Review: The Mutt: An Order Short Story by Kasia Bacon


Title: The Mutt: An Order Short Story
Author: Kacia Bacon
Date of publication: 20 Jan 2017
Genre/themes: Fantasy mm romance, elfs, short story

Author's links: Website Twitter / Pinterest

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My rating: 4 stars


I, Ervyn Morryés of the Black Mountain clan, know all about control.

As the only fair-haired Dark Elf in the Highlands, I had to learn to control my fists and my temper in the face of derision. 

To become the best archer amongst my peers, I had to learn to control my breathing and my movements.

But the day the half-breed called Lochan Féyes arrived at the training camp, my discipline faltered. Because—sweet gods—when I am around that aloof, blue-eyed assassin, my need is uncontrollable.


This is the debut work of Kasia Bacon, a short story introducing the fantasy world inhabited by elves and humans of her upcoming mm fantasy The Order.

It's a quick read which I found rather engaging. The world building is really detailed and atmospheric. I likes the easy flow of the story and found the writing really beautiful. We don't see much of the characters but what we do see makes me excited learn more about them. Things between then start off mostly as sexual attraction but there is the promise of a lot more happening in the future.

I have a minor quibble with certain elements in the sex scene but it's more a matter of personal preference and not any fault on the author's side.

The glimpses in the side characters, as well as potential conflicts in the upcoming novel are lovely and intriguing.

Overall, this is a great introduction into an interesting mm romance set in an intriguing and richly developed (even withing the confines of the small size of a short story) which I'm intrigued to read.

Purchase link: Amazon


Review: From the Ashes by Xen Sanders


Title: From the Ashes (Fires of Redemption #1)
Author: Xen Sanders
Genre: Paranormal romance, M/M, dark
Release Date: 2 Jan 2017
Author's links:
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My rating: 4.5 Stars


Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias's hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean--or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?


This story is such an unusual read and I enjoyed it so much. It's Xen Sanders' second book, and in a way there are some similarities with Shatterproof which I also loved.

We have Tobias, a dark and broody antihero, supervillan who hides a human heart who tells the story and I found his voice was powerful and absolutely fascinating. It's not easy to make the reader fall in love with someone like him, he's killed millions, is (for most of the story) a tool for mass destruction in his father's hand, yet Xen Sanders gives us an insight into his soul (yes, he does one). His inner doubts, the small questions that keep piling up, the chance of a different life, the hope that he can be human, can love and be loved in return, all those little things add up make him more human that even he thought possible. And all this turmoil and questioning of his own self and his perception of the world comes from meeting and getting involved sexually and romantically (much to his surprise) with another person, professor Sean Archer.

The reader is led to believe for most of the story that Sean is just that, am ethics professor who falls for his student. Avoiding spoilers I will just say, there is much more to him, most of it coming out unexpectedly and it was brilliant both in terms of plot twist and romantic perspective. 

From the Ashes has an action-packed plot, full of twists, a rich background to a story of finding yourself, your humanity and fighting to be a better person. It's never too late to change if you really want/believe in this new self of yours.

The story reads far too real and human for a paranormal romance. For me it reads like one big metaphor for our present day wold - power struggles, fear/hatred of anyone who is different, and the tender intimate connection be ween two human beings which makes all the hardships bearable and all the struggles worth for the potential of happiness.

I loved the tension, the dynamics between Tobias and Sean. Their relationship stands out to me with its richness and depth of feelings, never crossing into being cheesy, never opting for the easy solution of I love you and i forgive you everything.

This is yet another impeccably written story by Xen Sanders. His witting is powerful fill of poetry and drama, dark and hopeful at the same time. Definitely I recommended read for fans of paranormal romance and for anyone who like a complex story with intricate characters inhabiting the gray area between good and evil.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N

Author Interview

New and Debut: Kasia Bacon


Another Monday, another debut author to meet. I'm so happy to have with me today Kasia Bacon presenting her debut short story, The Mutt, part of her upcoming Order series. And the cover and teaser graphics are awesome, aren't they?

Meet Kasia

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

Thank you, Ellie, for this opportunity to introduce my writing. As a noob, I’m delighted to be included. 

My background lies in psychology and sociology, but I’m a medical translator and interpreter by trade. I specialise in mental health and social care and at times witness distressing events. It can be draining, and so even though I enjoy my job, I need a way to decompress afterwards. Writing is my primary outlet.

My first attempts at writing were made in my native language. The first book that I wrote, illustrated and manufactured at the age of 7, had all the adults in my family in stitches. Which confused me deeply because it was intended as a tear jerker. I, for one, bawled my eyes out over it. What’s more emotional than bodies piling up everywhere? I continued writing similar dark and gruesome stories throughout my teenage years. 

I didn’t start writing romance until much later. I guess I needed to achieve a certain level of emotional maturity to think myself able to do it. Not that I see myself as a fully-fledged adult, God forbid. I’m fascinated by the complexity of human nature, and I perceive romance as a study of such. This genre, I believe, offers an exceptionally broad scope for an exploration of the characters’ complex feelings and motivations. There’s enormous potential for angst and drama in romance—and I love reading and writing both.

Also, I get to write sex. Which is fun.

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

Oh, wow. Reading has always been a huge part of my life, so… err, how much time have you got?
I don’t read much non-fiction apart from biographies, books on linguistics, forensic psychology and cookbooks. I adore and collect dictionaries; it’s a fixation of mine. As to fiction, I’ll read just about anything. However, I’ve got three areas of preference: historical fiction by 19th-century French novelists, classic mysteries and epic fantasy. Fantasy is my biggest love and the genre that moulded me in many ways.

I’m an obsessive fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series (and I’m totally one of those miserable bastards who would watch the GoT show while foaming at the mouth, mumbling and raging.) The First Law series, written by British author Joe Abercrombie, is a gritty delight; Steven Pacey gave it a shiver-inducing performance on audio. The Black Company books by Glen Cook are firmly amongst my favourite reads—I find this author's love of anti-heroes and his particular blend of sarcasm irresistible; he must be my kindred spirit. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson is next high on my list. Erikson’s novels are complex and odd, and while I’m aware that there appear to be two modi operandi amongst his readers—multiple rereads or DNF at 15%--I find the imagery in his books enthralling. The last series I’m going to mention had a tremendous impact on me: The Witcher Saga by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Sapkowski is the ingenious creator of Geralt of Rivia. It pains me, I mean physically pains me, when people think of Geralt merely in terms of a video game character.

I also read a lot of M/M romances. This genre brims with ridiculously creative and talented authors, and I have loads of favourites. If I had to limit myself to four, I’d say Josh Lanyon, JCP, Harper Fox and Ginn Hale come out on top. Ginn’s Wicked Gentlemen claims a special place in my heart. I completely and unequivocally get the unique and clever brand of urban fantasy she writes; figurative rather than descriptive, it takes one’s imagination by storm. I’d like to slice Ginn’s brain open and examine the contents. And that’s not weird at all.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

Good Lord. What don't I consider my writing inspiration? The thing is, I’m hyperactive and susceptible to all the stimuli. I’m compelled by ordinary things, like everyday conversations, or unusual situations I observe on the Tube (London can be such a whimsical place.) And given that I’m a linguist, certain phrases or sayings can get the cogs turning in my head; recently, a friend shared a Spanish idiom with me, and I itched until I could wrap a mini scene around it. I also get lots of feels and ideas when watching anime, which I do compulsively. Predominantly, I’m triggered by music, images (NSFW included) and nature. I adore forests, and I'm at my most creative when surrounded by greenery and quiet.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc.)?

I’m a total escapist, so that’s an easy question to answer: fantasy. With some humour and a fair amount of torment thrown in. I wouldn’t shy away from infusing it with some politically-engaged themes in the future; I might be wrong, but I feel one can get away with more in fantasy than other sub-genres in this respect. One day I might try writing a historical romance, potentially something set during the French Revolution or the reign of Louis XIV, which are my favourite periods in history. Perhaps I’ll stretch as far as writing a paranormal romance, but I doubt I’ll ever write a contemporary story. But who knows; it’s all still up in the air.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

The Mutt is a fantasy short story and a prelude to The Order series. It features the budding relationship between Ervyn Morryés, a cheeky archer and Dark Elf from the Highlands, and Lochan Féyes, a reserved half-breed, who grew up amongst humans in the assassins’ guild. The story is set in the Elven Country and recalls how Ervyn and Lochan met during their national service as young recruits in the Queen’s Army. I have a number of other characters and storylines from the same universe in the works, but Lochan and Ervyn will always be special to me.

The Mutt
An Order Series Short Story

I, Ervyn Morryés of the Black Mountain clan, know all about control.

As the only fair-haired Dark Elf in the Highlands, I had to learn to control my fists and my temper in the face of derision. 

To become the best archer amongst my peers, I had to learn to control my breathing and my movements.

But the day the half-breed called Lochan Féyes arrived at the training camp, my discipline faltered. Because—sweet gods—when I am around that aloof, blue-eyed assassin, my need is uncontrollable. 


A linguist and an avid reader with a particular fondness for fantasy and paranormal genres, KASIA BACON lives in London with her husband. When not tearing her hair out over a translating project, she writes stories about the shenanigans of emotionally constipated assassins and sexy Elves. Otherwise, she can be found shaking her loins at a Zumba class, binging on anime or admiring throwing knives on Pinterest. She has a mild coffee and lemon tart addiction. A lover of MMA and Muay Thai, she also enjoys nature and the great outdoors. She dreams of becoming independently wealthy, leaving the city and moving into her wooden mini-manor—located in the heart of stunning forests resembling those of the Elven Country depicted in her tales.


Review: Wild Kisses by Skye Jordan


Title: Wild Kisses (Wildwood #2)
Author: Skye Jordan
Date of publication: 10 Jan 2017
Genre/themes: Contemporary Romance, Small-town

Author's links: Facebook / Website / Goodreads / Twitter
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My rating: 4 stars


Newly divorced, Avery Hart returns home to Wildwood eager to take on her dream opportunity and transform her family’s dive bar into her own bakery. The contractor for hire isn’t just a master with his hands—he’s big, built, and wears a tool belt like nobody’s business. Despite being an ex-con, Trace Hutton is irresistible. Too bad he’d never go for someone as inexperienced as Avery.

Trace needs to focus on the job at hand, not daydream about smearing icing all over the sexy baker…and licking it off. This job is the key to getting his construction company back on its feet after his time in prison. Besides, no one deserves a fresh start more than Avery, and she certainly won’t get that with him.

After a delectable night of passion (and pie), Trace craves something more. But he’ll be damned if he’ll let his checkered past crush her dreams. And as Avery starts to realize how Trace fulfills more than just her physical needs, she struggles with whether to let her history decide her future, or explore the wild new possibilities of forever…


I loved the first book in the series, Forbidden Fling, and this one is just as good - a moving, sexy, heart-warming romance in a small town setting.

I really like what the author is doing with this series, building a great small town community and populating with the most amazing and intriguing characters. We get the feel-good, heart-warming atmosphere of small-town romance with the added edge of really complex characters, struggling with their past trying to move forward and ultimately falling in love. 

I really loved the heroine here. Avery married young her high school sweetheart but their marriage soon turned loveless and she ended back in her hometown, divorced and trying to get a fresh start. I liked the twist of her having been married, yet being very much inexperienced both sexually and romantically. She was understandably cautious with men but couldn't resist falling for Trace. I loved how determined to succeed, personally and professionally she was. 

Trace was a great character as well, an ex-con, a ladies' man trying to stay away from Avery because he didn't think he was good enough for her. He had a lot of going on in his life and falling (and trying to stay away from) Avery who on top of everything was his current boss was a complication he didn't need.

They had great chemistry and the sexual attraction was there from the start but nothing happened easily for them. The conflict they had to overcome in order to be together felt very real and the way they bumbled their way into a relationship was fitting to their characters - imperfect, a little lost, a lot hesitant because of their pasts but also hopeful and willing to give love a chance. There were no magical solutions to their personal and professional troubles but hard work and concentrated effort made things work for them.

Both Avery and Trace have a lot going on in their lives when they met each other - both trying to get back on their feet, dealing with difficult family issues (though neither of them was on their own) and both reluctant to enter a relationship and yet unable to resist the attraction between them. 

I enjoyed the complex, even slightly convoluted plot and feel it helped bring out all the best/worst qualities of the characters making the reader see them as real people and not just  as figments of the author's imagination.

Wild Kisses is sweet and sexy, real and deeply romantic, definitely a recommended read for me. 

Purchase links: Amazon

Author Interview

New and Debut: Eli Lang


Here is my first New and Debut post for 2017 and I'm very excited for you to meet a friend of mine and upcoming author, Eli Lang, whose debut novel, Half, will be released next month by Riptide publishing

Meet Eli 

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

I’m interested in the relationships and bonds people form. In families, between friends—and of course, in romance and love. Writing about all the different ways that people connect is fascinating for me, and fun. I like figuring out how people get together and fall in and out of love.

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

Oh, gosh. There’s so many and I’m going to end up forgetting something. Anything by Alexis Hall, KJ Charles, Chris Scully, Harper Fox, Avon Gale, Kris Ripper... For books that are more fantasy, I’m a huge Patricia A. McKillip fan, especially her book The Cygnet and the Firebird. I love Naomi Novik, Guy Gavriel Kay and Emma Bull (her book Finder is one of my all-time favorites.) Andrew Smith and S.E. Hinton on the YA end of things. I love Karin Lowachee’s sci-fi series starting with Warchild. And W.A. Hoffman’s Raised By Wolves series has had a huge impact on me.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

Definitely everyone I listed above, and all of the authors I love. Reading amazing books makes me want to write more, and write better. I also get a lot of inspiration from listening to music. I like to listen to lyrics and try to build stories out of them. Manga and anime also had a big influence on how I tell stories, how I build plot and relationships.

I’ve also been lucky enough to meet a lot of amazing people in and around the writing community, and I think their thoughts and what I’ve learned from them has had a huge influence on me and how I write.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

I’m really open to writing anything—I like to read in a lot of different genres, so I’d like to try writing in a lot of different genres, too. But mostly I’m drawn to writing romantic adult/NA fantasy and sci-fi. Some contemporary stories might also sneak in.

5. Please, introduce your upcoming release.

My first book, Half, is coming out with Riptide Publishing in February. It’s a romantic contemporary fantasy. You can read the first chapter from the book on the publisher's site


Living between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.

I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.

But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.

Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.

Preorder from Riptide 

Author Bio and Links

Eli Lang is a writer, drummer, and origami enthusiast. She lives in Arizona with too many pets and too many books.

Annabeth Alberth

Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert


Title: Off Base (Out of Uniform #1)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre/Themes: MM romance, military, gamers
Release Date: 9 Jan 2017

Author links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
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Rating: 4 Stars


After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike's flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike's arrival would spark from Zack's teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can't refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won't be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He's an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he's had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can't risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack's restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn't know how to be the man Pike deserves.


This is a spin-off of her Gaymers series but works well on its own, so there is no need to read the other series though they are rather good, especially the last book, and I highly recommend them.

The main set up is in a way similar to that in Connection Error, here we have a military man and a gamer (in this case, gamer--turned-college professor) coming together. The Navy SEAL Zack is a virgin hero, deeply in the closet, not fully out even to himself, while Pike is his opposite - he has never been in the closet and cannot (doesn't even try) to pass as straight. Now, you can imagine the tension arising from these two living under the same roof and dealing with the strong attraction existing between them.

I liked the intensity of the relationship, both their struggles - personal and professional felt real to me. Pike didn't want to start things with someone who was not clear about his own sexuality, while Zack was under a lot of pressure from his family and the military to keep playing the perfect straight boy. At time sit felt like Pike came as a bit too aggressive in his insistence for Zack to come out since this could and in a way, did, put him in real physical in the military. His family were ultra conservative, religious and homophobic and coming out as gay to them went as well (bad) as can be expected.

All this put enormous stress on both Pike and Zack and made it really difficult for them to form a real relationship rather than just being f*ck buddies on the sly. Add to this the professional insecurity and turmoil both faced as two young men trying to fit in the world of grown-up working people after graduation, and things quickly reached a boiling point.

The story creates a strong sense of community and support for Zack and Pike as a couple, which really sends a positive, hopeful message. Zack ended being rejected by his family and it was not an easy thing for him to deal with but he also got the support he needed from the military and his friends (waves to Ryan and Josiah).

I found both main characters to be well developed, full-fledged, which made them so very likable. Their story is the story any two young men trying to build a life of their own - personally and professionally which I can recommend to any fan of good contemporary romance.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks

Historical Romance

Review: Wanted, a Gentleman by KJ Charles


Title: Wanted, A Gentleman
Author: KJ Charles
Genre/Themes: Historical, MM romance
Release Date: 9 Jan 2017
Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook Group / Goodreads
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My rating: 4 Stars


By the good offices of Riptide Publishing
KJ Charles’s new Entertainment

Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann  . . .  a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

Act the First:

the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second:

a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)

a speedy Carriage
sundry rustic Inns
a private Bed-chamber
In the course of which are presented
Romance, Revenge, and Redemption
Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires

the particulars of which are too numerous to impart.


KJ Charles' historical romance are my favourite queer historicals and this one easily joins their ranks. It's impeccably written, engaging and so much fun. This is a kind of road trip story in the chase of a runaway bride where two unlikely people fall in lust-love. 

This Georgian romance is less serious than the Society of Gentlemen series but we have some political elements  here as well and they give this light-hearted story an edgier feel and a certain depth to the characters which makes them all the more likable. 

I won't go into details about the plot, but I just want to say that we have The Matrimonial Advertiser as the great-great grandfather of Tinder and Grindr and reading about it was highly enjoyable. 

The leading characters, as one has come to expect from KJ Charles, read like real-life people dealing with real-life issues. Martin who is an freed slave is a most fascinating character and I loved everything about him -he is very attractive, smart but also struggling with conflicting feelings of gratitude and rightful indignation towards his former masters. He appears so put together,a  successful business man, confident and completely at ease with who he is but meeting Theo and the road trip they take together brings to the fore all his buried emotions.

I found Theo less intriguing than Martin though they certainly made an interesting couple. I loved how they saw the other for he was and even though things between them started as a business transaction they quickly developed into something real, intimate. 

There is a big twist in the story towards the end which I have to admit I didn't expect and it did turn things around in many ways, yet it still worked  and added a certain sensationalist flavour to the story. 

Wanted, A Gentleman is a quick and very entertaining read, recommended for the times you want to escape reality and lose yourself in a good book. 

Purchase links: Riptide

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