Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Content warnings: sex, substance abuse, arrest, alcoholism, age gap, s&m.

As the cover suggests, Permanent Ink contains a Daddy and tattoos. And I am a big fan of both concepts. Poe is a mess, he doesn’t know where he’s going in life and only cares about tagging. Until he gets arrested. Then his dad helps him get a job in a tattoo parlour and thats where he meets Jericho, the gruff older man who Poe is instantly head over heels for.

I read this after Off the Ice, and I liked it but because Off the Ice was so good for me this was a bit of a disappointment. Not that it’s bad in anyway but when you go from one of your new fave books to a book by the same authors that doesn’t quite live up to it you just feel a bit meh. I think this paled in comparison simply because I didn’t feel quite as much of a connection to the characters.

I really loved the relationship between Poe and Jericho. They respect each other and work hard on keeping each other’s trust. Poe wants to be better for Jericho and Jericho wants to help a kid he sees a lot of himself in.  I think Jericho is a stand out for me. he’s just such a sweetheart. Whereas Poe is a bit of a knob at times and I didn’t like him sometimes and wanted to smack him. I did however love that Poe is bi. Too often m/m romances are just 2 gay guys and it made me happy to see a lil bit of diversity in that respect.

The age gap works really well, both characters are really aware of it and try to work around it and make sure there is 100% consent and nothing’s dodgy. The language in sex scenes kind of bothered me. Mainly because I don’t really like dirty talk, and I was just uncomfortable, I just cringe. So y’know be aware if you also don’t like dirty talk.

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Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

content warning: sex

This was another book that I saw being raved about by a few people that I follow on twitter who love romance and I was kind of desperate to read it.

Every year Livvy and Nicholas would meet up on her birthday to have a 1 night rekindling of their old relationship. But then one year she didn’t show up and Nicholas was ready to move on and run his empire. Until Livvy moves back to town.

I adore romance books because they just take me away from how awful I’m feeling but I often feel like there’s just something missing from them that I can’t say they’re a favourite. But this one was. This was my perfect romance novel.

For me this book was a perfect mix of sex and plot. Like sometimes romance books are wither too plot heavy or there’s too much sex but not this one. It’s like when it knew when I was ready to read some sexy times and when I was ready to just read some plot. It didn’t have any wild plot lines like some romances do, it was so believable

I loved the family dynamics in this story. It had that kind of Romeo and Juliet feel without being as dodgy in content as R&J. The flow of this was perfect, both the plot and the romance moved at a good pace that I didn’t feel bored.

I’m desperate to read the rest of this series because if they’re anything like this one I’ll love them

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Bad for the Boss by Talia Hibbert

content warning: mild Bdsm, sex, racism, alcohol, drugs, kidnapping, boss/worker romance (aka power imbalance)

I bought this because I saw someone on twitter talking about it and I’m always open to trying new romance novels, especially if they’re written by WOC because the publishing industry isn’t really great for WOC so I want to help.

Bad for the Boss is an office romance, following Jen and her boss Theo. Jen grew up poor, going through a lot of heavy things that a lot of people wouldn’t imagine ever going through, this has left her closed off and very goal orientated. Theo only wants to be successful as well but somehow they end up with an explosive romance.

The subheading of this book is a “BWAM” romance, this mean Black Woman Asian Man which I didn’t realise until I was reading. Which I really enjoyed considering mainstream romance is so white that having 2 POC in one book and them being different races was refreshing for me, despite how much I try to buy lesser known and diverse romances. On top of this, Jen is fat which is desperately needed in the genre.

In terms of story line, this fell a little flat for me. There is a story about Jen’s past catching up with her involving kidnapping and it just kind of made me roll my eyes. Personally I find dramatic story lines like this a bit unnecessary in romance, but that’s just me. I was also kind of just bored for some of this novel. On top of that whilst there is lots of consent discussion there was a couple of dirty talk lines that were like ownership and kind of made me feel a bit icky, but again that’s me.

However, I really liked Hibbert’s writing and would definitely try something else of hers I think maybe this one just wasn’t for me.

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Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

Content warning: age gap, sex

So this is the first book I’ve read by Avon Gale or Roan Parrish who I’ve seen a lot of buzz for in the romance reading side of the community that I follow on twitter. I adore age gap fiction (so long as it’s done consensually and tastefully of course) so I thought this would be a great start.

Amory Vaughn is rich as heck but he enjoys stealing. He doesn’t need to do it, everything he steals he could buy, but he enjoys the thrill. When he comes across William Fox he decides he wants to show off by stealing him a super expensive painting but what Vaughn doesn’t know is that William is part of the stolen art task force of the FBI.

I think my one problem with this book is that there was a little bit of drama but it just made my eyes roll. And yeah of course books don’t need to have a drama, you can just have a happy book but the plot was kind of just dull for me. What kept me reading this book was the characters and how much I loved them.

There’s a really sweet part of the story where William wants to adopt a kitten and Vaughn isn’t for it, but eventually Vaughn comes around and falls for the kitten. It really kind of describes them as characters. William is a massive softy and keeps coming back to Vaughn despite him being a thief and the type of rich who pays for problems to be erased. And Vaughn is a massive hardass, with a secret soft centre who just wants to protect those he loves in the best way he knows how, with his money.

I really did love reading the interactions between the two when they were getting to know each other and when they were fighting over certain things. I wish the plot went a little bit further than it did but that’s more my tastes than the book. I will be reading more from this pair in the future though because they write lovely characters and fantastic sex scenes.

 

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Mini Reviews #4

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Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai

This is a polyamorous book with chubby Indian representation. I liked the idea of this book and the book itself is good for the most part, however I did occasionally find the twins awkward to read and I sometimes felt uncomfortable by it. This is possibly because the were twins but I don’t know.

 

 

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The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis

This is a short and sweet sapphic book that if you’re looking to read something f/f could warm you up. I have to say thought, I read this sometime ago and can’t much remember it, but I did enjoy it.

 

 

 

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Team Phison by Chace Verity

You know I love modern romances and this one springs from a video game multiplayer. It’s age gap m/m, and quite funny and sweet. I enjoyed this one and if you’re in a romance mood I recommend it.

 

 

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Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse David

Ah this one was so adorable, hate to love of some kids who grew up together, starring a queen bee, as opposed to an unpopular person. Super sweet and has some Filipino representation.

 

 

 

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Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans

This is 2 trans people with chronic pain falling for each other, and it’s kind of heart breaking but kind of lovely at the same time. I wasn’t really sure about the characters to be honest but I think it’s an incredibly important book that can help people who are trans with chronic pain in finding someone they can relate to in a book.

 

 

 

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Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

This was really sweet and I’m excited to read the rest of the series as there is some pansexual representation in the third book. I really loved the relationship with a teaching assistant as it doesn’t have the power imbalance that dating a professor does but it’s similar in the trope context, and personally makes me more comfortable considering how old some professors are. And the MCs brothers were absolutely adorable.

 

 

 

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Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

I decided to pick this book up from the library because it’s the biggest series in terms of vampire romance. And let’s be honest, this is the trashiest of trash but when I read it I was just in the mood for it.

Wreath leads the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the oldest clan of vampires in New York, his second in command has just died after telling Wrath that he has a daughter. Now Wrath must look after this half-breed daughter as she is about to change into a vampire, but of course he bonds with her.

First of all there is violent scenes against both humans and animals so if that could trigger you be wary.

The biggest thing that jumped out to me with this book was how weird it was in terms of feminism. The writer clearly wanted to write something more forward thinking on the heterosexual relationship and gender roles front but this was written 12 years ago and you can clearly see when reading it that modern feminism has come leaps and bounds in just those 12 years. There were times I was reading this thinking “yes, right on” then a couple of sentences later there would be a thought from the MC that was degrading to other women. There was also a lot of male chauvanist scenes, which the writer would sometimes show in a bad light but then sometimes show in a good light and I found it a bit confusing. But that’s possibly just because I’ve grown so used to the way things are now and it’s weird to read something written not so long ago that is pretty different from the way things are now.

Ward has created her own niche language with this book which is fine but I did occasionally feel a bit odd about it. It’s clearly derived from some sort of Russian based language but it definitely felt off.

The most different thing for me when reading this book is that Wrath is a blind vampire. You don’t read about that often as vampires in most books are “perfect” and as soon as they are changed all disabilities become nulled. I’m not blind and J.R. Ward isn’t blind so I can’t speak for the representation of the lack of sight but it was interesting to read that’s for sure.

To be honest, with this book it was not the best writing, not the most original, the world building was just not great, and there was a lot of weird insta-love. The sex scenes felt cringey and I honestly was not attracted to Wrath at all, the way he was described had me conjuring an image of this huge mountain of flesh which some people might find attractive but I don’t. I think had my expectations been higher for this book I would’ve been thoroughly disappointed but because I knew what I was getting going into it I didn’t find it to be too terrible. I’m not interested in reading the rest of the series though as none of the side characters jumped out at me.

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The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea De Salle

So this book follows side characters from The King of Bourbon Street, like most romance series seem to do. Maddy is crazy rich, richer than you could imagine but she has a messy past. Darren is a typical Texas boy and is best friends with Maddy’s exes brother but an ex makes an attempt on his life and Maddy is there to save the day and take him away to New Orleans on her boat to protect him.

Whilst I loved Maddy this book did feel like a bit of a downgrade from the first book. But maybe I just loved Sol and Rain so much that anything would feel like that.

It did kind of feel a bit off the wall at times for honest. It was fun but because it’s based around Maddy who leads a ridiculous life things would happen that just don’t actually happen so though this is a contemporary you have to suspend your belief at times.

A lot of this book takes place in New Orleans, of course, so it made me really happy to read about Sol and Rain as their relationship was a little bit further on in time.

The most important thing for me in this book was Maddy. Though she was a bit wacky she was so unapologetic in her sexuality. She was bi, and she never hid it. Whenever speaking about past experiences she never glossed over her sleeping with men and women and she didn’t downplay it. And though I am not bi, pan and bi kind of go along in the same boat in terms of representation in media or lack thereof. So Maddy was a really important character for me.

There are possible triggers in this book for stalking and guns so if that’s something that could set you off be careful with this book.

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Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Thank you to netgalley and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you want a steamy summer read with some characters who aren’t your typical romance book types then this is the book for you. Our two main characters are a chubby Grenadian American woman and a bearded mountain man and their chemistry is just so good.

The book kicks off with our MCs meeting when Claudia is on a camping weekend with her brother and her brother gets murdered by a serial killer and Claudia is running away from the same fate and finds Shep who rescues her from the murderer. When Claudia tries to get back to her real life after the horrible events she can’t stop thinking about Shep.

Now obviously based on that synopsis you can tell that there are some triggers with this book. Claudia’s brother is murdered and Claudia herself nearly meets the same fate and is attacked so whilst it isn’t gone into too much detail, if you are triggered by these kind of things I would be weary, especially as it is continuously mentioned throughout the novel as Claudia is still dealing with the trauma. BUT the way the author dealt with that trauma throughout the book was really respectful I thought, and I felt like the way she wrote how Claudia dealt with the grief and trauma was really real and believable.

The erotic parts of this novel, which there were a lot, were so steamy. I had to make sure I read this book when I was in bed as I knew if I read it in public I would get very uncomfortable. There was some exhibitionist aspects in this book which I haven’t read much of in erotica and my god it got me a bit hot and bothered. There’s also a lot of bdsm parts of their relationship, which from what I’ve read Rebekah Weatherspoon includes of lot of her books, which were really good to read, as I find bdsm in books can be really awkward if the writer doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I loved the characters in this book, I need to get myself a Shep because they way I imagined him was just so perfect. And Claudia was just such a good person to read the POV of, I felt like she made a lot of decisions that I would.

So, yeah, get this book because god damn it’s so hot.

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