Bookish Shenanigans

Taking on the world of reading, one inappropriate title at a time.


Keep an eye out for my new M/M-focused review blog, coming in November!

Hard Head (Head, #2) - Damon Suede


I gots it.


The Gladiator's Master

The Gladiator's Master - Fae Sutherland,  Marguerite Labbe BPL has this book.

Moving in Rhythm

Moving in Rhythm - Dev Bentham BPL has this book.
Trick of Time - J.L. Merrow *wiggles*

*squishes book*

Looooooooved it!

JL Merrow delivers. Again.

Unique time travel concept that could have been total shit in the wrong hands. But no. Not in JL Merrow's awesomely wonderful ones.

Ted, victim of a tragic accident that left him alone in the world (and related to which he still suffers some physical symptoms), travels through time back to Victorian England and meets Jem, a rent boy with a heart of gold. They're pretty much perfect for each other, but the obvious question of how they'll have a relationship together - and how reliable Ted's little time traveling stunt will be - must be answered before their HEA.

I pretty much ADORED this story. I got it from the BPL, but will be buying myself a copy to own.

*squishes book once more*

Seriously, they are wonderful characters and so perfect for each other. Ted and Jem's story is unique and super interesting, and I was rooting for them 100% all the way. Together, they help heal each other and find their places in the world.

Whose world do they find a place in?

Well, you'll have to read it to find out. ;)


Striker - KyAnn Waters Good story with some initial PWP tendencies. Enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable. Bonus points for being available as an ebook from the Brooklyn Public Library.

College Boys (Men of Holsum College, #1)

College Boys - Daisy Harris This story was hot and also sweet. I really enjoyed my visit to Holsum College.

The story, in brief:
Chris, a soccer jock, moves into a new dorm room and discovers that his next door neighbor, whose every word and move he can hear through the paper-thin walls, is none other than Peter, the openly gay guy he shared a tent - and some accidental morning wood - with during his transfer student orientation trip. They quickly form a friendship and, after some soul-searching from Chris, build an unlikely (but pretty dang adorable and sweet) relationship in a kind of accidental yet hot and sexual tension-filled way.

The characters:
I liked them both a lot. I was totally rooting for them and could identify with their struggles and concerns.

Chris isn't very experienced with...anything, really, whether we're talking girls, sex, or the world in general. He's very wide-eyed, yet it's also quite charming to see the world through that discovering-new-things-at-every-turn gaze. His internal conflict revolves around his questioning of the foreign feelings he has for Peter, whether he's gay, and how the people in his life will react to his being gay. My main quibble with the story stems from how Chris's struggles and conflict were kind of not resolved by the end of the story.

Peter, on the other hand, is slightly world-weary in his jaded and snarky New Yorker POV. He can't seem to get over his crush on Chris even though he realizes he should know better and doesn't want to tie himself to a closet case. Peter's combination of sensitivity and snarkiness combined to make him pretty lovable, and whenever he showed his vulnerability, I pretty much melted.

The secondary characters were decent. They seemed a bit like caricatures of certain "types," but not to an annoying or distracting extent.

The romance:
*sigh* The romance was really sweet and built in an unexpected way. Unexpected could be interpreted as improbable, but hey - this is a romance novel, after all. You know it's gonna happen, and the sweet and accidental way in which it did - along with the questioning each of the MCs felt along the way as they mused over the whole accidental nature of it - was quite fulfilling in the end. Again, I thought the ending didn't really tie up all of the loose ends, but it showed the two guys definitely taking a step in the HEA direction.

The sexytimes:
An interesting mixture of sweet and intense. Surprisingly, I think I liked the scenes through the walls the best. They were flirty, coy, exploring, and unique. Their first time together was really great, too - hot and sweet and passionate. However, I must say that I'm not sure if the scene where they had full penetration for the first time was true to the characters. The portrayal of the sexytimes was realistic and actually quite hot; I just didn't think it was well-timed for what Chris and Peter would actually do. Then again, who am I to say what two college aged guys would get into when lost to their lusty cravings for each other? :)

Overall, I really liked this book. The story was easy to read and fun to follow. The characters were just really great guys, and I was rooting for their sweet, unconventional, and quirky romance. Again, my only real quibble was that the ending didn't really resolve all of the questions Chris had regarding how his coming out would be accepted by the people in his circle (friends, family, etc.). Otherwise, though, it was a great story and one of my "one sitting reads."

Note: Thank you to the author and the publisher for providing a copy for review through NetGalley.
All Wrapped Up - Morgan Harcourt;Laylah Hunter;Thea Hayworth;Gryvon M/M tentaclesex. Yup, I'm curious.

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart - J.C. Lillis Sweet and adorable and somewhat angsty, this story just drew me right in and didn't let go. Even though Brandon's angst over his Catholic guilt got a little tiresome by the end, I thought the book as a whole was a lot of fun, and the relationship was adorable to watch. I found myself wanting to live in this lovely Abel-Brandon-Castaway Plant world. With that said, I think I'm not much of a new adult reader (this story features 18 y.o. protagonists, and the sex is off-screen) because I do have a hard time believing in the HEA - or, in this case, I suppose it's the HFN - at the end of the day.
Shadow's Claim - Kresley Cole Couldn't put it down!

I seriously love Kresley Cole's writing, and this book is no exception. The story was just so easy to read and super fun to follow. Even though the whole "Realm of Blood and Mist" thing is actually kinda off putting if you really try to visualize it, I nevertheless really enjoyed this book and particularly the no-nonsense vamp of a hero, Trehan Daciano.



Did someone order a tall, dark, serious, brooding, bookish-yet-deadly, super intelligent, fights-for-his-woman hero? *raises hand*

The vamp books are usually my least favorite of the IAD books, but this one totally worked for me. Maybe it's the inherent structure of the story, which is centered around a tournament for the hand of the heroine, Bettina. Maybe it's the super hottt vamp who hadn't lived life until seeing it through the eyes of his Bride. Maybe it's the plotty twists and turns that I totally did not expect. Whatever it was, this story was great, and I'd recommend it to paranormal romance readers without hesitation.

I'd say 4.5 stars overall because one of the plot points - that Bettina loves another - kind of dragged on too long for me. That said, the story worked splendidly overall, and it also works as a standalone if you haven't read the books in KC's IAD series yet.
Lord of Darkness - Elizabeth Hoyt The book was okay-to-good, but I didn't really gel well with either of the main characters. Megs actually really frustrated me, and I was surprised by how quickly Godric got over his...conflict. There were also a few words that were the wrong word choices, which really irked me. Overall, gonna give it a 3 star rating, but note that it's not a very enthusiastic 3 stars. I guess more accurately it should be called a 2.5 stars.

A Stage and A Bus

A Stage and A Bus - Orbiting Jupiter 3.5-4 stars. Great narrator and story that actually had me choking up a bit from the emotional stuff. Another fun freebie that I found thanks to my GR friends! The typos and wrong words kind of detracted from the reading experience for me, though.
The Assignment - Evangeline Anderson *fans self* Hottt.

Their first time with penetration left a weird taste in my mouth, but, given the circumstances, was handled surprisingly well. A part of me couldn't believe Valenti wasn't picking up on Sean's signals, but I could see his POV for not wanting to believe in them, too.

Overall, a solid 3.5 star read. I enjoyed it.
The Practice Boyfriend - giselleslash Completely charming and awesomely free.
Lover at Last - J.R. Ward

3.5 stars.

Ahhhhhhh. Well, now. I finished it. And I actually liked it.

There's a lot of introspection in this story because, even though the boys are obviously made for each other, they have a lot of mindfuckery going on that gets in the way of their recognizing or being comfortable with that fact.

But this is a 500+ page urban fantasy romance-centric book. And you know that shit's gotta hit the fan before they can HEA it up.

And so it goes.

Sometimes I would think "hey, they just need a solid, honest conversation to get this stuff over and done with," but with many romances, those conversations didn't come until the end. So the interim, I got their hate-sex, their happy-sex, their just-need-to-bone-sex, their angsty introspection, and the eight bajillion other side stories that are woven into the BDB series now.

Which was okay.

The sex - in all forms - was a hell yeah, the angsty introspection was kinda emo, and the other stories were...okay.

Actually, I found those side stories a lot LESS frustrating than they were in previous BDB installments because the focus of these other stories was, for the most part, romantic. You'll see when you read it. I mean, clearly it's series bait and these couples will show up in future books, but whatevs. It's way more fun to read romantic side stories than stupid lesser shenanigans. In the more recent BDB books, the other stories were more about various political machinations, etc., which definitely didn't hold my interest.

If you go into this book recognizing that JRW now writes urban fantasy and NOT paranormal romance, then you'll find this story very entertaining. And if you go into it as an avid m/m romance reader, you'll also come to the conclusion that JRW does not believe in lube.

SIDE NOTE: Can someone please send her publisher a solid proofreader? Or fire her copyeditor? I can volunteer for this position if they need a candidate. Or they can find anyone else with a reasonably decent grasp of the English language, for that matter. I mean, I can't possibly be the only one who caught these goofs:
1) "not got caught" (wrong word - should be "not get caught")
2) "airbagas" (typo - airbags)
3) "I'm mean" (wrong word - I mean)
4) "wathced" (typo - watched)
5) "I can imagine pants were definitely not fun." (This one really confused me b/c there was NO tangential issue with pants. Ultimately, figured out it was a wrong word - parts, not pants.)

This just made the book look sloppy. If I'd paid for this hardcover book (rather than borrowing it from the library), I would've been pissed to see these mistakes.


Previous reviews:

February 3, 2013 update:

Attention New Yorkers! I repeat: attention New Yorkers!

This book is now available to put on hold at the NYPL. I repeat: this book is now available to put on hold at the NYPL!!

(Link to pic:

March 26, 2013. Come to mama, baby!


April 4, 2012 original review:


Prepare for the epicness that is Blay & Qhuinn. And plenty o' man lovin' sexytimes in the process! ROWR.

ANNNNND in mainstream hardcover no less.

Can I get a squeeeeeee????
Redemption by Fire - Andrew  Grey Enjoyed this enough while I was reading it, but it's not really something that I can see myself wanting to revisit or reread again. I think my main problem was the narrator/narrative voice - just didn't connect much with him or the flow of his voice. That said, firemen = yay, and the love interest, Lee, was a sweetheart.

Stroke to His Cox

Stroke to His Cox - J.L. Merrow I love love love JL Merrow's narrators, and Dave is no exception. :) Fun and quick read with a LOT of rowing terminology. Will add some fun quotes later, but let me note two things: (1) Asian hero!! and (2) smaller top!!.

P.S. There's a mini sequel!!! You can find it here! Thanks for the tip, Tiya!

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