Honor, by Jay Crownover

honor-jc

Grade: A

Doing it at: 49%

Catnip: He’s Basically a Criminal, Stripper with a Heart of Gold, Mafia, Tattoos, Strong Female Lead, Dual Narrative, Car Sex, Slow Burn, Sexual Healing, Regular Ol’Sex Club

Shame Scale: Low Shame, I’m pretty into the cover, and it really just takes way more to make us blush than it used to, we’re so jaded.

Fantasy Cast:  Zayn Malik-plus-ten-years (Don’t judge us) & Amber Heard

Book Description:

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t make excuses for me.

I am not a good man.

I’ve seen things no one should, done things no one should talk about. Honor and conscience have no place in my life. But I’ve fought and I’ve survived. I’ve had to.

The first time I saw her dancing on that seedy stage in that second rate club, I felt my heart pulse for the first time. Keelyn Foster was too young, too vibrant for this place, and I knew in an instant that I would make her mine. But first I had to climb my way to the top. I had to have something more to offer her.

I’m here now, money is no object and I have no equal. Except for her. She’s disappeared. But don’t worry, I will find her and claim her. She will be mine.

Like I said, don’t be fooled. I am not the devil in disguise… I’m the one standing front and center. 


Cleone: We are always pretty excited for a new Jay Crownover book, we have read essentially every book she’s written, and I blame the Marked Men books for really ruining me completely for non-romance (thanks Jay!).

Mary: I recommend these books to everyone who’s interested in romance. They’re delightful and easy with just the right amount of drama, and the absolute hottest heroes around.

C: Her men are all alphas, with tattoos, and hearts of gold, and a lot of them have pierced dicks.

M: No joke, these books have me wondering if there’s any way I could tempt my mild mannered insurance broker husband to consider a dick piercing.  They’ve expanded my vocabulary of what a hot guy looks like, and my porn searches have been revolutionized.

C: If you have never read a Crownover book, we strongly urge you to take the plunge. Her series are standalone novels, within an interconnected universe. And here is where I say something that is going to make Mary really happy: You should probably read the other Point books before you start Honor.

M: Yes pretty please read these books in order? It’s so much better that way! You technically don’t have to, but I really can’t with that attitude. Don’t half ass it.

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Priest, by Sierra Simone

Priest

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Man of the Cloth, Stripper With A Heart Of Gold, Forbidden Romance, Outercourse, Just The Tip, Creative Lube, #TeamAnal, #DISP

Shame Scale: All the shame. Ridiculously sexy erotica about a priest and a stripper, with every religious sexual metaphor you could possibly dream up.

What Do We Taste Like?: Sweeter than salvation and communion wine.

Fantasy Cast: James McAvoy, Sophia Bush

Book Description:

There are many rules a priest can’t break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again. 

I am a priest and this is my confession.

This was actually my third foray into the world of priest romance. The first was The Thornbirds, when I was approximately 12, and it taught me everything I know about sex that I hadn’t already learned in Clan of the Cave Bear. The second was A Little Too Far, by Lisa Desrochers, and it was extremely disappointing because it was billed as the double trash whammy of a stepbrother/girl/priest love triangle, but there ended up not even being any priest sex. This book though? Had copious, gratuitous, ridiculous priest sex, plus the hottest game of Just The Tip I’ve ever read (and a sweet little romance to boot)

Father Bell is the priest in a rural town outside of St.Louis that reminded me of Tree Hill or Stars Hollow – a nice little community where people go to church and everyone knows everyone. He’s manning the confessional one morning, counting down till get out of there and do things that priest like to do on their afternoons off, like watch The Walking Dead and go jogging while listening to vintage Britney, when Poppy slips into the booth.

She confesses that she’s not Catholic and has never been to confession, but she has been doing Bad Things, and feels like maybe this would help. She doesn’t go into details, but implies that the Bad Things are sexual in nature, and Father Bell immediately gets a boner. He steps out of the booth at the end of her confession to explain penance to Poppy face to face, and he’s all:

mistake 2

Because Poppy is stacked, with big red harlot’s lips, and Father Bell feels tempted for the first time since he took his vows. Father Bell starts thinking about all the Bad Things he wants to do to Poppy, specifically involving his steeple and those big, red lips of hers. He wants to know her. He wants to know her real hard.

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Stripped with the Vampire, by Jax Garren

Stripped with the Vampire

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 56%

Catnip: Ginger Men; Ass Biting; Vampires; Stripper with a Heart of Gold; All of the P None of the V; Second Chance Romance; #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: The cover is way more shameful than the actual story in this one. Could have used at least 30% more shame-y bits.

Fantasy Cast: Nick Bateman, Michael Fassbender

Book Description:

In a world of dark spells and blood ties where no one is safe, love is the most powerful magic of all. 

Shy vampire Charlie never intended to see Vince again after the bad boy human broke his heart. But when Vince turns up beaten and marked for sacrifice to an Aztec God, Charlie will do anything keep him safe. 

Vince has never forgiven himself for the lie that ended things with Charlie. The spark between them is as hot as ever, and Vince would risk body and soul to make it a fire again. But as they hide deeper in Austin’s supernatural society—a world of lies, dark magic, and warring immortals—he finds the path to reconciliation more twisted than he’s ever imagined.

We requested this ARC because we were looking for a good cheese book, and a closeted gay vampire book sounded perfect. It was actually much better than I expected. Which is good and bad. The cover makes this look like it will a Red Hot Burning Shame read, all P with no plot. And sometimes that’s what I have a hankering for. I like what I like, ok? The romance is a big part of the story in this one, but it ends up feeling comparable to a Sookie Stackhouse book, with lots of plot, less camp and 100% more anal sex. To skip the spoilers, scroll down from one extra hot guy to the other. You’re welcome.

Nick Bateman

Vince is a really hot stripper (human) who shows up for a job at a night club in a creepy old house. Also: he drives a Miata. I highlighted that part because I thought it might be relevant. (It wasn’t, but I still love it) Inside, he realizes that his best friend’s brother who booked him for the party, is actually a vampire now – and that everyone else is too. He knows all about vampires, because his ex boyfriend, the reserved ginger carpenter, Charlie, was one. Charlie was the love of his life, but when he found out that Vince was stripping, he broke up with him via paper note. He’s very old-fashioned that way: not a text, not a fax. Neither of them has really gotten over the other.

Vince realizes belatedly that these vampires are not like his rather normal/boring carpenter ex, rather, they’re more like the bloodthirsty Blade type vamps. There is a human woman directing everyone, and she tells Vince they are going to rip his heart out in a ritual sacrifice, but he needs to voluntarily give it up, or else her god won’t recognize it as a proper sacrifice. Vince is like, ok well that shouldn’t be a problem because I can’t imagine any situation in which I’d be cool with that! Unfortunately they drug him up with some type of Aztec drink and lots and lots of shots, and make him dance for hours while the vampires torture and feed on him. He ends up delirious, but still sane enough to Nope them when they ask for his heart.

He eventually escapes with the help of some friendly vampires. On the way out he is chased by some were-rats (no, not joking), but he manages to escape and run to his ex’s house. Charlie is shocked to see Vince and fights off the deadly were-rats. (I can’t stop laughing at that) Afterwards, Charlie takes Vince back to his place to bathe and rest, and they start bickering about their break up. Charlie never forgave Vince for lying about being a stripper – he is super jealous and possessive, and couldn’t stand the thought of other people seeing and touching him like that. Vince is still pretty pissed that Charlie dumped him with a Dear John letter, and never gave him a chance to explain himself. Vince feels like Charlie was the love of his life, but that he meant nothing to Charlie, who has lived hundreds of years, and will continue to live hundreds of years after he dies:

Soon he would be a memory to Charlie. But to Vince, Charlie would never be less than the universe compressed into human form.

Also, Charlie is very much in the closet, and Vince won’t put up with any of that. It made me lol a bit that vampire society in this universe is socially conservative. Aren’t vampires supposed to be inherently morally ambiguous?

That’s sort of how this book goes: There’s the overall storyline with vampire politics and mythology – in a nutshell, the two factions of vampire society are getting into a war, with the bad side being led by an evil mastermind Aztec witch with an apocalyptic plot. They team up with some other friendly vampires, who I hope show up in some other Vampires of Austin books. And then Jax weaves in the romance between Charlie and Vince. Going over their old hurts, the two of them trying to figure out if there’s a way they could ever work out.

Fassy

Garren does a good job building the mythology of this universe for us – witches came into play, shifters, even a god. The plot was engaging, and I really bought into the relationship between Vince and Charlie. Could have used a bit more sex though. That cover is selling something much more smutty than this is. Plus side though: there was some really great ass biting.

Amazon

Hard As You Can, by Laura Kaye

Hard As You Can

Grade: C+

Doing it at: 87%

Catnip: Smoking Hot Ex-Military Guy; Tattoos; Girl With A Hard Knock Life; Stripper With A Heart Of Gold; Human Trafficking; Organized Crime; Dangerous Criminal Villain; Alpha Hero; Dual Narrative

Shame scale: Tease shame. I expected shame, I wanted shame, but in the end, I could see my dad reading this one.

Fantasy casting: Timothy Olyphant, Isla Fisher

Book Description:

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn’t want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can–and never let go.

This is the second book in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series. There is an overarching plot to this series that should be read in order. This book picks up immediately after Hard As It Gets, from the perspective of Shane and Crystal – a stripper who helped them out during the climax of the first book. Crystal is a waitress at a strip club, with a scary abusive mobster boyfriend, who she sees as the lesser of two evils: she’s basically an indentured servant, paying off debts incurred by her late father – as a waitress at the club and Bruno’s girlfriend, rather than as a BDSM slave. She’s also shouldering the burden of this life to protect her sister, a college student with expensive epilepsy meds.

Enter Shane, who met Crystal during the rescue scene at the end of the first book. He is worried about the woman he saw, wonders if she’s alright, and decides to check up on her under the guise of seeing if she’ll help them out in their mission to solve the mystery of how he and the other Smoking Hot Ex-Military guys were all kicked out of the marines. It’s a long story. It’s basically your standard girl needs a hero, guy wants to be her hero story, with a pretty solid solve the mystery, defeat the bad guys plot.

I liked Crystal. She’s working in a strip club and staying with an abusive monster, but she’s not a victim. She’s managing an no-win situation, and methodically planning her exit strategy. With so many of my beloved Shame Books celebrating the billionaire fighter who claims his woman, slays her dragons, and pays her rent, I found this immensely refreshing:

“And Her gut told her that the man with the gray eyes was a savior. Just not hers. No, when she found a way out of this mess-and she would, for both her and Jenna-it was going to be because Crystal got them out. No such thing as white knights or Prince Charmings or caped crusaders in her life, that was for damn sure.”

And Shane. He is an Alpha Hero, who desperately wants to step in and bully Crystal and her sister to safety, but ultimately respects her autonomy, and allows her to accept or reject the help he is offering.

So here’s the rub. That cover makes you think Shameful Romance Book with so much sex. It even uses the word HARD in the title, you guys. In fact, every book in this series has a hot naked torso, entwined with a similarly clad woman, and a Hard something or other title. From the description: “Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed ….  All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can.” So obviously, one would think: this is the kind of book you don’t read in public. Aka a Shame Book. Aka Our Favorite Books.

There is no sex in this book until 87%. There is a tiny bit of outercourse at 55%, but at Mybookshame, Cleone and I are sticklers about the P in the V. So if one picked up this book hoping for a shame read, they would be sorely disappointed. It has about as much sex as the detective books my dad reads. This book is the epitome of a Tease Book. It’s the kind of book that tests our Scientific and Mathy Ratings Matrix. It screams sex on the outside but might as well be the DaVinci code. When I have to hide the cover I deserve to read something worth hiding. I deserve something that can go in the spank bank. I at least have earned something that might make a nun blush. A cover like this should deliver on the promise of a book I wouldn’t want to read aloud to my mother.

That’s really my big complaint about this book, because other than that, it’s pretty good. I enjoyed it a lot. The writing is great, I loved the characters, the plot is engaging, and other than being a big fat Tease, I don’t have anything mean to say about it. I’ll definitely be continuing to read this series, and I might even recommend it to my dad.

Amazon