Review: Despite the Odds by Chris T. Kat

Never judge a book by its cover.

Michael Campbell can’t hold a job for more than a few days. He’s lucky his foreman is giving him another chance with the solar panel project at an elementary school in Atlantic City. When he spies a man walking strangely in front of the school, Michael laughs, assuming he’s drunk or high. Little does he realize that Joshua Stone, a teaching assistant, has cerebral palsy, and he’s having a bad muscle control day. Taking a tumble right in front of the handsome construction worker is just his luck.

When Michael learns the truth, he feels bad for his cruel behavior. He offers to give Joshua—and his tricycle, the Racing Rhonda—a lift. Joshua accepts the help, and suddenly there’s a gorgeous man breezing into his life, turning his world upside down. But Michael has more issues than his inability to hold down a job, and neither man is sure if they’ll be able to overcome their fears in order to be together.

Anybook that doesn't have your a-typical MC's is going to grab my interest. I love books that feature characters who are real, who have the same issues that many folks in this real big ol' world have to face. Don't get me wrong, reading is the best form of escapism there is, and I've read and enjoyed many books with 'perfect' hero's, but those books with real heroes are going to always be held nearest to my heart.

Especially when the MC who actually has the most difficulty isn't the one you think it's going to be.

Chris T. Kat, does a good job of showing that, while we as a world often focus on physical differences, it is oft times not those that can be most disabling for a person.That the unseen can be just as, or more, debilitating than the seen. Don't judge a book by it's cover is an old cliché, it doesn't make it any less true.

We meet Michael and Joshua and make the instant judgement that Joshua is the most debilitated of the two, and in many way he is. It doesn't stop him getting what he wants or needs though. It's not held him back from life. He is a determined character who refuses to be pities even when he does need help. And isn't it a sign of strength to ask for help when it's needed? We all need help at times for different things and (to use another cliché) pride often comes before a fall!

Michael is a prime example. On the outside he seems fine and dandy. Physically able, clearly able minded...yet he is the bull headed MC who is being held back by what he considers a disability. Sometimes I wanted to slap him! I have to admit, when we first meet him I'm not all that keen - especially the way he takes the piss out of Joshua when it's clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Like him though, I made a snap judgement on a little fact. We all do, it's human nature, no matter how much we don't want to. And as Michael was proved wrong as the story went on, so was I.

Despite it sounding choc full of morality issues, this was really actually a quite light love story. The kind that brightens the day and makes you pleased to have read it. It could have gotten deeper and heavier but it isn't any less of a book because it doesn't. In many ways that was exactly why I liked it. It brought me two characters, who had issues but managed to navigate them while falling in love and at the end of the day the love story is what I love.

A really enjoyable read.

For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Axel's Pup by Kim Dare

As the landlord of The Dragon’s Lair and leader of The Black Dragons Motorcycle Club, Axel Carmichael has seen it all and done it all. He’s a respected and experienced dom. Nothing shocks him any more, and nobody catches him off guard.

When Bayden rides up to The Dragon’s Lair on a bike worth more than most men earn in a year, and immediately demonstrates that he has far more attitude than sense, it’s easy for Axel to write him off as a silly little rich boy who’s about to get himself killed.

But, there’s more to Bayden than meets the eye. He’s no silly little boy, rich or otherwise, and werewolves aren’t easy to kill.

Another KD Classic!

I think it's well known that I'm a KD fan. Her writes give me the warm fuzzies with her never-ending ability to put the heart into kink, I tell ya. 

If memory serves this is her 100th published work and while I've not read her entire backlog, two things stood out while reading Axel's Pup, the first being that it's abundantly clear she put her heart and soul into this novel, and secondly, I think she pushed the kink envelope outside of her comfort range. I ain't mad about that.

I saw/read some of the reviews prior to picking this up and the one thing that everyone seemed to comment on was the length. It is longer than what KD usually writes but it didn't read long, if that makes sense. She made her words count, using them either to world or character build, for the most part. Yes, there was a lot of pushing the hair off Bayden's face but that's their thing. 

Did I love this couple? No. I like them a lot. I like how possessive Axel is, but I thought he was too lenient at times and as much as I get what he's trying to do with the limits and boundary setting, I feel like a lot of that stuff could've been mediated by setting a precedent during their first conversation OR would've made sense to rely more on instincts/intuition. I also feel like the level of possessiveness also could've been mitigated by starting off with the honesty talk. Then again, I am kind of partial to TPE, so there is that. It did kind of have that TPE vibe... 

"I want to screw you, and tie you up, and make you writhe from-you know all that. But I want so much more. I want the whole thing, not just a quick scene. I want twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I want you to be mine. I won't take anything less."

Could be I just saw what I wanted to see. 

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Anyhow, it was clear to me early on that things are not what they seem with Bayden not to mention that he seemingly has no practical experience with BDSM. I've learned the never judge a book by its cover lesson the hard way, but Axel seems oblivious to the obvious. That I found disappointing and instead of discussing why he's betting and getting into fights all the time when they have their first serious conversation about their would be relationship they discuss orgasm control. I appreciate trying to find out what turns someone's crank but if your intention is to collar that person then it's prudent to get to know them in a global sense particularly when they are throwing up enough red flags to rival a NASCAR race. Really, this is my only quibble in an otherwise delightful book, but it did pervade Axel's Pup.

Bayden is the epitome of sweet submissive as only KD can illustrate. His transformation from a rough and scrappy leader of his pack werewolf to docile submissive I found a little jarring, but I guess love and a muscled, tatted and über possessive alpha who's also leader of a BDSM motorcycle club can do that to a wolf.

Axel's Pup is a wonderful beginning to what appears to be a series and let me just state right now for the record that I am DYING for the next book to be about Hale. A submissive cop who's in denial about being submissive?

I'll take two. Thank you very much.

Recommend to everyone who likes a feel good read.

A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Author Visit & Interview: Love Spell by Mia Kerick

I'm so excited about Mia Kerick's upcoming YA book, Love Spell. She's here today to answer some of our questions, and along with that an excerpt and giveaway!

Author Interview:

BMBR: How did you come up with the title for this book?
Mia: The story is about devious ways to capture your man, and it mainly focuses on a how-to list that Chance and his BFF find in an online woman’s article. However, it hit me that conducting having Chance conduct a love spell could be interesting and funny, and so I did an online search for love spells. What I found was a literal gold mine to a writer, and maybe to a stand-up comic. I just knew I had to include at least one love spell in my new story, as it is a romantic comedy. And I really had no choice but to name the book Love Spell. The title screamed its desired name at me with such ferocity that I had no choice but to comply.

BMBR: Do you have a specific writing style?
Mia: I do. And it is the very opposite of the brief two-word sentence I just used to reply to your question. I tend to write many long sentences, broken into pieces by commas, and I like to follow these sentences with shorter incomplete sentences, such as: Not to be dramatic. Or, Like a rat in a corner. I find the abrupt change in flow humorous. I thrive on the use of creative language and dialect, and I love to put internal thoughts in italics. Get my meanin’?

BMBR: Rather than only writing M/M romance, you’ve ventured into different sexual/gender identities in the LBGTQ spectrum with your writing. Other than M/M, are there any other LBGTQ romances in your plans?
Mia: I have written roughly 12 (or is it 13) gay romances in YA and adult categories, but I did stray from my usual course and write a YA lesbian romance, Come To My Window. In Love Spell, I write the story of an out and proud gay teenage boy who happens to suffer with gender confusion. He is not transsexual but he identifies with both genders. He doesn’t want to be forced to choose between the genders. So, writing a gender fluid person’s story is a new place on the gender spectrum for my fictional characters. I feel certain that I will continue to seek out new places on the gender spectrum to explore using romance. Everybody needs a story.

BMBR: You’ve written quite a few inspiring YA novels, do you enjoy reading YA yourself?
Mia: I really do enjoy reading YA, in fact, right now I am reading Cody Kennedy’s Slaying Isidore’s Dragons. I have Brian Katcher’s Almost Perfect on my TBR list. But I read more adult gay romance, as I do not want my perspective as a YA writer to get overly influenced by the styles and flavors of other YA authors. I like to keep my perspective fresh.

BMBR: Is there a message in this book you want your readers to understand?
Mia: There are several important messages in Love Spell, I will not lie. I include a theme about labeling people; I don’t come out and say labels are good or bad, but I urge readers to question their necessity. There is also a strong theme of the importance of being true to oneself. And being honest with others. I hope to encourage readers to see that some kids are different from most, perhaps even odd, but they have hearts and souls and concerns and joys, like everybody else. The values of friendship and the pure love of family is not overlooked.

Cover & Blurb:

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”

But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

Pages or Words: 44,300 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Young Adult


Not to say that I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days, but I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days. Yes, I was oh-so-pathetically waiting for his call, which I am aware fully explains the need for the phrase “get a life.” But Jazz hadn’t been at school on the Thursday or Friday after he had called and cancelled our playdate, and now it’s Sunday night, and I still haven’t heard from him. And although I’m frustrated that all of my elaborate plans to make him fall head over heels in love with moi have apparently tanked, I’m also growing genuinely concerned.

That’s when my cell phone, which I placed on my chest before I lay down on my now “love-spell-pink” wrapped mattress, starts singing Express Yourself.

“Yo.” I don’t check the number. It’s Emmy—who else would it be?

“Hi, Chance.” The deep voice is so not Emmy’s.

Yaaassss!!! This is what ninety-nine percent of my insides shout. One percent says quietly, “It’s about frigging time you called, asshole.”

But my voice is calm. “Jasper,” I say blandly. In my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be called Jazz any longer.

“Um, sorry, no. It’s Jazz.”

I try not to roll my eyes even though I know he won’t see, but it’s an epic fail. “Whatever.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a couple days. My mom’s been real sick. I was lookin’ after her, gettin’ her to the doctor, goin’ to the pharmacy, bringing JoJo back and forth to school, and stuff.”


“Mom caught JoJo’s strep throat and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t even swallow.” He stops talking for a second and then clears his voice. “Alls she could do was spit into a rag whenever she needed to swallow.”

Well, that’s definitely TMI, but I get the fucker-nelly revolting picture. “I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault, dude.”

And then there’s silence.

“Gonna take JoJo to the library after school tomorrow. But first I gotta stop by the cable company and pay up or we’re gonna lose our TV and internet at home. They already warned us like twice.”

“Want me to pick up Yolo at school and take her to the library?” I’m so freaking pissed off at him. Why am I offering to save his ass again?

“That’s cool of you to offer, but there’s a bus she can take to the library from her school. Could ya be waiting for her at the library, in case I get held up?”

“Of course.” I’m a Class A sucker.

“You’re such a cool pal.” Ugh—so not what I’m going for.


“I’m not gonna be at lunch tomorrow seein’ as I’ll probably be collecting my makeup work. So, I’ll see ya at the library. ‘Kay?”

I don’t say kkkk cuz it’s not even slightly cool. “Sure. The libes after school, it is.”

“Thank you, bro,” Jazz offers.

One more silence, and then I say, “Later.”

I have research to do.

About Mia:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Mia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Author Links:
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing

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A special thanks to Will at Pride Promotions for organizing this tour.

Review: Aloha Man by Danica St. Como

Hawaiian demolitions expert Kamaka decides to take charge of his life, and spends a long winter at Sanctuary paramilitary training camp revamping himself from soft and mellow to hard bodied and focused. When Kamaka is introduced to exquisite Navajo silversmith Zachariah Black Crow, his heart damn near stops and his libido kicks into overdrive. Kamaka is convinced the Island gods have bestowed upon him the greatest gift the earth has to offer--all Kamaka needs to do is convince the younger, over-the-top handsome man to come to his bed. Freely. Willingly.

Zach, shy and withdrawn, avoids entanglements with people he doesn't know. A victim of a brutal attack in his college days, he focuses on his art to help deal with the nightmares. He's never had a relationship, male or female, so his newly awakened sexual interest in Kamaka confuses him. Should a man want to submit to another man, the way he wants to submit to Kamaka? Can he be the responsive, giving lover Kamaka needs, the man Kamaka desires?

This is closer to 1.5 Hearts but because the cover isn't horrible, I'll round up.

My face while reading this book...just add a bucketful of eye rolls and groans.

Essentially, this was supposed to be a romance between a Hawaiian demolitions expert (Kamaka) and a Native American  jewelry artist (Zachariah). Both men have their own demons but they found love in a hopeless place.

Kamaka is a demolitions expert that didn't really showcase his job other than talking about working with a bucket load of people, so I'm going to assume it's touched upon in the previous books. The rest of the series is mostly het BTW. Kamaka was formerly overweight without the  self esteem issues. He had a lover who was claimed to be deviant for liking pain with his sex (SM). He is loved by everyone the moment they meet him and he is so hot because he looks just like the Scorpion King.

And EVERYONE thinks this when they meet him including children who weren't even born when the movie came out. All 7-8 year old boys in 2015 love the Scorpion King, right?

And Zach, the Native American artist with a troubled past who struggles with his sexuality can't deny the pull of the Scorpion King Kamaka. The story has a large cast of characters, weak sex and weird suspense plot thrown in to add more length but no substance. Here's Zach's description of the mighty Kamaka:

"What a contradiction he is. Intelligent, well-read, so curious. Soul of a poet, strength of the Terminator. Sometimes well-spoken Oxford English, other times Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. A gentle man who explodes things. A pacifist who trains warriors. A Renaissance man. A lover of men."
The writing style is not for me - the numerous characters, the telling, the name dropping.

This book had a number of issues, I'll try to keep it brief.

The main issue? This book is 251 pages. It is 201 pages too long.

The secondary characters get equal face time as the "main characters", it really read like a continuation on Lorelei, Abigail, Keko, Lucian, Adam, the sheriff, the annoying non-kid (I'll get to my contention with a child acting like an adult soon) Jeremiah...everyone else is talking about what cook, eat, sleep, wore...does the reader really need to know those things? The romance was insta-love when you remove the secondary characters taking over the book. The main character suffered from being overshadowed by everyone that anything they did read unbelievable.
Another issue: being out of date - if this book was maybe publish twenty years ago, it might make sense. It was corny. But it might work better in the 1990's than today...maybe. It might need to be pushed even further back in time.

Child sized adult: Jeremiah was 7 going on 70 years old. He spoke like an adult for the most of the book:
"I know what skedaddle means now. It means hurry up, but it's more polite than sayin' move your ass." 
How charming. :( No one corrected him or anything. I also don't get how he was so advanced he knew how to get out of complex security system and to befuddle a slew of ex-soldiers and FBI agents...yet he spoke like a baby in the next and didn't have enough sense to stay away from strangers.

The name dropping - if I wanted to read a book about a guy who is like the Scorpion King or James Dean or all the other celebrities the author used to describe a person, I'd read fan fiction. Wait was this Scorpion King fan fiction?

The focus on Kamaka - he's so mighty that Zach (who had the better background to explore) got swept under the rug. And this will be a spoiler, so look away now because it needs to be reviewed. How can his rape be swept under the rug like that? Kamaka tells him to get over it because he had it rough too since his ex-lover dumped him in public. Public breakup is worse that gang rape PTSD?  I wish Zach was written differently. He had potential to be a good character. It was handled wrong, he was written flat.

The suspense - the sloppiest plot twist. The "villain" is Kamaka's ex. We meet him in the first scene where he tries to get back in Kamaka's good graces because he's not heavy anymore. Kamaka tells him no and then cut to 80% or so where he pops up ready to kill Kamaka and everyone he holds dear. Um...why? Even Kamaka thinks:
"In years past, Kamaka had never considered Randy really dangerous, more like keeping a at terrier leashed to prevent him from getting into trouble with larger vermin that he could handle."
The guy wasn't violent and now he's ready to shoot a kid and Kamaka? The logic in Randy as a character was missing. It's apparent he was thrown in to move the Secondary Character Recap aka "Aloha Man" along.

And my last gripe about Kamaka - just because he's Hawaiian, it doesn't mean he has to be a walking and talking cliche. He wore Hawaiian t-shirts, spoke in a weird surfer dude-philosophic way. It was frustrating to say the least.

Though I did not like this book, I think fans of Brita Addams and Vicktor Alexander would enjoy it. This author's style is in the same vein.

 I won't be reading anymore of this series or from this author.

For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Origins (The Talisman Ring of Amenhotep #2) by Zev de Velera

Determined to find answers to the mysteries surrounding the ancient electrum ring he inherited from his late lover, Egyptologist Theo Barojas, Julian Wingate and his new partner, Dinesh, seek out the help of Theo's aging mentor. When the lively centenarian reveals secret knowledge that ties him to Julian's nemesis, the Directrix, the trio unit to seek out the truth. But not all the secrets that will be revealed are ancient ones. Dinesh must deal with demons from his past, Julian will struggle with his attraction to the seductive Hiroshi Sato, and Dinesh's daughter, Rachna, will be torn between loyalty to her father and the demands of her charismatic new employer. And then there are the questions that nag at Julian. What strange bond does he share with the Directrix, who possesses the mate of his talisman ring? Why can only they wear the relics with impunity? To find the answer to these and other questions, Julian must return to the point of origin; the tomb of Amenhotep Son of Hapu.

I’ve always been fascinated by Egyptology and the lore and legend that goes along with it. This series is so unique and speaks to my fascination in a big way. There’s history, romance, a mystery or two and the edge of paranormal that you need to have to make a story like this complete. I was hooked after the first book and the second one continues the story of the characters I thoroughly enjoyed in The Talisman Ring. Dinesh and Julian are back and their relationship is moving on to the next level of commitment. It’s obvious they are totally in love with one another and reading about them nesting together have the mystery and the drama of the story it’s balance of sweetness.

What is fun about their characters is their uniqueness. You know that feeling you get when you watch a great classic movie on TCM? Everyone in the movie is classier, fancier and prettier than your average schmoe. That’s how it is reading these characters. And it’s not like reading snobbery or anything like that, they are just naturally in a different world and it’s so pretty to read. At the same time, they are accessible and relatable on an emotional level so you can appreciate all the fancy and still connect with the story.

In Origins there are some new characters introduced, including a double agent of sorts that I’m dying to know more about. You have to read it, but this could end up going so wrong or so right depending on this character and I really want to know! Hiroshi is back and I’m still up in the air about how I feel about that slutty little number. I don’t trust him at all, but he’s totally piqued my interest. He better not keeping messing with Julian too much though, Dinesh is way more understanding than I am. The connection between Julian and the Directrix is revealed. Sort of. There’s a lot more to that story and I’m going to anxiously await the next installment.

This is one of those series that is written in a way that makes me want to see it as a movie. The visuals the author paints are so vivid and I’ve already mentioned the pretty so you can get where I’m coming from there. I’d highly recommend this series to anyone with a fascination for history in general and Egyptology in particular. It’s a great old-fashioned mystery with memorable characters and a couple I’ve come to love reading about. Their banter is endearing and their sexy times are quite sexy. Highly recommended.

For more information on Origins, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**