Category: Reviews

My Review of Paper Kisses

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Paper KissesPaper Kisses by R M Grace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was difficult for me to assign a number value to this book, because it affected me in so many different ways. And that’s why it’s getting a 5: any book that can be so nuanced as to affect me on multiple levels has done its job. It’s a bit difficult to get too deep into it without giving away spoilers, and I’m not big on giving those away. But I do have to say a few things.

First of all, Grace has a way with words. She writes prose beautifully, not going too far into the realm of ‘so poetic I can’t stand it’ but going far enough to where I appreciate the loveliness of her language. From the start, I was captivated by the way she writes. It’s distinctly British rather than being Americanized, and I adored that element of it. Her use of present tense is something I’m not usually fond of, but I barely noticed once I got into the story

I’ve been reading a lot of works out of the genre I prefer, but this brought me right back to where I’m comfortable and happy–and then promptly threw me back out of my comfort zone…which made me happy. Well. This isn’t a happy, humorous book, folks. There were tears. This was a difficult read, but it was a very good read, too.

If I had one criticism, it would be that the beginning is a little difficult to get into. But it’s worth getting past it to get to the rest. Beautiful. Just beautifully terrible and terribly beautiful.

Buy or read on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon.

My Review of Wrong Way

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Wrong Way (The Shenandoah Pack, #2)Wrong Way by Taylor Law
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the distinct pleasure of getting the chance to read Wrong Way before its release, and I felt incredibly fortunate for it. If I keep reading shifter books that are this good, I’ll have to start including them in my favorites. I didn’t read Wrong Turn first, but I will be going back to read it. I may have a few spoilers from not having read it first, but I don’t feel like I lost anything along the way, so it can be read independently of the other.

There are so many things that are done right here. The writing is great, the pacing is great, the characters are great, and the plot…Well, Law took the concept of shifters being hunted and made it her own with such assurance that I would have thought it had never been done before.

I desperately want to know more about the characters, especially Justice and Owen; I cared (and care!) deeply about them. Law brought me up and down and backwards and forwards and sideways
If I had one complaint, it would be that I felt the book could have benefited from another Owen scene, just to keep things going. As long as the author gives me another book, though, I think I can forgive her… 😉 If you’re considering the read, hit the button.

Pre-Order Wrong Way now!

My Review of Second Alpha

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Second Alpha (River Wolf Pack, #2)Second Alpha by Rebecca James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be honest, most shifter books read the same to me. They don’t stand out, and they’re neither good nor bad. But James manages to take me out of the same tired old tropes and give me something new, and that’s one of the things I respect most about her as a writer. Second Alpha is another example of her skill in deftly turning the familiar tropes on their heel, leaving them recognizable and yet at the same time lending her own unique touch. I enjoyed what she did with the shifter community, and their interactions with humans are intriguing as well. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but there are some unique and neat things she explores. Very good read all around.

Buy it here: Second Alpha!

Queercentric Review of Owned

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Owned!

I was on the edge of my seat reading Owned: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix.

I WAS ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT READING OWNED

We get to see what happened after the cliffhanger we were left with from Recoil. I must admit I was relieved to find Noah still alive, although still incredibly annoyed with his ungrateful attitude toward Khaz after his memory is restored.

He’s the one who BEGGED Khaz to keep him. Grr

SOMEONE HAD ALREADY PUT IN A BID FOR THE REBELLION SLAVE

Khaz made the choice to turn Noah at the very last possible moment, only to learn that apparently, someone had already put in a bid for the Rebellion slave.

YEAH, WE GET TO SEE THAT SADISTIC BASTARD AGAIN.

Guess who that was? Elias Ivers. Yeah, we get to see that sadistic bastard again. He apparently has done quite the job of breaking Jace down and making him into a good pet, as Elias proves during a meeting with Khaz over the loss of his human slave.

Noah, upon awakening from the change, doesn’t have his memories and turns to Khaz for guidance. He and Khaz grow closer as Sire and child, until an encounter with Elias and Jace makes Noah see things differently causing a rift to form between Khaz and Noah.

THE PLAY FOR POWER WAS SO DELIGHTFULLY FOUGHT

I loved how two couples from different books were thrown into one and the play for power was so delightfully fought.

There was Elias, who is sure he is unstoppable and believes everyone lower than himself. And then there is Khaz, a whore vampire who lets others believe he is complacent and has no real strength.

It makes me wonder what is going to happen in the future when Khaz finally has enough of the crap treatment from others and proves everyone wrong.

Another 5-star rating on this one. There’s a little something for everyone with the love growing between Khaz and Noah and the bond between Elias and Jace getting stronger.

Also the biggest surprise of all was the slight shift in the POV of the story that included a chapter by Jace. It was a HUGE shock to see what happened to the wolf.

Never saw that coming!

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 111 pages
Release Date: April 29, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

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Queercentric Review of Recoil

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Recoil!

Recoil: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix straddles a middle line between the feel of the first book and the feel of the second.

It’s got a slightly sinister vibe that carries through the whole story.

A SLIGHTLY SINISTER VIBE

Noah is a human, part of the Rebellion, who was captured. He spent a week being tortured, with his captors hoping to eventually auction off as a compliant slave. They just have to break him first. When a werewolf specializing in breaking slaves has no luck with Noah, he offers a vampire a deal to do it instead.

Vampire Khaz, a whore in this new world of the status quo, takes the offer and thinks it should be a piece of cake. Man, was he wrong. Nothing turned out the way Khaz thought it would. Struck by the beauty of the human slave, he slowly chips away at Noah’s defenses and learns more about his captive.

TRAINED IN RESISTING THE MOST GROTESQUE FORMS OF TORTURE

Noah is trained in resisting the most grotesque forms of torture, but his training didn’t cover how to resist sympathy from a supernatural. Noah spends most of his time ignoring Khaz while healing, but somehow Khaz sneaks in and lowers his defenses anyway.

THEIR CHEMISTRY WAS UNDENIABLE AND EXTREMELY PALPABLE

Noah was actually pretty annoying. He was fickle when it came to Khaz. Their chemistry was undeniable and extremely palpable in the story and the ending just about freaking killed me!

Really R. Phoenix?

A TOUCH OF SINISTER UNKNOWNS SWIRLING AROUND THE BACKGROUND

Though more of a grey area in the RISQ series, this book was full of sexual tension, secrets held by both of the MCs,  and a touch of sinister unknowns swirling around the background.

This series is incredibly addicting because there is no warning as to what is coming next. Will it be another semi-sweet romantic build? Or will it be mind games and manipulations likeBought was?

I cannot give this enough stars! I’m already twitching, waiting for the release of the next book. I’m mildly worried about what it will contain, but want it anyway.

I highly recommend this series to those who have grown disenchanted by fluffy M/M romances. There is none of that in these pages.

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 96 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

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(*cough* You leave my Noah alone.)

Queercentric Review of Ravel

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Ravel!

Ravel: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix was quite the surprise. The previous book was a dark twisted tale about mind games, manipulation, and sadism. Ravel, on the other hand, was the complete opposite.

THERE IS STILL ENOUGH LIGHT TO LET LOVE SHINE THROUGH

One might think the author throwing something completely different into the series would be a deterrent from continuing with it. I disagree. I loved the change because it centered on two new characters and expanded the RISQ world.

Even though there is darkness in the world R. Phoenix creates, there is still enough light to let love shine through.

R. PHOENIX RIPPED THE PROVERBIAL RUG OUT FROM UNDER ME

When Reese, a werewolf, was first introduced as a giant of a man towering over young Ash, I feared that Ash would suffer the same fate of Jace in the first book. However, R. Phoenix ripped the proverbial rug out from under me and had me stunned.

Reese is nothing like the other supernaturals that follow the status quo. He sees something of worth in Ash, even though he’s human, where other supernaturals would have only seen trouble.

Ashton, a human, is a smart-mouthed thief who is just trying to steal enough to be able to bribe a doctor to help his sick friend. Luckily, Reese finds Ashton’s inability to keep his mouth shut amusing and doesn’t call the enforcers on him.

HE BRINGS AN ELEMENT OF HUMOR TO THE SERIES

Ashton is one of my favorite characters so far in the RISQ world. He brings an element of humor to the series that was obviously lacking in the first one, and I appreciated the change of pace.

Though I’m sure many readers of the series will be shocked with this second book in the series, I believe the refreshing angle into the RISQ universe deserves the 5-stars I gave this book. The characters are a delightful surprise in this sequel and I loved being able to glimpse the other side of the status quo.

These two seemed perfect for each other and their attraction sizzled. I cannot wait to see what surprises R. Phoenix has for us in the next book!

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 75 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

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Queercentric Review of Bought

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5 of 5 Stars from Queercentric on Bought (FREE)!

Bought: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story by R. Phoenix was my real first trip into the really dark side of M/M romance. This book is not a traditional romance. How can it be, with mind games, manipulation, and a sadistic witch?

THIS BOOK IS NOT A TRADITIONAL ROMANCE.

Jace is a werewolf who took the fall for his pack leader’s failure in leading a rebellion against the status quo. He thought he would meet a quick end when captured, but unfortunately for him he attracted the interest of Elias Ivers.

JACE IS A WEREWOLF WHO TOOK THE FALL FOR HIS PACK LEADER’S FAILURE

Elias is a megalomaniac with a huge ego who believes he can manipulate those around him to his whims. Jace is just a sucker who thought he would be executed, but was instead turned into a pet for Elias to break down.

My heart went out to Jace, as Elias subjected him to degrading and sadistic mind games. Their time together was mostly full of sexual frustration and manipulations. It was a whirlwind of snarky banter, forced compliance, and at the end there really were no winners.

I REALLY LOVE IT WHEN AN AUTHOR CAN MAKE ME DESPISE A CHARACTER.

I really love it when an author can make me despise a character. R. Phoenix excelled in this endeavor. I don’t think I have loathed a character before, but I loathe Elias Ivers. His arrogance and twisted mind make me want to go all wolf on him and growl and snarl.

As head of the Ivers family, he seems to be on a power trip and I really hope in the future that he meets a magnificent end. Preferably at the hands of those he has used to get to the top. I want a delectable justice served. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

I had to give this book a 5-star rating. It was short, mind blowing, and so unlike anything I have ever read before. I loved discovering this new side of the M/M genre and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series.

Author: R. Phoenix
Publisher: Self Published
Length: 43 pages
Release Date: March 22, 2016

Reviewed by Brandyjo Newton

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