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    FIRST LINES FRIDAY 56: Irrelevant

    First Line Fridays” is by Hoarding Books and is all about the first line of a current/upcoming read. Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you turn to page 56 (or 56%) in what you’re reading a find a snippet that jumps out at you. The idea to combine the two came from Kat @ Here There Be Dragons

    I found this meme on The Writerly Way. And I’m doing this on a Thursday just to be difficult.

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    This is another round of books I dropped or mostly not in the mood for at the moment.

    Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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    Sam would do anything to protect those he loves, even if it means stealing from a wealthy gentleman. But when he encounters Hartley, he soon finds himself wanting to steal more than just a painting from the lovely, lonely man—he wants to steal his heart.

    I couldn’t believe I’m saying this about a Cat Sebastian creation but I was bored. Sam is a sweetheart but I wasn’t connecting with Hartley. I just want to finish this so I could get to Will and Martin’s book. This is a struggle to finish so I’m putting it aside for now.

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    Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

    This story was cute. The world was fascinating. The characters lovable. Unfortunately it was bogged down by sudden info-dumps and too many asides. I think it was trying to cram as much world building as possible while trying to get on with the story. Still, it’s not a hopeless case. I’ll get back to this when I feel a sudden yen for adorable shifters and their supernatural friends.

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    The long-lost magic brings doom…

    As much as I love The Ellwoods, I got bored with the repetitive assurances and endearments Ailin and Sebastian were throwing around each other. I know they’re worried because the end is nigh and close calls came a little too close too many. I wish we could just get on with the story a little faster. I’ll see this through. Just not right now.

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    In a world where killers hunt under the cover of darkness, Remi must rely on the partner he’s not sure he can trust to help him drag a murderer and Remi’s life into the light.

    Can’t pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with it, maybe just lacking the oomph, but I’m not riveted. From what I had read so far, it might getting pretty dark so I’m hanging on to that thought. On hold for now.

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    Luckily for both of us, this copycat doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. Game’s on, fake Sandman. You think you can mess with me? 

    I love Jackson and Leland. I’m always up for more adventures for them. I’m not expecting the ridiculousness to tone down, this is what the author does best after all, but yeah, the jokes were getting old. I’ll go where the mood takes me on this one.

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    Lucas Daniels knows that witches and vampires are real.

    Not expecting to not be feeling this but I did. For which I am surprised because those big reveals were rocking Lucas’ world. Oh my fickle heart, let’s not abandon Lucas and Konstantin just yet.

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    Will Frost get a chance to step up and be the kind of man Seth can respect or will a madman end any chance for a happily ever after?

    I actually read book 1, Richochet, and forgot to write a review for it. It was okay though not the same calliber as other action-suspense romances like the Nothing Special series. This second book okay too but wasn’t holding my attention that much. I doubt I’ll be returning to this.

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    What happens when opposite sides of the track collide?

    A jock+musician romance that was, well, it was fine. The parts I read were mostly about them fooling around campus. I lost motivation for this after reading the blurb of book 2 where I learned they were separated at the end of book one. I have no patience for that sort of thing.

    What books have you DNFed lately? Are you a mood reader too? Not as bad as me I hope. Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

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    SERIES REVIEW: Criminal Delights Books 6, 11 & 14

    On to my quest to partake everything the Criminal Delights series has to offer.

    This is is a review of three books from the series, By Way of Pain by J.M. Dabney, Beloved Possession by Leona Windwalker and To Have and To Hold by Abigail Kade.

    All three books have a BDSM theme wherein a captive was taken against his will, subjected to training, develops feeling for captor, gets taken again by worse elements and rescued by original captor turned love interest. With several variations on the Stockholm Syndrome, some pulled it off spectacularly, others a paler version of themselves.

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    Criminal Delights: Assassins: By Way of Pain – J.M. Dabney

    Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    I read somewhere that assassins are really just serial killers for hire. That is basically Cowen.

    By day, he’s a successful defense attorney. At night, he takes jobs. And he doesn’t do it purely for the money. He’s a misanthrope who likes making people suffer. He has been killing people since he was a child. He said it himself that he doesn’t feel things the way normal people do. He doesn’t enjoy sex or even feel aroused . I was getting my hopes up that finally, we are going to get an asexual dom, but no. They had to have sex because that’s the way this series rolls.

    Cowen’s personal assistant is Harrison. Harrison has a bad crush on his enigmatic boss. He’s too shy to do anything about it.

    On day, while in the parking lot, Harrison witness a guy being attacked and then the attacker turned on him. The next thing he knew, he was held captive by a man wearing a mask. And forced to do humiliating and painful things.

    This book stands out for having MCs with diverse body types. Harrison is a plus size bear while Cowen was described as gaunt. Interestingly, it was Harrison who submits to Cowen’s dominance. Cowen could really be dominating. So dominating that you’d forget he’s really a skinny guy who had to wear lifts in his shoes to appear taller.

    By Way of Pain is high on the darkness spectrum. It was kept from becoming pitch black by the tender connection that blossomed between Cowen and Harrison. Harrison is oh so slowly, making Cowen feel things. And given the kind of person Cowen is, “I have no desire to kill you” is probably the only way he will say I love you.


    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Pain and Pleasure
    Artist: Divinyls
    Album: What A Life!

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    Criminal Delights: Organized Crime: Beloved Possession – Leona Windwalker

    Ishmael Lux.
    A name synonymous with wealth. The elite come to him- to stay in his hotels and to play in his club, both for business and for pleasure. He has a secret, though. It’s rather an open one, though believed by most to be rumour and speculation.

    Kristoffer Jones.
    A new hire of Triborr Property Management International, one of Lux’s many legitimate fronts. He was thrilled to be in London, straight on the heels of being informed he was being moved onto the management track. Some rumours are best left unconfirmed, as he discovers when he finds himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

    Ishmael saw it as an opportunity..
    As with all opportunities that will pay off handsomely, he takes it. Then, he locks Kris away. Kristoffer is his and he is never going to let him go.

    The kicker?
    Kris is rapidly becoming unsure if he wants to be free.

    *This book is written in UK English.

    Beloved Possession had, unfortunately, the most unconvincing transition from possession to beloved.

    It’s compounded by the fact the the lead characters were forgettable. I appreciated that Ishmael has successfully built a billion-dollar company and has a close circle of men that was very, very loyal to him. But he lacked the charm of other doms.

    Kris was so bland, I don’t see why Ishmael was so enamored with him other than he’s pretty and malleable. The only interesting point about Kris is that he’s half-Filipino. This is rare in MM especially as a lead character.

    I forced myself to slog through this story in the hopes that it would get better. I ended up skimming.

    I say pass on this.

    2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book

    Soundtrack: My Possession
    Artist: Ministry
    Album: Twitch

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    Criminal Delights: Taken: To Have and To Hold – Abigail Kade

    My name is Worthington Winters, and I have a confession before I die. I know he’s a killer. I know one day he’ll even kill me, but I don’t care. Because I feel more free with my captor than I ever did with my husband.

    My husband courted me, seduced me, ensnared me, then subjugated me in my own home. He pushed and I would bend. Until, one day he pushed too far, and I pushed back. I escaped and thought I was free, but I was so wrong.

    Now, my Captor has me in his grasp. He’s supposed to squeeze me until I give him the information I took from my husband. I’ll never do it, so I know I’m destined to die. But, he’s beginning to see beyond my scars, my shriveled heart, and he’s forcing me to look, too.

    As he makes me look into the darkest depths of my soul, I finally find my truth, who I truly am and want to be. As strange as it may be, through the sweetest pain and most exquisite torture he inflicts, I’ll finally feel free.

    The truth may give me a new life I never existed. If I can survive.

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    To Have and To Hold is a terrific combination of dark and cute.

    Worthy suffered abuse from his evil husband who frequently humiliated his desires as a masochist while hurting him without his consent. The husband also stole his money and his family’s company. Worthy was able to get his properties back and he ran away. The bastard then set an assassin on his tracks.

    Crow is an ethical assassin. By that, he only kills the guilty. He caught Worthy and had every intent to make him suffer. Until he learned the truth.

    That’s when things turn sweet and fluffy with the way Crow was taking care of Worthy. It’s pretty fucked up that a person who has been abuse likes pain and Worthy’s evil husband used that against him. Crow showed Worthy the way to pleasure and pain without the humiliation.

    I love Worthy! He crawled his way out of a hellish marriage and decided to wear things that only makes him happy. He has the best fashion sense. I would gladly wear one of his kawaii statement shirts with adorable animal prints.

    Crow was a teddy bear. The fierce, morally grey part of him had no qualms about killing or torture. But he was also willing to break a contract if the target was proven innocent. Even feeding and clothing said target when the man looked liked he needed some TLC. He dropped everything and rescued his boy when Worthy was taken the second time. Also bought him more kawaii clothes.

    Crow belongs to a group of ethical assassins, what I liked to call the Bird Boys because they use birds as code names. I’m not sure if there are other books about these boys but I would love to read all about them. Especially Os a.k.a. Osprey a.k.a Obediah who had some very questionable exes.

    This is my favorite out of the three.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Submission
    Artist: The Irrepressibles
    Album: Superheroes

    Two wins out of three is not so bad. I still have a few ways to go before I finished the entire series. Even with the mixed reviews, I think this series is worth the time.

    Wondering which Criminal Delights books to read and which ones to pass up? Check out the reviews here.

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Match Grade by G.B. Gordon

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    Criminal Delights: Assassin: Match Grade – G.B. Gordon


    Eirik Haldurson is a hitman. Kidnapped at age five and cruelly trained by his captor, he is today one of the most sought-after contract killers alive. Emotional distance from his targets, brutally beaten into him until it became second nature, is now the only way he can function. Lately though, that distance has started to elude him. And when a Colombian drug cartel contracts Eirik to take out ex-soldier-turned-vigilante, Matt Moreno, distance is suddenly as close as heat to fire. And all hell breaks loose.

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    When the series was first released 2019, I swore to read all the Criminal Delights books. There are a couple of misses and so-so stories. But most have been wins.

    I finally got my hands on Match Grade and I’m so happy it’s a definite win!

    In most of my reviews of the books in the series, my usual comment is that the books are not dark enough. If you give us a warning such as one above, I expect disturbing, morally grey to pitch black material.

    If you put a sick, half-starved kitten in the hands of an assassin who couldn’t resist naming it after the Persian emperor in the hopes said kitty would life up to the name AND stop in the middle of an intense fuck+fight scene just to feed it, any claims to darkness are officially cancelled.

    Eirik Haldurson is very good at his job. Unfortunately, his mind has other agendas. He experienced blackouts while in the middle of a hit, his brain flashing back to dark memories of him as a child being trained by a sinister individual. He’s tired of this kind of life and wanted out. Until he got a call to take out one, Matteo Moreno for a whopping $5,000,000. His retirement money right there.

    Not much is known of Matteo Moreno. He’s ex-military, a member of a hunters group, owns a cabin in the woods. He also has an easy going charm that lights up the room. Eirik tried to maintain a safe distance but is fast finding it hard to follow his number one rule: Do Not Get Close.

    The chemistry between the two MCs was fire and gasoline. It’s as insta as you can get but it actually worked well with the plot.

    Matt saw the humanity behind the cold-blooded assassin and taught Eirik to see that the cracks in his soul are not weaknesses.

    “The cracks are how the light gets in. “

    My favorite part was when Eirik was trying to disappear and left his cat, Cyrus, at the shelter earlier. Then Matt popped up and brought the kitten to him.

    He held his hands out, and Matt placed Cyrus into his palms. Every sensation was ramped up to max: the soft fur, the rapid heartbeat, the sleepy purr.

    When Eirik looked up, Matt was watching him. “You should see your face right now, my beautiful friend. I can see your soul.”

    Bless Matt for recognizing a genuine kintsugi treasure and not letting it go.

    The assassin and the ex-military then teamed up to take down the Colombian drug cartel. The two had opposite working styles. Eirik was a planner and Matt was a wing it kind of guy. Happily, their styles synced perfectly together.

    Everything in this story happened fast from the romance to the fights scenes but makes sense given the kind of lifestyle they have. I also liked how the pacing kept things exciting without sacrificing crucial plot points.

    And speaking of excitement, there’s plenty of chaos and mayhem to be had. One complaint was that any suspense the story tried to generate was nullified by the fact that the big takedown was too easy. There was hardly any resistance and I didn’t feel any actual sense of danger. The other fight scenes leading up to the takedown were much more exciting.

    I also would have liked Eirik’s and Matt’s past explored further. Enough Information was given to answer some burning questions but I felt they only touched the surface. The ending wrapped up everything nicely but left openings in case the author decided to continue their adventures. If so, I’m definitely here for more Eirik and Matt!

    Match Grade might not be the kind of dark I expected but it certainly has a high body count. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed, suspense thriller with a sweet romantic sideplot. Recommended if you like charming vigilantes falling in love with cat-loving assassins who read like a scholar, kiss like a poet and fuck like a god.


    Wondering if Criminal Delights is your kind of thrill? Check out reviews of other books in the series here.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Beautiful Crime
    Artist: Tamer
    Album: Pusher

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    REVIEW: Cold Light by Michelle Frost

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    Criminal Delights: Assassins: Cold Light – Michelle Frost

    Being an assassin wasn’t something Lexington Campbell ever envisioned for himself, but after spending eight years doing just that, he’s prepared to take his place at the table of his father’s motorcycle club, The Iron Heretics.

    Arden spends his nights dancing on stage at Spritz, one of St. Louis’s hottest night clubs, and waiting for Lex to pass back through town. After being orphaned young, he fears letting himself get too attached to the distant, bearded Lex, even after three years of inviting the man into his bed.

    When Lex finds himself with a price on his head, he unknowingly pulls Arden into the darkness with him. When things aren’t what they seem, and enemies abound, will they find themselves still standing together in the cold light of day?

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    Cold Light reads like a Dreamspun Desire offering. Sweet and cute. Nowhere near dark. Almost a fairytale even. One where daddy bear Lex plucks his boy, Arden, from a brothel, showers him with gifts, saves him from the bad guys, finds the treasure and they live happily ever after.

    Which is fine if you’re selling fluff but underwhelming if you’re advertising stories designed to disturb. And I was ready to be disturbed.

    I was awww-ing instead.

    They even have a lovable mutt named Pipsqueak, ffs!

    I would have preferred Lex to do a few dastardly deeds. As an assassin, he did kill some people but everybody was so blase about it, you’d hardly noticed. He didn’t feel like an assassin, not because he was really, really nice to Arden but because he seemed to lack that killer instinct. I didn’t sense any danger coming from him.

    There were other darker aspects present. A troubled past and an attempted sexual assault. There was also a torture scene but not gratuitous. Any resulting angst or trauma was not dwelt upon too deeply by the story.

    Taking it for what it is, a daddy-boy romance with a side of MC, I think many people would enjoy this. It’s not a trope I usually go for but Lex and Arden had this fantastic chemistry going, they made the experience worthwhile. The rest of the characters were likable and interesting enough, their books, if any, might be worth looking into. Mason, Lex’s mentor, I’m shipping with Pax, Arden’s friend. Lex’s dad, Jeb, with whom he had a complicated relationship, turned out to have a few surprises of his own. On the other hand, the bad-guys were given cardboard personalities so you know right away they won’t live long.

    Plot-wise, the premise was intriguing. For the most part, it was delivered well and wrapped up neatly. It could have done with some more action and suspense and also possibly, deeper exploration of Lex’s and Arden’s backstories. There was a lot of history going on that were only hinted upon so if there is a second book, I’ll gladly read it.

    This is another Criminal Delights installment that’s different from what’s expected (for sure, this series never lacks surprises). I love assassin stories, the kind that leans more towards the job. Cold Light turned out to be the less killing, more cuddling variety. Luckily, I like fluff so it’s still a win.


    Criminal Delights books here

    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: Cold Light
    Artist: Fenech-Soler
    Album: Zilla

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    REVIEW: Sinner’s Ransom by M.D. Gregory

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    Criminal Delights: Taken: Sinner’s Ransom – M.D. Gregory

    Montgomery Booker has it all—good looks, an inheritance, and an endless list of hookups. He uses his social elite influence to bully, manipulate, and blackmail, and he’s not ashamed of it. Quite the contrary, he enjoys it. But when he’s kidnapped, forced into ropes and gagged, he discovers the consequences of his actions when no one cares enough to send help. 

    Stone and his crew have one job: kidnap a spoiled, pretty boy and hit up his rich daddy for cash. When dear old dad refuses to pay the ransom, Stone switches to plan B. The torture he delivers doesn’t have the effect he expects on Montgomery though, and Stone savors every cry that leaves his pretty mouth. 

    If someone finally comes for Montgomery, will he be able to walk away from the man who made him feel this kind of delicious pain? And will Stone let him? 

    Themes: Kidnapping, stockholm syndrome, breathplay, pain play. 
    Genre: Very dark gay romance, psychological fiction.

    This story is part of the CRIMINAL DELIGHTS series. Each book is a standalone story with the theme of dark, gay romance.

    I expected this to be action-packed. I expected some BDSM or maybe blood. What I didn’t expect was this to be funny.

    LOLing at Monty who could not shut his mouth even if his life literally depended on it. And he was asking for it, again literally, asking to be punched and choked and hurt and would happily suck anybody for a hot shower. Also him and Conall, Sloane’s boy, bonding and comparing notes on who’s more fucked up, the guy who wears a collar and acts like a pet or the guy who likes fucking his kidnapper. Guess who won.

    I’m not even going to bother with the insta-attraction and the lack of build up because we’re talking about a spoiled rich brat who acts on impulse though Stone I would have expected to be tougher and more menacing. The guy was just too nice and lenient even if he says he’s not. His threats felt like they lack teeth and the “training” was too easy. Monty was hardly treated as a prisoner. He was locked in a stifling room. He was occasionally tied up but he was still more or less the bratty demanding brat who needed to be taught to behave. Heck, he even got his hair shampooed by Stone.


    “Yeah.” Montgomery frowned at Stone. “Why are you being nice?”

    “Aren’t I always nice?” Stone’s lips twisted into an amuse grin.

    “No.” Montgomery grinned and laid his arms along the edge of the bath. He leaned closer until their lips were inches apart. “But I like it when you’re not nice too”

    SInner’s Ransom was more of a kidnapping how-to than action suspense. A major part of the story is about Stone’s gang creating a ransom demand video for Monty’s father, a man who couldn’t care less about his son. The gang worked with Sloan Killough, a New York mob boss, and together they tried to make Monty a believable kidnap victim.

    “The first scene will be Montgomery, struggling, crying. Everything a kidnapped man does, everything that your boy is currently not doing. He’s very comfortable for somebody who’s been kidnapped.”

    He’s so comfortable he’s making suggestions! And making sure the gang gets the money!

    Sloane and Conall nearly stole the show and Ardan, the assassin who appears on another Criminal Delights installment, I’m super excited to read his book.

    I enjoyed this grey romance story. I liked the humor and met interesting characters. There are some elements that might not be that convincing but I still find the Stockholm Syndrome aspect believable even if it happened in a span of only a few days. And though Richard Booker would rather keep his money than save his son, Stone and his crew made sure the asshole got what he deserved. Monty got all the punishment he wanted and he finally learned how to say “please“.


    Other Criminal Delights books here

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Bellevue Bridge Club
    Artist: Andrew Bird
    Album: My Finest Work Yet

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Sweating Lies by Emma Jaye

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    Criminal Delights: Taken: Sweating Lies

    “Gladiator or toy?” Kaspar asks, as if it’s the easiest choice in the world.

    It might be an easy answer for someone branded, brainwashed, and who remembers no other life. But that’s not me, not yet anyway. I’m a cop—or at least I was until my cover got blown. 

    Now, I’m one of the trafficked people I vowed to save.

    Kaspar’s a toy —a pleasure slave— content to warm our sadistic owner’s bed; he laps up the abuse he’s conditioned to associate with affection.

    He’s my only way out. To gain our freedom, I must play the hardest undercover role of my career and be everything his fractured mind needs: a more controlling bastard than the man who turns people into grateful slaves for a living.

    Officer Jiao Sweatt thinks I’m a victim. 
    He has a lot to learn. 
    And it’ll hurt.

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance. 
    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    Hmm…I don’t know why this has such a high rating because quite frankly, I was bored.

    But if dark is what you want, this is as dark as it can get. Human trafficking, brainwashing, slavery, cattle prods up the ass and that damn parrilla made me shudder. It was sickening so if you want your limits pushed, this is it.

    However, the book lost me when it dumped a boatload of information on the workings of the orta, a secret criminal organization specializing in bespoke slaves. I needed the backgrounder but it was just too much info for one scene and the way it was delivered by Kaspar, I think it was unnatural that he would suddenly give a lecture on the orta’s business model just because a captive asked him.

    I couldn’t care less about Jiao and Kaspar. I didn’t feel the chemistry. I liked the story better when Jiao was still undercover with Maksim’s gang and I was definitely more interested in Maksim and James. But after Jiao was tasered and handed over to the orta, it became boring despite all the disturbing implications. The pace was slow going. It took a while to get to anything interesting and I have no motivation to stick around and wait for things to perk up.

    So Sweating Lies wasn’t working out like I wanted it to but definitely YMMV because many people liked it.


    review of other Criminal Delights books here

    2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book

    Soundtrack: Happiness In Slavery
    Artist: Nine Inch Nails
    Album: Broken

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Blood & Bitcoin by L.A. Witt

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    Criminal Delights: Organized Crime: Blood & Bitcoin – L.A. Witt

    Chris Emmett has a talent for screwing up and landing on his feet. As a SEAL, he managed to evade bullets and court-martials alike. As an FBI agent, he dodged danger and disciplinary action—right up until he didn’t.

    With his career and freedom hanging in the balance, he’ll do whatever it takes to clean the slate… including an off-the-books deep cover solo mission. 

    The objective: infiltrate the Hive, a complex crime syndicate operating on the dark web, and find out who’s trying to kill Piker, the organization’s enigmatic and strangely alluring Mob boss. 

    The moment he’s pulled into the Hive, Chris enters a world where no one is what they seem, including the man he’s there to protect. Lines blur between moral and wrong, legal and criminal, ally and foe, and—as Piker’s seductive magnetism draws Chris in—straight and queer. 

    Chris is running out of time to stop a killer. He has dangerous feelings for a dangerous man, and the deeper he moves into the realms of modern day organized crime, the less he knows and the fewer people he can trust.

    And that’s before he learns the truth about Piker’s assassin.
    This 104,000 word book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance. For other books in the collection, please see: 
    Criminal Delights Listopia

    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    L.A. Witt and Michael Ferraiuolo is my favorite author/narrator combination. With them at the helm, you’re almost always guaranteed a thrilling experience.

    Blood & Bitcoin was one hell of a ride but one that didn’t go full throttle the way I wanted it to. This is by far, the lightest among the dark offerings of the Criminal Delights series. The characters make many morally grey decisions and ‘the end justify the means’ actions but as emphasized by Chris, it is for the right reasons. Which is all good because, yeah these are people we can root for but sadly not what was advertised in the blurb aka it needed more blood.

    Also, there were moments where I just about had enough of Chris getting caught one too many times. And Piker forgiving him yet again and again and again. Oh, just shoot him already!

    I absolutely love Piker! The man is lethal and mesmerizing as fuck. His effect on both men and women is palpable. I could definitely understand why Chris was so drawn to him. Michael Ferraiuolo’s Piker voice is really spot on and the slight exotic accent added to the crime lord’s enigmatic appeal. His past remained a mystery throughout the entire book. He’s so mysterious we don’t even get his real name.

    Chris I liked less. He was too reckless. He was bumbling his way through the missions. I don’t know if he is just extremely lucky but his unorthodox methods worked somewhat. It helps that he got more chances than most people would dare ask from a Mafia boss. He and Piker play a dangerously exciting game of Golden Retriever & snake. Who bites who first? And for that matter, are we even sure who is the dog and who is the snake?

    Although the chemistry and USTs between Piker and Chris were always a tantalizing hair trigger away from snapping, the romance needed a little more boost. Majority of the book, it was just mostly sex for them which is meh. But the last quarter of the book made up for the missing feels and convinced me their HFN would eventually be HEA.

    The part about the bitcoin was info dumpy but did not majorly hinder the story. The Hive also got me intrigued about the dark web which I only learned from some hoaky Youtube videos. I’m hoping for a sequel where we get to learn more about Piker, his hacker friends who form The Hive and see if Chris learned to be circumspect.

    Notwithstanding my complaint earlier about the book not being dark, in itself, Blood & Bitcoin is a very enjoyable suspense/thriller. It does not let up on the action and the twists and turns will keep your adrenaline running on high. There were many ever changing threads to unravel and identities to uncover. I had some inkling about Piker’s father but The Big Twist completely caught me off guard. That was, DAMN!

    I recommend Blood & Bitcoin for those into stories about people with the right intentions doing it the wrong way.


    Other Criminal Delights books:
    Only The Devil Knows (review here)
    Devil Next Door (review here)
    Wrong Way Home (review here)

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: In For The Kill
    Artist: La Roux
    Album: La Roux

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Only The Devil Knows by Katze Snow & Tiegan Clyne

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    Criminal Delights: Serial Killers: Only The Devil Know – Katze Snow & Tiegan Clyne

    My name is Max, but people call me The London Whipper. I’ve been silent for many years. Now I’m ready to make my final move. 

    Only The Devil Knows follows the people trapped within my web of lies: 

    Nathaniel Harris, a psychologist who works with the criminally insane. 

    Genevieve Knight, the Chief Inspector determined to find me once and for all. 

    Wyatt Pearson, the beautiful boy who believes I’m a hero instead of a cold-blooded murderer. 

    Each of these people has one thing in common—they all want me. But what happens when my whip tangles around them and distorts everything they believe to be true? 

    I’ve kept my identity under wraps… until now. It’s time to show the public what I’ve been working on. After all, what’s a serial killer if he doesn’t have some artistic flair and his favourite boy at his side? 

    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance. 
    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    As far as the Criminal Delights series goes, the first two books, Wrong Way Home and Devil Next Door, still lean towards the ‘light’ part of the spectrum. The third book, Only The Devil Knows is DARK AS FUCK, it’s happy end reserved only for the our beloved sickos who used it to bring their game to the next level. The rest of humanity will have to settle for cringing like mangy dogs waiting for that crack of the whip.

    There are four POVs and I totally love diving into the heads of Max, Wyatt, Gen and Nathaniel. The alternating POVs were very effective in creating that suspenseful build-up to the big twist. There were major hints dropped here and there and the moment when it came was (pun intended) insanely delicious.

    Max, the Master and Wyatt’s beloved Sir. He is an artist at heart, creating beautiful paintings from the blood of his victims. He is brutal, sadistic and completely in control. With that mysterious charisma all serial killers seem to have, you will find yourself drawn to him against your better judgement.

    Wyatt, Max’s Boy, is a pure masochist, reveling in the Master’s dominance of him. He is super loyal and willing to play any game The Whipper comes up with. And as he proudly announced, his crazy matches the Master’s crazy.

    Gen is the chief inspector who has been frustratingly investigating The London Whipper case for 20 year with hardly any leads. In any other book, she would have come out the hero and I wanted her to be so but then this is not that book. I felt really sorry for her. Bring back up next time, Gen.

    Nathaniel is the very prim and proper psychiatrist working in a mental health institution. He has a troubled childhood and a domineering father who constantly tells him he is no good. As a result, he keeps his attraction to his fellow colleague under wraps because he was too cowardly to ask him out. He was completely shaken when he found himself responding to Wyatt, who propositioned him. He tried really hard to stay in control but it was a losing battle really.

    Monstrous and bloodthirsty as they are, I found myself rooting for Max and Wyatt. The Nathaniel+Wyatt angle was equally compelling too but I think that would leave Wyatt unsatisfied. Nathaniel is too nice. I like him though so Wyatt could go either way or both.

    Those who love the more extreme side of sex will find BDSM elements in full play alongside real torture, death and art. It is as graphic and disturbing as it can get, nobody was spared. I spared myself the full impact of these depravities by skimming the scenes. Chicken shit, I know.

    Some niggles:

    First, the book was set in London so I wished it had a more British feel to it. I hardly felt the place, it could have been anywhere in the US. Also,the writing had a more American/international English feel to it, I would have preferred more slangs and colloquialism. Maybe somewhere along the lines of the Constable Peter Grant novels. But that’s just me.

    Felter’s part was unecessary. It gave an extra dose of horror to the proceedings but then his part could have been done by either Wyatt or Max.

    Max is really not as careful as the book made him out to be. How is he not caught already? But do we want him caught?

    Obviously, these niggles hardly matter because Only The Devil Knows was as good as advertised. This is a fun book that I recommend for those into fucked-up stories about fucked up people.


    Check out other books in the Criminal Delights series:
    Wrong Way Home by K.A. Merikan (review here)
    Devil Next Door by Alex Jane (review here)

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Discipline
    Artist: Nine Inch Nails
    Album: The Slip

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Devil Next Door by Alex Jane

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    Criminal Delights: Obsession: Devil Next Door – Alex Jane

    All Remy Harker wants is a fresh start. 

    Well, maybe that’s what he tells himself as he rolls up to his nice new house, in the nice little neighborhood, in a town where nobody knows his name. 
    He’s surrounded by friendly neighbors and a white picket fence. The ugly pink carpet might drive him to insanity, and he can’t stop wondering where the old lady who lived there before him died—but it’s nice. 
    And if he puts his mind to it, he can be anything—or anyone—he wants to be. He can be nice too. 
    At least, he thinks he can until he lays eyes on his next-door neighbor. 

    Luke Boucher is nice. 
    And quiet. 
    And perfect. 

    It doesn’t take long for Remy to insinuate himself into Luke’s life. A camera here, a break-in there. 
    – It’s not really stalking if you love someone, is it? –

    But when Remy’s plan to make a good impression goes to hell, he ends up over his head in more ways than one. Then things aren’t quite so nice anymore. 
    – It’s not really murder if you love someone, is it? –

    Loving your neighbor isn’t so easy when you’re the devil next door.


    This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

    Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

    This has the makings of a truly dark romance. Twisted, bloody and psychopathic.

    But it lacked a certain oomph.

    The oomph being Remy and Luke making it to my favorites list.

    Remy and Luke, being what they are, could have easily made it but they didn’t quite have the intensity of fan favorites, Lecter and Graham. They were good though, I give them that.

    The book started normal enough, mundane even as Remy goes about his business setting up his house, installing surveillance equipment, taking notes, and following Luke around. Remy was meticulous and careful but was completely caught off guard when Luke broke his pattern. The mystery of why Remy thought Luke was ‘the one’ had me on the edge of my seat. At the same time, since the story was all about pushing boundaries, I already have an inkling of what Luke really was (because what else would he be short of a homo Humbert Humbert) but, still, it didn’t detract from the pleasure of the big reveal.

    From then on, the story plunged even deeper into macabre territories. It wisely veered away from the gratuitous, providing only enough blood and gore to get that taboo aspect going but not too much to be considered full-on horror. But maybe, YMMV. Remy’s talent for research and surveillance worked in perfect tandem with Luke’s proclivities and their partnership and romance are major goals if it weren’t for the fact they get off at things that disturb most of us. Despite the gruesomeness of the events, you cannot help but root for these two men who were simply made for each other.

    All in all, Devil Next Door is a total yandere. Creepily kind, unnaturally patient and unfailingly polite until they flip the switch and suddenly you’re staring into the eyes of a ‘ferocious angel draped in bloody violence‘. It is completely unhinged and I loved it.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Neighbor Boy
    Artist: Andrea Marie
    Album: Here Begin