BAD JUDGMENT by Sidney Bell

Embry Ford was a quiet, ordinary guy—until tragedy ripped his life apart. Now he’s living under the radar, desperate to hide his identity and determined to learn the truth behind what happened. Even if that means working for—and bedding—a man he loathes.

As a bodyguard to a shadowy arms dealer, Brogan Smith knows distractions can kill as easily as a bullet. But when he sets his eyes on his client’s sexy assistant, he can’t get him out of his mind. Even more unnerving: the closer he gets to Embry, the more Brogan starts to suspect he might be protecting the wrong man.

Embry was sure nothing but vengeance would satisfy him—until Brogan offers him something far more tempting. Now Embry must choose: punish the people who nearly destroyed him or fight for a future with the man who has become his entire world. 


Title : Bad Judgment
Author : Sidney Bell
Format : eBook
Page Count : 359
Genre : LGBTQIAP+ romance / suspense
Publisher : Carina Press
Release Date : September 19, 2016

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Okay, so, I am once again cheating by stealing big chunks of an old review for this review as I just did a reread of this with two buddies (hi buddies!) and honestly.. other than some in-the-moment-specific commentary, my feelings of this — even five years later! — have not changed. I did downgrade it from a full five to half a point less but honestly that’s just semantics that this point. This book is still fantastic and I’m still pretty trash for this author. Which is a sad thing to say because I have no idea if she has any plans to release any more books. So I must, instead, sit here and hope.. and pine.

I’m sorry, you’re going to have to say that again, because I heard that with the ear that only catches stupid sentences.

But anyway.

Brogan, why the hell are you sending dirty texts to Ford? On MY phone. My mother could have read this! Do you want to get fired? Why did you turn off autocorrect? What is wrong with you?

This book has everything. An OTP that will wreck you in every possible and wonderful way. Seriously hilarious dialogue and banter that is at times silly and ridiculous but so charming and adorable. Such sass oh my god the sass. Mystery, tragic backstory, violence, abuse, thrilling corporate espionage, murder.. yes, it’s all in there to keep you on the edge of your seat, but the friendships, the connections, are what make this story so spectacular and wonderful.

Do you remember the good old days when straight men were too macho and insecure to talk about gay sex? I do. They were nice days.

I’m not saying it isn’t without it’s less awesome moments. There’s definitely elements the reader isn’t supposed to like, and man did I not like them (see above RE abuse), but Bell packs so much into this story to outweigh those little bits, even when they are integral to the plot.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve wanted something badly enough to feel it with my whole body, Mario. I’m not saying it’s not a mistake. I’m saying it might be a mistake worth making. Sometimes mistakes lead to the best moments of your whole existence.

It’s not often that some of the events that occur in darker contemporary reads that feature m/f pairings are echoed in m/m stories and I love how Bell treated the genre equally. I mean, those events aren’t really something to cheer for but the inclusion makes it realistic. I loved the emotion, the pain, the rage, the love, the forgiveness, the impossible to resist heat.. everything was described and shown so beautifully. All these years later I’m still amazed this was the author’s debut because it’s so so strong. The chemistry between these two was just.. and the characters themselves.. ugh, I’m just a mess.

He was utterly, wildly, madly furious with Brogan for making him into this divided creature with hopes and feelings and thoughts of a future.

I really don’t want to give much about the plot away. But the story, using only google-esque search keywords, involves : bodyguards, weapons manufacturing, illicit activities, espionage, looooove, shitty bosses, dog farts, handcuffs, vengeance, pirate pyjamas, and whistleblowing. And a whole lot more than that. 

I don’t have time to deal with whatever is going on with you right now, but later, we’re going to talk about why you’re lying to me. Then we’ll have a separate talk about why you’re such an awful liar, because it’s embarrassing.

If you’ve yet to read this, or yet to read this author at all, I highly suggest you take some corrective action. Her books are almost exclusively a little on the darker end of things, definitely less contemporary romance and more suspense or action romance (I don’t know, there’s probably a specific , but it’s absolutely got enough of everything to always feel balanced and something about her writing.. it just works for me. So much so that after revisiting this world, I want to revisit her other series, like, now. And I think that really says it all.

JANE ANONYMOUS by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz’s thrilling novel Jane Anonymous is a revelatory confessional of a seventeen-year-old girl’s fight to escape a kidnapper—and her struggles to connect with loved ones and a life that no longer exists.

Seven months.

That’s how long I was kept captive.

Locked in a room with a bed, refrigerator, and adjoining bathroom, I was instructed to eat, bathe, and behave. I received meals, laundered clothes, and toiletries through a cat door, never knowing if it was day or night. The last time I saw the face of my abductor was when he dragged me fighting from the trunk of his car. And when I finally escaped, I prayed I’d never see him again.

Now that I’m home, my parents and friends want everything to be like it was before I left. But they don’t understand that dining out and shopping trips can’t heal what’s broken inside me. I barely leave my bedroom. Therapists are clueless and condescending. So I start my own form of therapy—but writing about my experience awakens uncomfortable memories, ones that should’ve stayed buried. How far will I have to go to uncover the truth of what happened—and will it break me forever?


Title : Jane Anonymous
Author : Laurie Faria Stolarz
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA thriller/suspense
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : January 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

I loved the idea of this book from the blurb and I think that YA thrillers and suspense are in shorter supply, so I was all anticipation over reading it. This was a story of a 17 year old teen, Jane who was kidnapped and held by a mysterious young monster of a man. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye.

JANE ANONYMOUS was a fast-paced and tense read. My heart was beating and in my mouth at various junctures. Jane’s capture and imprisonment were told in the ‘then’ time frame but much of the story was also told in the ‘now’ post-escape and her difficulties to return to life. The kidnapper was not at all what I expected, which led to unfurling of later events with her captor. I did see some of the twists that came before they were revealed.

I was engaged throughout this book, I read quickly and avidly. I felt anger, sadness and frustration, often all at once. I felt such sorrow for Jane obviously around her time in captivity, but even more for her time afterwards, I think. I really appreciated the parental perspective, those small insights were heartbreaking and felt so tangible.

I would have loved to have rated this book higher but as more was revealed about her kidnapper and certain events that were hazy, there was a lack of clarity that was frustrating. Even more so, being left with unanswered questions in the end left me unsatisfied overall. This book had masses of potential but it didn’t quite realise all of the possibility. All that said, this author wrote in a very engaging style and I would definitely read her work again.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and netgalley for the early review copy.

LIES by Kylie Scott

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancée dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction. 


Title : Lies
Author : Kylie Scott
Format : eARC
Page Count : 195
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : July 21, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Every single thing about this read was unexpected, even taking the unusual synopsis into mind. This was a fast-paced, thrilling romance with bucket loads of story and plenty of twists. It was also consistently amusing with characters I couldn’t help but be pretty enamoured with.

What is super interesting about this story and how it starts, is that the ‘going wrong’ part of the relationship happens right at the beginning, in unholy style. So, you could almost call this a second chance kind of story but at break-neck speed. It was like a cross between a snarky, funny romance and ‘Die Hard’. Interested?

The heroine, Betty is unconventional, partly because she starts her journey with taking no more messing from Thom. She was over him, the relationship and she was empowered. Everything spiraled from there and Betty was resilient, strong but with heart. I loved her snark, her refusal to be put in a corner and I read about her with total interest.

There’s a crack in the ceiling high above my head. Fitting, given that there’s an even bigger and even more destructive fault line running smack bam through my life. Move over, San Andreas, Thom Lange has you beat.

Thom was definitely the character to be revealed but also I felt pretty distrustful of him, with a slice of ‘why are you so swoony’? It made for addictive reading watching these two connect for the second time. It took me time to believe in him and I understood Betty’s anger towards him.

Thom is basically a machine. Like some killer robot sent from the future to fuck up my love life.”

Alongside the great storyline was a tangible chemistry that also made for compelling reading. Everything about this read was addictive and I read it in less than 24 hours. The twists kept coming and from 80% my jaw was dropped and I was suspicious. This story was an unusual and welcome offering from Kylie Scott who has amazed me with her ingenuity on this one.

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and Kylie Scott for the early copy.


About Kylie Scott

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films.

Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Connect with Kylie Scott
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XujcZh
Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2GngiQq
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyliescottwriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KylieScottbooks
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Book+Main Bites: http://bit.ly/2ETz5RQ
Website: https://kyliescott.com/

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