Paperclip (2018) by Dan Woll and Walter Rhein is a very well-written and unsettling drama/thriller with elements of sci-fi/paranormal.
The novel tells the story of three people Carlie, Mort and Mickey whose lives interwine by a dark and overpowering force which is visible to only the three of them. The book is very fast-paced and nothing in it is filler. The novel is actually based on the true-life Operation Paperclip which I hadn’t heard about prior to reading the book. The fact that it is based on true events makes it all the more chilling. My favourite character was Mickey because I found him the most likeable but Mort does make the book and without him in it, so much of the story would be lost. He isn’t the most likeable but he is definitely the most interesting and the most complex. I think his story is handled very well by the authors. He has had a difficult life. His mother was killed in very tragic circumstances and he is intent on a twisted justice of making everyone present and involved in her death pay which includes Carlie on the basis that her mother was there and involved at the time. His father was did tests on in jail which ended up with him drinking a pitcher of lemonade with LSD in it. And while I sympathized with him for sure in these things, I liked that he wasn’t excused from his cruel actions after.
A very interesting thing I felt about Mort’s story too was how class played into it. It did feel like working-class people were even more targeted for these big scientists’ experiments and it made me think Mort’s life could have been a lot different if he was from another class. Being working-class myself, the idea of our lives being dispensable for scientific purposes didn’t surprise me but I think it was great that it was highlighted in the book. It is also a look at the bad side of science. Admittedly science has done a lot of good but there has been a lot of shady moments too in science’s history and it was good to see that being highlighted too.
Carlie is alright too and we get a lot of great backstory about her and her family. Each of these characters is written very well. The plot is interesting and everything works. It is not an easy read but it is thought-provoking and challenges the reader to think which I love. Fantastic editing by Cas Peace as well.
A fantastic read which I very much recommend.
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His Request (2013) by Ava March is a short read which is a sequel to the author’s novel The Client.
The book follows the story of the relationship between Jasper Reed and Nathaniel Travers. They are living in the English countryside but there is nothing boring or retiring about their life together. This book is both erotic and romantic. They play a game in this outing of ‘the physician and his patient’ and it is all very hot. In the non-sexual parts, their dialogue together shows how in love they are. It’s a perfect combination. I like both Jasper and Nate but my favourite was Jasper whose POV the story is told from. We get to know Jasper and how he thinks a lot and he’s lovely and super interesting.
As the story continues, Nate asks Jasper to visit with a friend of his who he used to be romantically interested in. Jasper says he doesn’t want to go first but eventually agrees so they go to visit with the man and his wife. Jasper’s inner thinking during the visit makes us all go on this journey with him.
There is three genres combined here. Historical, romance and erotica. And the author does a stunning job of combining these genres. I think March did a great job of showing how in love the two central characters are which is difficult to present in such a short write. The only flaw I have is that I think we could have got to know the characters a bit more but I suppose in a short read, that is hard to do.
A fantastic read.
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The Marquess of Gorsewall Manor (2018) by Adella J. Harris is the first book in the After the Swan’s Nest series by the author.
The story follows Thomas Brook who is been sent to the pillory after been caught in a molly house raid where he was getting intimate with his friend William. In the era this book was set, it was illegal for two men to be intimate. But thankfully Thomas excapes, goes on the run and eventually ends up at Gorsewall Manor which is the home of Lord Elmsby who Thomas fancies instantly and vice versa. He begins working in the library of the house and gradually he and Lord Elmsby get to know each other and their romance begins to bloom. But among all this, the body of Lord Elmsby’s fiancée from years back is found out on the moors which leads to Thomas investigating her death in order to prove Lord Elmsby’s innocence.
This is a wonderfully engrossing read which combines romance, mystery and historical fiction all into one. I think it is great for awareness that the author wrote about the cruelty and injustice many people faced back years ago due to hatred over their sexual and romantic feelings. Those scenes were incredibly hard to read. But I think it is right that the author showed these situations in an honest way, showing how ugly the actions of many people back then were. I was so glad that Thomas escaped but I felt awful for William who without been in the book very much was a character I liked because he seemed like this ordiniary bloke but who had a steel and a hero way about him when push came to shove. So it was great to see that book 2 in this series is William’s story with his Earl.
The book has wonderful characters. Thomas and Julian (that’s the Lord’s name) have great chemistry, there is a great build-up in their romance with a definite will-they-won’t-they plot where you are on the edge of your seat hoping they will. Harris beautifully shows how much they care about each other through Thomas putting himself in danger of being caught to clear Julian of the murder and Julian deciding that it is best for his name to continue to be rumoured about in connection to the murder rather than put Thomas in danger. It’s dead cute. While Thomas is struggling to survive, he sells himself and it is so lovely to see that Julian doesn’t judge him badly on his previous work.
This book is stunningly wrote, very detailed and paced wonderfully. It has a great mix of genres which are combined very well. The book speaks about important issues and the entire book is very well-written. On the first book, this bodes very well for this series.
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Cops, Cakes, and Coffee (2014) by Sara York is a very good short read.
The book is the first in the author’s Love’s First Response series. It follows the romance of Drake Knowles and Adam Hughes. Drake is a cop and is hiding that he is gay from his colleagues. But when he meets coffee shop owner Adam, he begins to think there may possibly be a future for him outside the closet. But there is a lot of prejudice in the town and he is nervous of the response including the risk of violence.
This story has a lot packed into it. There is the gorgeous blossoming relationship between Drake and Adam and a deep message about homophobia when Grady is beaten up and Drake is beaten up when he steps in to defend Grady. Homophobia is also highlighted through the homophobic slurs and cruelty by characters such as Drake’s friend and colleague Dave. The author did not shy away from the homophobia still sadly present in our society and wrote it honestly without excuses and showed the pain and fear it causes people.
I loved the story but I would be lying if I said there wasn’t certain flaws in my opinion. While I believe you can fall very quickly, almost or fully instantly, for someone, I didn’t feel that Drake and Adam were in love at the start and it was put across that they were. I thought they liked each other but I thought the love between them came later in the book. Sometimes the dialogue felt contrived and things got wrapped up at times too quickly. Some expansion in some parts would have worked better.
However, the flaws didn’t outweigh the pros for me. I enjoyed the book. I found far more that I liked about it than I didn’t. The characters are great, there is a lot of backstory here which is hard to get into a short piece, important issues are highlighted and shown up in all their ugliness which will hopefully raise awareness. I think it was a great read with a lot of elements which are true to life varying from the good, the bad and the in-between.
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Pros & Cons of Vengeance (2018) by A.E. Wasp & May Archer is a wonderful, flawless book as far as I’m concerned.
The book follows the romance of Breck Pfeiffer and Steele Alvarez and the mission of a whole team of people to bring down the extremely evil Senator Harlan. Steele and a few others have blackmail hanging over their heads from a recently deceased man Charlie and another of those being blackmailed is Breck’s twin brother Ridge. Senator Harlan has recently beaten up Breck and his friend Danny who work as prostitutes and Breck and Danny are taken to the secret location to keep them safe. There love ensues between Breck and Steele. Together the team must come together to bring down Senator Harlan who has sexually abused young boys as well as being violent towards Breck and Danny and is also blackmailing many people. He is also a bigot of all sorts, a hypocrite and an all-round douchebag.
The main characters and the secondary characters in this book all have very distinct personalities from each other. It doesn’t matter that they are all involved in some illegal matters which have brought them to be in this position to take down the Senator because they all seem to have their hearts in the right place and would be cool to hang out with. My favourite was Breck. I absolutely loved him from start to finish. He was everything. And I have to give kudos to the authors on this because books don’t always portray characters like Breck in a fair way. I have a lot of Breck’s traits and the way characters like Breck are often portrayed is as childish and troublemaking and I loved how Breck was shown as having his strong, don’t think you can walk on me side and then his other softer side. He felt like a real person, a person who showed compassion to others but also to himself which is very important and something a lot of people are made feel guilty about. I loved him to pieces and I liked his humour too. I also loved Steele because he was so caring and kind too. I also was warmed by the fact that he liked the strong side of Breck which tells you a lot about someone. He obviously isn’t a controlling type and that is generally why people don’t like that strength of character in someone so seeing him actually loving that in Breck said a lot about him too and what kind of man he is.
I liked all the main and secondary characters but alongside Breck and Steele, I was very fond of Danny and Wes so when I caught onto the hints that they might actually get together I was super pleased. Danny and Wes have a personality similar to Breck but the only difference is they will say and cross boundaries with things they say that Breck doesn’t and my god, when they let loose with each other it’s fire. I’m pleased to see the next book has them as the main focus from the preview of book two in this series at the end. I think they work great together but it will be daggers at dawn for sure and I’m here with the popcorn ready for this!
The plot is great. The characters are great. Breck and Steele’s chemistry is great. Everything here in my opinion works amazingly well. Very much a page-turner for me, I couldn’t stop reading and I’m definitely going to continue with this series. I absolutely loved it. Wonderful writing.
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Laguna (2018) by Cate Ashwood is a short read set in California.
The story follows the romance of Beckett and Brody and is the prequel to Ashwood’s fourth Sawyer’s Ferry book. That is the reason why this story ends on a cliffhanger where we are unsure how, and if, their relationship will progress beyond their short holiday romance.
We meet Brody first in the book and he is spending the week in Laguna Beach but is originally from Sawyer’s Ferry in Alaska. He is dying for adventure and in the early part of the story it doesn’t look like he is going to have much of that but then a breakthrough finally comes and he begins to really enjoy himself. More than he could ever imagine! While accidentally trespassing on Beckett’s beach, he meets Beckett who after a brief awkward moment invites him up to his beach home and well, you don’t need a map to know what happens there!
Beckett is holding back a secret. He is a famous actor and is finding it hard to meet someone who wants him for him as opposed to his success. So when Brody doesn’t recognize him, it makes him feel at ease that Brody likes him for him which was sweet.
I like both characters but my favourite was Brody. I liked his personality, his inner thoughts were very real and quite funny too. But both of them are great and together they are magic. The only flaw I have with this story is that there is backstory but there isn’t enough of it. I know that is probably being reserved for the full book but a little bit more backstory about both characters wouldn’t have went amiss and would help readers connect more to the characters.
But it was a great read and a lot of fun!
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Wedding Trouble (2018) by D.J. Jamison is a short read that grabs you in and makes you read it in one sitting!
This piece follows David and Gage from Jamison’s book Heart Trouble. This book is about their wedding and the run-up to their wedding. David is feeling insecure about how Gage feels about him and the author has put in backstory about why David feels this way and how insecurity is something David has had for a long time. The book is quite fast-paced but at the same time there is great suspense as the reader sits there hoping that David’s insecurities won’t help destroy his and Gage’s relationship. They are both very likeable characters and work very well as a couple. You feel like they have a lot of history together and understand each other on a deep level.
I quite liked the modernity of this book. Sure they were getting married but it wasn’t the be all and end all. There was respect shown to their cohabiting relationship prior to their wedding too which was nice. That doesn’t always happen and I thought that was more true to how a lot of people nowadays would think than making the wedding the only major big deal. So yeah, that was cool.
I liked how the book spoke about insecurities which to some degree and in some way we all have and showing that yes, insecurities can be hard to break past but with someone patient and who genuinely cares by our side we can be helped through or we can help those we care about with their insecurities too. There is a positive message in this that insecurities don’t have to stop you from doing things in your life. My only flaw was that I felt David got over his insecurities very fast at the end. Battling through and fighting against them is one thing but losing enthrenched insecurities that fast is another. I understood that it might be because this was a shorter read and while I was happy for him, it didn’t completely ring true. Maybe I thought his insecurities could have improved from the story but I don’t think they would completely gone away that fast.
That aside, I completely enjoyed the story. It was engaging from start to finish and it was a nice introduction to David and Gage and their relationship.
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