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Lenni Reviews: “Smoke Signals” by Meredith Katz

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Working what should have been a typical shift at a customer service phone line for a gaming company, Mike is suddenly asked by a dragon to install the company’s entire catalog of games, necessitating the need to stay at the dragon’s home for several days. Zali’thurg like any dragon has a horde and games are his collection of choice. Now that Mike has proven himself competent, Zali’thurg insists he maintain and protect his collection not realizing Zali’thurg may want to keep him as well.

I LOVE how our main characters are so damn practical. Mike and Zee sit and talk about how they feel and their boundaries. They take some time to come together and work things out when they have a conflict. They are so damn forthright and honest, it’s adorable. And seeing how this is a paranormal romance set in modern day with a dragon that hoards video games, this could have fone VERY wrong and ended up a veritable cringe-fest of references. Thankfully, this book avoids that.

However, this book is hampered by its short length. Clocking in at only 100 pages, Katz has to get these two into the sack at least once before the end and once they do, it’s mostly exposition towards the end. But it was still cute! 3.9 out of 5.

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Today’s Run: New Personal Best!

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This run may not be a personal best for my pace or speed but I was able to stay at a jogging pace for a full THIRTY MINUTES. And by the end of the run, I didn’t feel too exhausted to do a proper cool down so all this work I’ve been putting in to increase my stamina are paying off!

All of this is working towards completing the C210K this year. Also, this isn’t my only run this week but this is the only run where I accomplished something different so I’m making a point to shamelessly brag about it.

Because I honestly was completely shocked I accomplished it.

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Lenni Reviews: “Bound for the Forest” by Kay Berrisford

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

When Brien returns to his childhood home to scrounge up something he can sell to settle his debts, he doesn’t expect to find a thief named Scarlet attempting to burn the place down. Scarlet considers Brien to be a traitor to the forest as he as abandoned his birthright. But all the legends Brien has shunned or dismissed as heathen tales are suddenly very real and very dangerous, much like his attraction to Scarlet.

This book takes the heavy kink of something like Take it All and ads a hefty dose of faerie lore. Brien and Scarlet’s will they/won’t they does go on a tad too long but they develop good chemistry so they may have been thrown together but they work. It’s when the book gets DEEP into its lore that could turn some people off. I personally loved the detailed world building around our main character’s sexual relationship.

And that relationship is intense, graphic, BDSM and some dubious consent. Not for the faint of heart.

This isn’t insta-love but it is insta-lust that becomes love later. If that’s your jam and you enjoy historical fantasy, this is a great outing! 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Kelpie Blue” by Mell Eight

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

As a kelpie, Blue is used to drowning humans in his lake and devouring them. But when a human named Rin and his mother move on to the property, Blue becomes fascinated by the strange boy. Eventually, the pair becomes inseparable but Rin’s mother is on the verge of losing the farm and her horse raising business. Blue offers to help by using his horse form to win races but outside forces from the fairie realm put them all in more danger than just losing their home.

As a gay romance, it’s fairly light but as a fantasy, this book is fun and interesting. I have to say I didn’t expect how the story went as the blurb accompanying it was WAY more vague, but it was satisfying and entertaining. Blue is a great character and Rin’s mother is a badass. Rin himself is more of a blank slate in comparison but we’re following his story and he’s a decent enough guy. I also love how the story is framed by Rin and Blue writing to each other in what is supposed to be a private diary. Very cute. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Evergreen” by Geneva Vand

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

When his sister is stricken with a strange illness, Gabriel is tasked by the local healer to seek out the help of a dragon named Kym. Kym insists Gabriel bring his sister to him to treat her directly and while living together, Kym and Gabriel grow closer knowing they will have to part once Gabriel’s sister is cured.

If you’re looking for a sweet, low smut, low angst gay paranormal romance, this will absolutely fit the bill. Even though Vand could have skipped it, every character – including our leads – has a distinct, believable personality; especially Gabriel’s sister, Ashley; a strong stubborn woman. Everyone was quite practical, kind, and level-headed; a rarity in a lot of emotionally charged romances. A great story! 3.9 out of 5.

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Writing Update: 500 Words a Day Challenge

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You could have seen this post earlier on my Patreon.

Since I’m signed up for his newsletter, I went ahead and opted into Jeff Goins’ 500 Words Challenge. And so far, I’m doing pretty good! I think the only day I’ve missed was January first since I signed up for the challenge on the second.

I have been focusing on book 4 in the First Brood series since that’s the one I want to finish the most. Don’t worry. I’m still putting around with my other projects but First Brood 4 is what’s really been on my mind.

I know on the blog it says blogging counts but I haven’t been counting it because it’s the stories that will hopefully be providing me with the income I desperately need. Since I’ve built the momentum, I hope I can complete this challenge!

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Lenni Reviews: “Take it All” by Quinn and Perin

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Featuring three short stories, Quinn & Perin offer a selection of hot, but ultimately not long lasting gay erotica stories. While not leaving much of an impact once they were over, while reading them you are dropped into the scene all of which are steamy as all get out. This is absolute smut with no pretense and in that, it succeeds. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Souls for Sale” by Asta Idonea & Nicki J. Markus

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

In exchange for one night of pleasure, Tom agrees to sell his soul to a demon named Saul. But when the night ends, Saul finds Tom too tempting to let go so they go on the run from the demons of Hell, who are not thrilled with Saul breaking his contract.

I found their flight from the assassin from Hell to be pretty darn interesting. Genuinely invested in this predicament, I wondered how Saul was gonna get out of it without Tom getting killed or worse. In that regard, I was not disappointed.

As for their relationship, the smutty scenes are well written and I empathized a great deal with Tom as the lost nerd and Saul’s sudden acquisition of feelings when he’s not supposed to have any. But in the end, this is pretty standard. Fun but standard. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Imitatore” by A. Rose

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Born with multiple magical abilities, Sophie knows she is destined to do great things. But when she meets Oliver, an Imitatore who has the gift to use her powers and amplify them, her destiny rushes headlong at her, upending her life and leaving her with few she can trust and the future of the world at stake.

This book encapsulates every trope of YA fiction: Very tell, don’t show, simple sentences, and a wayward protagonist. By ‘wayward’ I mean the plot seems to blow her along; not leaving her to make many decisions. I do appreciate the diverse cast; a dark-skinned main character and non-gendered costar. There’s some cool world building but this is absolutely geared for someone younger than myself. I still had fun reading it, though. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Equilibrium” by Katey Hawthorne

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

Sam has a problem. Whenever he gets near electronics, they tend to explode. But his roommate, Hansen, has powers as well and offers to help out Sam and get his powers under control. Not only is Hansen harboring feelings for his friend, but the world at large also is not kind to those with powers; the Awakened. If anyone finds out, both their lives would be in grave danger.

This is a cute story but I would have liked to see more of the issue around powers and dealing with how society deals with Awakened people. It’s made such a big deal of, saying it’s life-threatening for ‘sleepers’ to find out if you have powers but in the end, this plot point was lacking. The main characters are fleshed out but the cursory world building left me wanting. Expanding on that would make a really cool novel but as it stands, this book is a quick little romance that will keep you reasonably entertained for a short while. 3.5 out of 5.

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