“Vampire Night Bus Pounds My Butt” by Chuck Tingle

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I read this as part of the MacHalo group’s little Halloween buddy smut challenge.

Some buses are sentient in the Tinglerverse. Vlad is one of these buses and is technically Bus 13.

“These living vehicles are rare but not unheard of, and my scoffing at one could be seen by some as racially insensitive.”

But there is something a little extra-different about Bus 13. Not only is it a “living bus,” but… dun dun dunnnn!!!!

It’s a vampire bus.

Our hero, Rick, of course ends up on Vlad (in more ways than one!) and he is your typical vampire bus: Eastern European accent, “incredibly handsome in a dark and brooding kind of way,” with a “muscular chest” and abs.

Vlad “takes the long route” and they go for a scenic drive, where Rick gets a woody because he can’t resist “the strange charisma of this handsome city vehicle.”

Vlad takes him back to his castle where he proceeds to make all of his “darkest fantasies come true.”

Guess what Vlad drinks instead of blood? Guess…

So, Vlad’s peen is inside the bus. Of course, this is another “gay for you” story with Rick never having been with another man before Vlad.

Can’t you imagine the accent as Vlad says: “How do you like that vampire bus c**k?”

“Oh my dark lord of the night!” Rick says. LOL

The ending is great! Rick is afraid Vlad is going to make him a bat, and he doesn’t. He makes him a living bus instead! hahaha

That wraps up this short little Freaky Friday edition. I never get tired of Tingle’s “living object” stories. hehe. Until next time, stay freaky.

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Mission: Improper (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy) ★★★★☆

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Y’all, this book was the perfect palate cleanser! Mission:Improper was my first Bec McMaster’s book, but it certainly won’t be my last. I have a feeling I’m going to be a big fan.

There’s mystery, there’s mayhem, there’s blood, and (of course) there’s a romance featuring a blue-blood (think vampire-lite) and a verwulfen (think werewolf-lite). Apparently, these two met a year before (in the original series-this is a spin-off) and have had it in for each other ever since.  Like bad. And I don’t necessarily mean in the I-hate-you-I-wish-you-would-die-a-million-deaths-each-more-horrible-than-the-last kind of way either. More like I-hate-you-and-I-want-you-naked-in-my-bed-so-you-can-pleasure-me-in-a-million-different-ways-each-more-orgasmic-than-the-last. You know what I’m talking about.

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Yeah, I love the whole “enemies to lovers” trope. When it’s done right, it gets me right in the feels. This situation makes a play at that angle, but it never quite got the whole “enemy” part down. We’re told a bunch of times that the MC blue-blood Caleb “Byrnes” is cold, aloof, and lacking a heart, but it doesn’t really come across on page that way to me. He always seems pretty damn passionate about everything, especially when it comes to Ingrid, our female verwulfen lead. 

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(Yes, I know Klaus and Caroline are both technically vampires, but their chemistry is undeniable. Klaroline forever.)

And speaking of Ingrid, I really liked her. That doesn’t happen often for me with female leads, but Ingrid pulls it off. She was pretty fierce and was never one to back away from a fight. Of course, because she never backed away from a confrontation she had to be rescued by our main guy quite a few times. Insert mild eye roll here.

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I know I’ve played up the romance part, but McMaster’s does a great job balancing romance with all the other delicious action and intrigue. And there’s a surprising amount to be found here, folks. On top of that, there’s a whole slew of characters that we get to meet. Many are from the main series, I’m sure, as they feel like old friends, but there are others whose stories have yet to be told. Like right now, I’m super interested in Gemma and Obsidian. I need to know what’s going on there. Need. To. Know. I guess I’m hooked. Well played. 

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So here’s the main drawback: even though the description says it’s the first in a series, you basically get dropped into the middle of a lot of shit going on with a lot of people you have no idea about. Even with that going against it, by the end of the book I was able to get a good feel for the backstories of the previous players and get kinda sorta caught up on the current political atmosphere. I’m not saying you can’t start with this book, because I totally did, but I think it’s probably beneficial to start with her London Steampunk series first.

I know this is a really vague review. In fact, it’s less of a review and more of a statement of feels than anything else, but that’s pretty much how I related to it. It was just a lot of fun to read and it made me happy to do it.

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There’s a lot out to choose from in this genre, or at least a lot in a variation of HR/PNR/Steampunk, but I think this series is totally worth the time. I was never bored and was genuinely interested in all of the characters and their stories. I’m 100% on-board with reading the next book, and, in the meantime, plan to catch up on the original series, too. It was just that good.

Sam Says (1)

Stay-tuned for more reviews from this series!

Ghosted by J.M. Darhower

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I love J.M Darhower’s books, but this wasn’t one of my favorites. It had three strikes against it from the start. I don’t like books where a character’s fame is heavily focused on. I’m not into superhero/comic themes. One of the main characters was a recovering addict. Usually one of those things is enough to make me not read a book. Since it was J.M. Darhower I had to give it a shot anyway. I did like it. Personal preferences made this unappealing for me.

Jonathan became a famous actor when playing a comic superhero. The superhero element did tie into the story nicely. Parts of it were told in the present and the past. The comics and superhero played a part in both. That part of the story wasn’t bad despite the superhero being kinda lame. As his fame increased, Jonathan got caught up in the Hollywood lifestyle and partied a lot. His girlfriend Kennedy wasn’t happy with the direction his life was headed, so they separated although their feelings never went away.

I liked Jonathan. He was a good guy who lost his way. I have had a lot of experiences with alcoholics and drug addicts. When someone you love makes your life a living hell because they’re fucked up, it comes to a point where the bad vastly outweighs the good, and it’s hard to forgive them even if they’re doing better. Jonathan hadn’t been in recovery for very long. Relapse happens more often than not, and it’s common for relapse to occur more than once. Just because he was doing well for a few months doesn’t mean much in the long run.

I was rooting for him and Kennedy, but the mother in me desperately wanted Kennedy to tell him to get lost. She was a grown up and could deal with the consequences of being with someone like him, but the emotional damage it could have caused her daughter was too much. Her daughter didn’t know who her father was, so luckily she had lived her life completely unscathed. My kids were not so lucky. They saw first hand how destructive addiction can be. Some of the emotional damage their father caused will be with them forever. I wanted her to walk away to save them from suffering down the road. Then again Kennedy knew Jonathan had serious issues, but she didn’t live through it with him, which probably made it a lot easier for her to forgive since she didn’t really know how bad it could get.

Overall the story wasn’t dark. Jonathan’s problems weren’t heavily focused on although they played an important role. I am a fan of second chance romances. There is something so appealing about two people going through something rough and managing to overcome it. Jonathan and Kennedy had great chemistry. The way the past was introduced it blended seamlessly with the present. Despite the issues I had with this book, I’d highly recommend reading it.

Rating: 3 stars

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“The Salt Line” by Holly Goddard Jones

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ALL THE STARS! One of my favorite new releases of 2017! How to describe this book? Well, first of all, it’s got burrowing ticks in it! But, this is not a horror story. Yes, there are a few gross parts, but overall, it’s a post-apocalyptic setting in the future, where diseases carried by “miner ticks” have turned society into “zones.” Inside the zones, you’re pretty safe, but more restricted, and the government kind of lies about a few things.

Outside the zones, well, you aren’t really supposed to know anything exists out there. It’s DANGEROUS. Stay where it’s safe!

Inevitably, “excursion” groups pop up for filthy rich elites, where they suit up, and go “camping” for a few weeks and get to see how people used to live… old houses, grocery stores, star-gazing, gasoline-fueled, cars, etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is NOT a horror story. You do see some tick action, but it’s not the main focus. It’s about the people who go on this excursion and what happens to them and discovering things out there aren’t what they have been told.

I LOVED the various stories of the people focused on. You have Edie, who is this 20-something who happened to end up with a filthy rich pop star of the month guy. She’s the bartender/waitress who got the celebrity and wonders how she got there. Edie is awesome!

You have Marta, the wife of a mafia type guy, who has turned a blind eye for decades… for her sons. I won’t go into how she ends up on the “tour,” but this lady… ALL THE FEELS. There is some major girl power going on in this book. Strong female characters.

You have Violet, a horribly facially-scarred 30-something who ends up being so much more than she starts out being. I won’t go into her story either because spoilers!

Wes is the billionaire wonder-kid (well, he is in his 20s in this) who came up with some brilliant program like Facebook, only it’s called Pocketz. He is a vegan, has a bit of OCD, is very controlled yet inexperienced in a way, and his story surprises you.

There are a few more supporting characters, but those are the ones who stood out the most to me and we flash back and forth between their POVs. This has a few WTF and weird didn’t-see-that-coming moments.

I also really enjoyed the underlying various messages on motherhood. Each female has a totally different view on it and it seems to flow poignantly in the background throughout the book.

To me (this is just my view, don’t quote me on this), it has vibes of The Last One and The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. I think this has enough sci-fi and suspense to appeal to those who like that in books and yet it also has enough aspects of “regular” fiction to appeal to those who don’t like as much fantasy.

I highly recommend and just devoured this pretty much in one day. I just loved the characterization, the plot, and yes, the dystopian and fantasy moments.

Digital copy provided by Netgalley and publisher to read and review. Released on September 5, 2017.

Review on Goodreads.

Freaky Friday: Taken by the T-Rex

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Dinosaur erotica. A lot of people who read romance know by now that this is a real thing. Dinosaur smut. Since I am never one to shy away from weirdness, of course I had to try one. Or twenty. Here is one I read awhile back, called Taken by the T-Rex, written by Christie Sims, who has also written Mating in Flight (read it; link is to my review at Goodreads) and  Ravaged by the Centaur (which I have not read; I need to get on that).

Anyhow, here is my review for Taken by the T-Rex. If you are daring and have not tried dinosaur erotica yet, you HAVE TO. Even when it’s bad, it’s still kinda good just because… dinosaur porn is cray cray!

The review:

Okay, so this didn’t suck (hehe), but I was hoping for more…

This story takes place when humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth together…

Oh wait, that never happened? Are you sure?

So here’s Drin.

She is a cave woman huntress. A T-Rex is always attacking her village and killing people. She’s the only one who wants to do something about it. Everyone else just wants to keep moving to a different spot and hope the dinosaur doesn’t find them. One day, Drin lures the T-Rex off to some traps she made. She ends up falling down, spread-eagle, and discovers the T-Rex has more in mind than just ripping her apart and eating her. (Well, he would rip her apart, but in a different way…)

A-a-a-a-a-n-d, this is the “huge” problem (hehe). Horny T-Rex is really big in more ways than one. Humans don’t have holes like this:

There’s no way he’s getting it in there.

How is this going to work? And this is where the story gets…weird.

Drin heroically figures out she can wrap her body around it, cling to him, and help T-Rex to… completion.

And when he does? It’s a little something like this. All over.

It made me feel a little like this:

But at least Drin has a “happy ending” too, from the friction against her girly parts.

I don’t know, I was a little disappointed. It seemed promising, but I was expecting… oh, more “taking” involved? I mean, if we can get a story where humans live alongside dinos, why not a dino that “fits” a human female somehow? You knows?

It was like, only a half-taking.

But it was kind of funny and I’m still glad I read it. I’m always on the look-out for cray cray, over the top stuff. hehe

END REVIEW.

So, until next time, stay Freaky peoples of the world. If you ever come across a horny dinosaur, remember, it is NOT going to fit. Unless he has a magical peen (which there are some of those stories out there too, haha).

Have a great weekend!

7ya8izz

 

Karma by Donna Augustine

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Camilla is a successful lawyer engaged to a successful doctor, when she is killed in a freak accident. A mysterious pencil-pusher propositions her with new job… as Karma. Yes, that karma. Little did you know Fate, Luck, Death, The Four-Leaf Clover Guy, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Murphy’s Law – all real beings who help keep the universe running smoothly.

Only it doesn’t run smoothly at all and Karma is thrust into a new life where no one explains anything to her and there might be people (who aren’t really people) who are slipping through the cracks, causing “disturbances in the force,” so to speak.

The Dust Off Your MacHalo group at Goodreads read this recently and had mixed thoughts about it. Here is our review, interview-style.

What did you like about Karma?

Shelly: I liked that it was light and funny. This has a chick-lit vibe to it, but in a good way. I typically do not like chick-lit, but this had just enough to work for me. I liked the banter between Fate and Karma and their love/hate thing worked for me as well.

Kira: I liked the idea behind it. It involves characters who aren’t alive, but they aren’t normal things like ghosts and zombies. It was different. It was an easy, quick and entertaining read.

What didn’t you like about Karma?

Shelly: There could have been more world-building. Not much was explained and it was assumed that it was just because no one took their jobs seriously and morale was low. (They didn’t get paid much, drove crappy cars, and had a run-down office. But this was part of the “humor” and wackiness.) Also, no one took Karma seriously because she does not plan to keep the job and they consider her just a “transfer” and don’t take her seriously.

Kira: It was too cheesy. Camilla died and had to live in the same world as everyone she loved without interacting with them. It took next to no time for her to get over it. I thought the story needed a little more seriousness. Camilla was special. She was capable of doing things many of the other characters could not do. I don’t like it when characters are special when I don’t feel like they are deserving of it.

Who was your favorite supporting character(s)?

Shelly: I pretty much liked ALL the supporting characters and wished there was MORE of them. The three beings fulfilling the role of Jinx were great. They swore, wanted to drink, and have sex, and were ancient, but looked like 12-year-old boys. Cupid was funny, but only in it briefly.

Kira: Fate and I don’t say that because I liked him all that much. Other than Camilla he was the only character with any depth. The other supporting characters were okay. I didn’t know enough about them to get attached.

Would you recommend Karma to other readers?

Shelly: I definitely recommend book one. I did not have as successful an experience with the next book in the series (see below). But book one = thumbs up!!

Kira: It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of urban fantasy and want something different.

Do you intend to continue the series?

Shelly: The MacHalo group, for the most part, had a semi-lukewarm reaction to Karma and yet we decided to plow right on and start book two, Jinxed, right away. I actually DNF’d this book at 62% because the fun and silliness from book one was missing for me. The romantic lead turned into a man-handling jerk who was barely in it and only showed up to be mean to Karma and then disappear again. The love/hate trope did NOT work in book two for me. Plus, Karma was doing what I always hate in UF heroines and running off alone, not trusting anyone, and therefore inevitably getting into trouble constantly. #faceplam

The others seemed to like it about as much as the first one, and plan to go on to book three, Fated. Of course me being the buddy read slave I am, I kind of want to go back and finish Jinxed and read this one now. Sigh. LOL

Kira: Yes, I will continue the series. I haven’t had the chance to read the next book yet. I’ve read two other series by Donna Augustine. If this first book is any indication, this will be my least favorite series of hers. Based on my experience with her other series, I’ll have mixed feelings about the rest of the series.

Shelly’s reviews for Karma and Jinxed at Goodreads.

Kira’s review for Karma at Goodreads.

Karma is only $0.99 at Amazon.

7ya8izz

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Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff

Book two in The Nevernight Chronicles continues to follow Mia Corvere, darkin assassin, hell bent on revenging her family’s death by order of corrupt tyrannical politicians. While much of Nevernight took place at the Red Church, where Mia competed to become one of the Dark Mother’s blades, this one has a completely new setting and plot. Say bye-bye to the church for a while and hello to this:

Without giving too much away, let’s just say Mia finds herself amongst the gladiatii, slaves who fight in arenas as entertainment for blood thirsty audiences.

Mia’s fellow gladiatii are a wonderful rag-tag crew. We have the brother and sister duo, who fight as a team by chariot. Bladesinger, the bad-ass seven foot tall female who knows how to use her sword. Sidonius is the buddy comedy relief (if there is such a thing in a Jay Kristoff book). Maggot is the young slave who serves as doctor for the group (you don’t want to know why she’s called that). Executus is the ex-gladiatii who leads and trains them (grumpy dude, this guy). Furian is the champion and Mia might have more in common with him than either of them wants. And Dona Leona is their master, the daughter of the leader of the most famous collegium in the Republic, the Lions of Leonides.

This book is a roller coaster, but I expected no less. Kristoff does not do “beach read” books. He doesn’t do romantic or light and fluffy. No one is safe. Just like the Lotus Wars trilogy and Nevernight, the world-building is complex. Whereas Lotus Wars had a sort of reimagined Japanese steampunk vibe, this has an Italian/Roman vibe.

So many things happen that I can’t wait to see what those of you who loved Nevernight think. There are (obviously) a few scenes that stand out, and without spoiling, I’ll just say:

That scene with the retchwyrm.
That scene with Ishkah, the silkling.
That ending.

Holy cow, ‘byss and blood. This changes everything.

Godsgrave is released on September 5, 2017.

A special thanks to St. Martin’s press who mailed me this ARC. I adore it, I loved the book, and am a huge fan of Kristoff’s writing (and twisted sense of humor) and of St. Martin’s for publishing awesome books!

I loved it so much I still have a first-edition signed copy pre-ordered from Amazon.

My review of Godsgrave at Goodreads. FIVE STARS!

My review of Nevernight at Goodreads. FIVE STARS!

7ya8izz

 

Edit to add: Here is my beautiful first-edition signed copy I bought.

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