fanning. To Sasha, it feels like a betrayal to his best friend, Eduard. Alex is only twenty-two, keeps to himself, seems cold and distant, at first, but when he gets to know the team, then he livens up. When the team captain notices the animosity between the two, he tells them that until they can work it out that they will be glued together and have to sit on the buses and planes together, eat together, and share a room. With them forced to interact with each other, it is almost impossible for Sasha to deny the attraction and chemistry that he has for Alex. And for Sasha that puts him in a rough spot. Does he stay loyal to his best friend or does he give Alex a chance that he deserves? How will he be able to choose between the two?

I recommend this book to people that are fans of hockey, who like paranormal/human pairings. I look forward to reading the next book in the series when it gets released.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Four by Tia Fielding

AUTHOR: Tia Fielding
SERIES: Love by Numbers, Book 2
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: July 23, 2019


A Love by Numbers Story
When unlikely attraction blossoms between a twentysomething genderqueer tattoo artist and an older, small-town veterinarian, both are forced to face their pasts for a chance at a loving future.
Four years ago Padraig Donovan lost his husband, the only man he’d ever been with. Now his life consists of the work he loves, a big empty house, and the possibility of a lonely future.
Kaos’s experiments with makeup landed him in the hospital at the hands of his disapproving ex. With nowhere else to turn, he flees to Acker, Wisconsin… and runs into a sexy widower and the kindest man he’s ever met.
Padraig and Kaos know there’s something worth exploring between them, and as they raise a puppy and deal with the ups and downs of their respective jobs, they fit into each other’s lives in ways they never expected. Being with Kaos—who is so different than the guys he’s always been attracted to—opens up an exciting new world for Padraig. But can he convince Kaos to trust another man with his body… let alone his heart?

our is the second book in the Love by Numbers series by Tia Fielding. I haven’t read the first book in the series, Ten. The stories seem to take place in the same town, and each book is about a different couple. I love series that are like this cause I get to see cameos from the characters from the previous books. So I missed out on knowing what had happened between Makai and Emil and so the parts where Emil gets triggered by something that Kaos accidentally does just makes me want to go back and read there book so that I can appease my curiosity. They were great secondary customers in this book and great friends to Kaos. This is the second book that I have read and reviewed of Tia Fielding’s. I loved Four just as much as I loved Like Breathing. I like the author’s style of writing and attention to details, but I also liked that I felt like I was in the book and living each of her characters’ lives with them, sharing their happiness, joy, hurts, sorrow, loneliness and at times jealousy.

I loved Padraig “Doc” Donovan. He had lost his husband of twenty-five years four years ago and is still mourning his loss. He and his husband had grown up during the AIDS epidemic, met in college, knew they were meant to be, and got married. So Padraig has never been with anybody else but his husband. He fills his days with his small-town veterinarian practice. As is typical of small-town life, everybody knows when somebody new comes to town. But when Padraig sees the new guy, Kaos, with Makai and Emil, he doesn’t expect to be so fascinated and attracted to him. I was really moved by how much he missed his husband and also his heartache when he had to put down the bunny for a client. Nothing like bawling your eyes out when you’ve only made it to 9 percent of the book, luckily I only cried off and on until about the 30 percent mark. But loss is one of my personal triggers, so unless it is one of yours, it probably won’t make you cry as much. I always love it when a book makes me cry. It lets me know how invested I am in the characters.

I also loved Kaos. He is a twentysomething, genderqueer tattoo artist. He’s just gotten out of an abusive relationship with his best friend’s brother. His ex couldn’t handle that he is nonbinary and that he would have days when he dressed more femme and would wear makeup. He is also a convicted felon and did four years in prison for dealing drugs when he was nineteen. In prison is where he meets his “brother,” Makai. So when he needs to move because of his abusive ex, Makai and Emil tell him to come and live with them until he can get back on his feet and so he does. But the place where Makai and Emil live is barely big enough for them, and their two cats and so Kaos feels awkward living there especially when he notices that Emil has some pretty big issues that Makai said it wasn’t his story to tell him. This is where it would have been helpful if I had read the first book. I would have known what had happened to Emil.

After accidentally triggering Emil, Kaos runs to the only other person he feels comfortable with, and that happens to be Padraig. Padraig who happens to live in a giant three bedroom, two bathroom house. Padraig invites Kaos to live with him, and then they end up adopting a puppy together. And from there their relationship and friendship blossoms. But it isn’t all sunshine and roses, especially when one of Padraig’s friends comes for a visit. They had been estranged ever since his husband’s death but had recently reconnected over the phone. I found Francis to be fascinating, and I hope that his book is going to be next.

Overall, a lovely story about two men that are trying to find their way in the world and manage to find each other.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Introducing Taboo BooxXx


On a warm summer evening 2018 in Amsterdam, the text “turn around, I think I’m standing right behind you” became the proof that sometimes, chemistry survives the digital world.

Meraki P. Lyhne/Dark and Laura McNellis ended up in the beer garden of Schiphol Hotel, meeting for the first time at Euro Pride Con.
Meraki and Laura know each other as eXtasy author and eXtasy editor, and together, they’ve worked very well for years on many books.

During those talks, the topic zeroed in on a new fascination for a plot that did not fit eXtasy Book’s submission guidelines, thus the topic changed to the need for a niche publishing house. One that isn’t afraid of the dark tales. One that doesn’t balk at dub-con and non-con, tentacles, twincest, torture, puppy play, forced body-modification, adult diaper play, and whatever other taboo genre is out there. A publishing house who’d say, oh, something new? Something dirty? Something gritty? Yes! (still with reasonable restrictions regarding legality)

House of Taboo BooxXx was born right then and there.

They want to create a foundation for that because they know, each having years of experience on each their end of the market, that this niche needs attention.
During those talks, they turned names like Nicholas Bella, R. Phoenix, Katzy Snow, Kol Anderson, Rachel Haimowitz, and Heidi Belleau, and many more who all write gritty and dark stuff. They know that there are aspiring darksters out there who doesn’t possess the resources to make it as an indie like these authors have, but they know that there are lovely depraved readers who are gunning fore more.

That’s the market that the House of Taboo BooxXx wants to cater to. The readers who need to be shoved into the abyss of human depravities, to be moved on a human level, to be mentally challenged, to be shown the depts of the human psyche when it’s pressed to its limits.
They want to cater to the readers who peek out behind the pillow, hoping they don’t scare themselves to death while they learn how far a human can go before they break. They want to explore what makes or breaks a person. They want to delve into the delicate balances of friend and foe or when hate tips the enemy to become a lover. They want to see how far someone can be pushed to either lose or cling onto their humanity. They want to seek out what thrills can be found in edgy role playing or what taboo feelings, urges, and needs may blossom under the right (or wrong) circumstances.
Human sexuality is a powerful aspect in those equations. It’s a phenomenon so powerful that it speaks to everyone at every social level, and it will shake everyone either in horror or in orgasm.
Whether it’s one or the other, it speaks to us all.
It is that primal.
In short, authors of these genres have almost no limitations when testing what makes us human, what parts of us are still primal, and what we still need to be reminded of to let us question that balance.

Buddha once said that every idea should be tested out when drunk and sober. If it’s a good idea in both instances, then it is one to be perused.
Meraki and Laura tested that during that weekend in Amsterdam and beyond.
Once finding it sound in both states of mind, they roped Levi Read (Master of the OptimuMM Reviews) into it because he loves their deviant minds, and he has a way with visual stuff to aid the readers in finding their future favorite reads.
What was finally set in motion that late afternoon rang true to other people, thus House of Taboo BooxXx is being birthed by many people of similar vision, all donating their work to further the publishing house.

Meraki. P. Lyhne (writing under Meraki. P. Dark) is donating all royalties of Lil Harvest

Laura McNellis is donating her editorial work

Bénédicte Girault, publisher and translator for Men Over the Rainbow, is donating the cost of the covers, created by Queen Nadini. Also, Men over the Rainbow has so far contracted all Taboo BooxXx publications to be translated into French, and we look forward to a wonderful working relationship in the future

Levi Read created the logo of Taboo BooxXx and continues to come up with new visuals to please our readers when receiving our newsletter or looking around for their next thrilling read on our website

Einat Keshet, Gema Cela Rodríguez, and Sarah Jones are the newest members of the BooxXx family, each adding invaluable insight, energy, and enthusiasm to each their field.

But the true heroes are the readers. Ever reader buying books in the Lil Harvest series are donating their money to see to it that House of Taboo BooxXx can pick up another dark author. Every reader enables them to publish what dances on the fringes of what is socially acceptable.

At House of Taboo BooxXx, they all believe that it is within the spectrum of what makes up the duality of dark and light that we may find all that makes up humanity. Without one, we cannot understand the other. Without the dark, we cannot understand and appreciate the light.

So welcome to the dark side. Let’s explore what gives light purpose. And let’s have an erotically good time while doing so!

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Review of: Roughnecks and Butterflies by Meraki P. Lyhne

TITLE: Roughnecks and Butterflies
AUTHOR: Meraki P. Lyhne
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books Inc
GENRE: Space Opera
RELEASE DATE: May 25, 2018


What should have been the start of a life with lots of money, a prestigious job, and adventures in space, quickly turned sour as the promised job got downsized while Ethan was in route to Ore 5. Now there, he doesn’t even have enough money for the return ticket to Earth.
Stuck in the outskirts of the housing for the miners, he quickly finds that his usual standards are impossible to uphold. A new coworker opens up a new world to him, and in this world, the center of gravity is a big tattooed strip club owner named Ryder.
On the outside, Ryder is a player—promiscuous and superficial. And he has no problem throwing a punch if patrons get too frisky with his dancers. But he has hidden a side of himself since he came to Ore 5.
Both Ethan and Ryder see themselves differently from what others see. One is a body-conscious, chubby accountant—the other is a sex-symbol who has become the center of attention of every gay man on the planet—even a few straight ones who want to prove they are man enough to win the challenge.
They have one thing in common, but will their differences keep them too far apart?

Ethan has worked hard to be his own man and not just his father’s son. He was born with expectations of what his life would become. But Ethan has his own plans, and no one, not even his overbearing father, will prevent him from seeing his dream through. He goes to the school of his choice, earns top marks in his studies, and on his own earns a prestigious job on Ore-5 where he can finally be free. Unfortunately, he finds himself stuck on a godforsaken planet with no money, no job, and practically homeless.

Ryder is the owner of the infamous Black Ryder male strip club and is in dire need of Ethan’s particular skills. He’ll do about anything to fix the mess in his club. What he doesn’t expect to do is find his butterfly.

Ethan is a great character with a lot of heart. He tried following his father’s path in becoming a big shot corporate lawyer but much to his family’s disappointment, he chose his own path instead. Ethan’s always been phenomenal with numbers. He sees them in a way no one else can. The opportunity to move to Ore-5 and work for a major company with all the perks has him finally seeing all his hard work paying off. I was rooting for Ethan from the beginning as I fell in love with him immediately.

Ryder is not typical. He’s sexy as sin and dances like the act was made for him, but there’s more to him than just his bad boy ways. Yes, he has sex with many different partners and is known for his dancing as much as his prowess in bed. He’s a virile man so who can blame him. What he isn’t known for is having any type of relationships. He’s a businessman running a legit business on a corrupt planet. He knows this, but it hasn’t affected him yet. Now that his business is being targeted, he needs someone with the skills to fix it and fast. What he never expects is to not only find his businesses savior but his butterfly as well.

I love this story. It isn’t like anything I’ve read, and that is so hard to find. The characters are strong, and the plot is exciting. I enjoyed all the characters, and I loved how vulnerable they could be at times. These guys truly are made for each other. It’s beautiful.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review of: Rebound by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Rebound
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 12, 2019


Professional basketball player Bri Early needs a physical therapist after an injury, and he’s heard that Obie is the best. Bri takes an immediate liking to the out-and-proud man with the magic touch, and even though Bri isn’t openly gay himself, he’d never let anything stand in the way of something he wants.
Obie can’t deny that the sexy athlete presses all his buttons, but he’s a professional and has no intention of getting involved with a client. While they’re working together, it’s hands off, no matter how great the temptation.
But being a pro athlete isn’t easy. Bri has enemies, and one of them is making his life hell. When his house is set ablaze, Bri can no longer pretend the threatening messages he’s receiving are jokes. He needs a safe place to stay, and Obie can’t turn his back. But the two of them in the same house is a recipe for combustion that could burn them both….

I loved reading Rebound by Andrew Grey. The book’s a standalone with a great cast of diverse characters. I loved how fun and free Obie and his friends were. They were constantly making me smile, and I want more of Obie, David, and Chippy. And Bri and his friends were the exact opposite. They were much more serious and focused, but then they are athletes, and that’s what’s needed to compete professionally. I also loved how much fun the author had with the names since I’m a huge Star Wars fan.

I loved Bri Early. He’s a professional basketball player, and he’s been injured in a game and needs a physical therapist. However, he’s so focused on getting better as quickly as possible that he’s gotten a bit of a reputation and his physical therapists keep quitting on him. He’s one step away from looking up physical therapists in the yellow pages when his coach gets a call back from Obie. Obie was the physical therapist for Monty, who’s the husband of Hunter, one of Bri’s friends. Bri knows that Obie was able to really help Monty and so he has high hopes that he can get him back to full extension and back on the courts.

I also loved Obie. He’s a physical therapist that focuses on healing the whole body and not just the part that’s injured. He believes in clean living and healthy eating and full body massages to help relax the other muscles that are being strained due to the knee injury that Bri is dealing with. I liked how Obie can’t deny that the sexy athlete presses all of his buttons, but I loved how he’s a professional and has no intention of getting involved with a client. And while they’re working together, it is hands off no matter how great the temptation is, which leads to a great buildup of sexual chemistry. This story is definitely a slow burn.

I also loved how the author was able to show us that being a pro athlete isn’t easy. Bri has enemies, and one of them is making his life hell and unfortunately escalating his threats. When his house is set ablaze, Bri can’t pretend that the threatening messages he’s receiving are jokes any longer. He needs a safe place to stay, and Obie can’t turn his back. But the two of them in the same house is a recipe for combustion that could burn them both because Bri is in the closet and Obie is out and proud.

I really enjoyed reading this book about a basketball player falling for his physical therapist. It’s another great book by Andrew Grey.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis