Book Review: Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by A Novel Take PR
Publication Date:August 15, 2017
Publisher: InterMix
Point of View: First Person (Noah & Gavin)
Genres & Themes: Romance, M/M Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Football


The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…


Santino Hassell might have 31 distinct works, according to Goodreads, but do not be misguided—he’s just getting started. Every work keeps getting better and better. His tagline is Get Hasselled, and, trust me, once you read one of his books you get sucked into his books and you get an inkling of what Hasslled means.

Illegal Contact was that for me. A wild ride from beginning to end. With characters like Gavin, a football player who has been sentenced to house arrest after an altercation, and Noah, a guy who has just been fired from his previous job who now finds himself considering any job, even as a person assistant to a guy know for his anger-management issues.

There’s three things you should know about Gavin and Noah, respectively.


—Doesn’t give a fuck.

—Unless he cares for you.



—Noah doesn’t really like football

—or football players.


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Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express (A Hercule Poirot Mystery)

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Received: Own
Publication Date:March 29, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Point of View: Third Person (Hercule Poirot)
Genres & Themes:  Fiction, Mystery, Detective, Suspense, Mystery Thriller


“The murderer is with us–on the train now . . .”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again . . .


A couple of years ago, let’s round it to 7 (because why not, like I’m pretty sure that’s the number), I got stuck on this game. Now, back then I didn’t really read/look for walkthroughs, and so here I am going back and forth to this bees scene and I just can’t get through. So, I found that the most sensible thing to do was just exit out of the game.

For 7 years, naturally. As one does, you know. When one gets stuck in a game.

Fast forward 7 years, my little sister is asking me what this game, And Then There Were None, is about and she asks, “well, did you finish it?” and you could see me looking off into the camera, because girl do I have a story to tell you.

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Book Review: Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack #2) by Megan Erickson

Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack, #2)

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by author/publisher
Publication Date:July 21, 2017
Publisher: Unlisted
Point of View: First Person (Nash & Bay)
Genres & Themes:  LGBTQ+, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Shapeshifters


Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…


Megan Erickson is that you? I know I’ve read and loved Daring Fate, and I was baffled that Megan Erickson did THAT. Then, I read Chasing Destiny, and all I thought was Holy, Megan Erickson did THAT.

Image result for she did that gif

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Book Tour + Review: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale & Roan Parrish

Heart of the Steal

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by A Novel Take PR
Publication Date:July 11, 2017
Publisher: Philtre Press
Point of View: First Person (Will & Amory)
Genres & Themes:  LGBTQ+, M/M Romance, Contemporary


Responsible, disciplined William Fox channeled his love for art and his faith in the rules into being an FBI Art Crimes agent. Right and wrong, justice and injustice—the differences are clear, and Will has spent his career drawing a line between them. Maybe his convictions have cost him relationships, but he’s not willing to compromise what he knows is right. Until the night he meets Amory Vaughn.

As the head of his family’s philanthropic foundation, Vaughn knows very well that being rich and powerful can get him almost anything he wants. And when he meets endearingly grumpy and slightly awkward William Fox, he wants him more than he’s wanted anything. Vaughn is used to being desired for his name and his money, but Will doesn’t care about either.

When Vaughn falls back on old habits and attempts to impress Will by stealing a painting Will admires, their nascent bond blows up in his face. But Vaughn isn’t willing to give up on the glimpse of passion he saw the night he took Will apart. Before Will knows it, he’s falling for the man he should have arrested, and Vaughn has to realize that some things can’t be bought or stolen. Love has to be given freely. But can a man who lives by the rules, and a man who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, ever see eye to eye?

Heart of the Steal is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It features a Southern gentleman who thinks he’s always right, a buttoned-up FBI agent who secretly likes his buttons unbuttoned, and wall sex. And desk sex. And picnic blanket sex.


Steal of my Heart—I mean Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish is the book I never thought of needing until they wrote it, and I’m baffled?

Let me tell you one of my most favorite manga was about a thief, who stole (ha!). One night, he was stealing from a house, but a guy was in the same room hiding and saw the thief…well, thieving. The police come a moment later, with the head of the police leading the investigation. Long story short—thief turns out to be the head police, and the guy ends up falling for the thief/police guy (there’s a good reason why he’s stealing, btw).

So, then, if this is my favorite manga, did I not think to get it in a novel format? I honestly am so ashamed of myself, but thankfully Avon Gale and Roan Parrish teamed up to write this beautiful, romantic, hilarious book.

Heart of the Steal is about Amory Vaugh and William Fox (completely in love with Amory’s name, btw), a snobby wealthy philanthropist known for donating funds for the Arts, and the black-and-white view FBI officer.

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Much Anticipated Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by Edelweiss
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Point of View: First Person (Monty)
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical, LGBTQ+, M/M Romance, Bisexual MC, Fantasy


Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue—more like The Gentleman’s Guide to Breaking my Heart One Page at a Time by Mackenzi Lee. Given it might not be a catchy title as TGGTVV, but it be rather apt, and all true.

Fanart from Ace Artemis Fanartist

With a cast like Monty, Percy, & Felicity, it really is not possible to not fall in love with this book. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue is filled with adventure, heart and resilience. Recently, I was having a conversation with a TGGTVV reader, she responded with something that read, “I’m loving it, it took a dark turn that I wasn’t expecting.” It got me thinking on the journey, and the story, and my expectations and the delivery, and until I’m sat here writing this review…it hit me.

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Book Review: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by Netgalley
Publication Date:February 13th 2018
Publisher:First Second
Point of View: N/A
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, LGBTQ+


The Prince and the Dressmaker is about a young 19th Century prince named Sebastian who secretly loves to wear dresses. He hires an ambitious young seamstress named Frances to make dresses for him and as their collaboration grows, so do their feelings for one another. Sebastian and Frances must find a way to balance their inner desires with the strict expectations of the royal family – or risk exposing Sebastian’s secret to the world.


No lie, I’ve been wanting this book since 2016. I requested this book in 2016. And then I got an email back that read that this beautiful, amazing, thrilling graphic novel wasn’t set out to come out until 2018.

And that’s the story on how your blogger died.

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Blog Tour: Oversight (The Community #2) by Santino Hassell + Review!

Oversight (The Community, #2)


My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by/from A Novel Take PR
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Point of View: Third Person (Holden)
Genres & Themes: MM Romance, LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery Romance,


Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.

Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.


A reader said that it’s first a thriller. Second, a mystery, and third, a romance. And that could very be the case for Insight ( The Community #1), but for Oversight (The Community #2), Santino Hassell masters the perfect blend of all three, simultaneously. The perfect coalesced blend of thriller, mystery, and romance. Without one overtaking or dominating the book.

Although, I have to come clean and say that Six and Holden, and their banter and connection was one of the best part of the book. See, I’m a sucker for soul mates (not saying this is what Six and Holden have), strong connections, and just like a bond.

“But you’re gorgeous. The combination of your skin color and black hair is gorgeous. If you weren’t such an asshole, I could probably get lost in your eyes. They’re beautiful.”

“A woman at the Farm told me I had devil eyes, and the description got around.(…)”

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