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B&B (do it for the crumpets)

Reading the good, the awful and all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read any horror, romance, erotica & M/M novel that comes my way but I won't always like it. 

Currently reading

Demons, Dolls, & Milkshakes
Nelson W. Pyles,Nelson Pyles
The Collector
Nora Roberts
Slave Girl
Lisa Cach
Biters - The Reborn
Harry Shannon,Brett J. Talley
Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great
Lindsay S. Nixon
The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Progress: 5 %
The Silver Chain
Primula Bond

A FINAL ACT OF CRUELTY Half Off Major Perk Sale!

From right-freakin'- now until Friday, August 1st, I'm hosting a Half Off Major Perk Sale! The following Indiegogo Perks will be reduced by 50% for the next five days! If you've eyeballing the top three most expensive perks, now is the time to snatch them up at one helluva steep discount!

 

$250 Reduced to $150: Signed bookmark, trade paperback versions of CRUELTY: EPISODES ONE - FIVE and A FINAL ACT OF CRUELTY (Signed Limited Editions), and a piece of original artwork featuring Cruelty, signed by the artist, Linton Bowers, and author, Edward Lorn. Only one copy in existence. And your name in the acknowledgment section at the end of the book!

 

$500 Reduced to $250: Signed bookmark, a signed and personalized hardcover copy of CRUELTY: THE COMPLETE NOVEL (Deluxe Limited Edition) upon its release in the summer of 2015, and a signed copy of the original completed manuscript! And your name in the acknowledgment section at the end of the book.

 

$1,000 Reduced to $500: Signed bookmark, free Edward Lorn ebooks for life (back catalog and future releases), CRUELTY: A COMPLETE NOVEL (Signed Deluxe Edition in Hardcover), both trade paperbacks, early access to A FINAL ACT OF CRUELTY (you will be allowed to read the book two weeks before release), and your very own Edward Lorn short story. Pitch me your best idea and characters, and I'll do all the rest. The final version will be formatted and sent to you in electronic and audio book editions!

 

If we reach our goal before August 1st, I have a very special treat for everyone who helped to make that milestone happen. 

 

To everyone who's already donated, I extend my deepest heartfelt appreciation. You're all amazing people, and I'm glad to know each and every one of you. 

 

Thank you,

 

E.

 

A FINAL ACT OF CRUELTY'S INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

Reblogged from E.
Come closer, I dare you!
Come closer, I dare you!
He done did it to himself!
He done did it to himself!
Ouchie!
Ouchie!
Aren't I the cutest?
Aren't I the cutest?

Hello from Crazytown. Sorry I've been missing. Here's a pic of the little hellcat Henry in all his crazed glory to make up for it. He's broken a lamp and ripped two tapestries from the wall but otherwise he's a joy.

 

I'm getting by on caffeine and nervous energy because the past week has been filled with a houseful of sick pets. It started with the cats, all four of them, and then went through the dogs who all had a nasty stomach bug. That was fun.   Then my poor Buddy had a dental and giant cyst removal. All was healing up just fine and then I had to leave the house for a few hours and came back to the horrific sight you see in the third pic. Soooo the cone of shame it is!  

 

I'm off to read a page before slipping into a sleep coma. I hope you're all reading something fabulous and if you have any tips for helping with the new gray hairs and bags under my eyes that I've acquired this weekend please feel free to share them! 

It's Thursday and we have new SYNC Audios!

Free SYNC Downloads & I'm grabbing at least one!

 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Download Now

Headstrong by Patrick Link

Download Now

 

 

Here’s what you need to know:

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  • Files are available to download for one week only but are yours to keep.

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Questions? Email us: synchelp@audiofilemagazine.com

Not in the US? Check the availability of SYNC titles in your location.

 

Mackenzie's Mission by Linda Howard

Mackenzie's Mission - Linda Howard

I read this awhile ago and am still fixing/updating my GR reviews one by one.

 

Mackenzie’s Mission is the sequel to the fabulously romantic and just about perfect Mackenzie’s Mountain and it had a lot to live up to and it didn’t quite do it. Yeah, I know it’s not fair to rate a book comparing it to its prequel but I read them back to back and I never claimed to be fair anyway. “Mission” is a perfectly serviceable category romance if you like the uber-alpha male and the virginal heroine and can stomach the dated-ness when it comes to women in a “man’s” place of work. It follows the same romantic formula as Mackenzie’s Mission (experienced alpha meets virgin, sparks fly, they have lots of pain-free stupendous sex and fall madly in love) but it just didn’t resonate with me the way the first book did. But honestly? There aren’t many books that resonate with me on that level.

This is Joe’s story and I really liked Joe in “Mountain”. He was just a kid with big dreams in the previous book and it was a thrill reading about him living out those almost impossible dreams of his and becoming an elite fighter pilot but he has grown into a bit of a cocky fella. He is a Colonel and in command of a team creating a new top secret fighter weapon. Caroline is a specialist on the team and the only female in this male oriented little world and they are not very nice to her. To protect her, Joe decides she’ll have to pretend to be “his”. Well, you know how all that pretending usually turns out in these books, right? Yeah, it happens here. Some drama and adventure and backstabbing stuff happens and there is some witty repartee that I absolutely loved and some super-hot sexual bits but the plot and characters, I’m sad to say, are really nothing to get all excited over.

Caroline was sort of a throw-away heroine. She was certainly not abrasive or obnoxious but she didn’t stand out to me in any way that moved me emotionally and I never really understood her. She was a brainiac who skipped grades, never fit in with her peers and thus was unable to relate to guys and edging close to 30 is still a virgin, even though she’s incredibly beautiful. All the man-boys she tried to date had octopus arms and it disgusted her so much she developed an ice queen demeanor with all men as a defense against their slimy lips and nasty tongues. But then Joe kisses her and the tinglies and swooning begins. Joe, for his part, seemed interested in her only because she didn’t react to him the way most hot-blooded girls did, all swoony and hot to get him out of his jeans. She was cool and distant and tried to brush him off. But not for long! Not even Caroline can resist Joe.

Near the very end we learn a gut-wrenching secret about Joe that helped me understand much of his behavior and his need for control. As painful as it was I’m glad Howard included it though I do wish she’d been able to sneak it in earlier so I would’ve been able to like him better earlier on. Still, there’s nothing that makes me crazier than an alpha guy who is a control freak just . . . because and Joe had a damn good reason.

Mackenzie’s Mountain is by far the better book but I don’t regret reading this one. I don’t know if I’ll bother tracking down Mackenzie’s Pleasure unless I can dig up a copy on audio.

Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard

Mackenzie's Mountain - Linda Howard

I read this awhile ago and am still fixing/updating my GR reviews one by one.

 

This is an old category romance that I read way back when. I’m not usually a re-reader but I stumbled across this in unabridged audio format and figured what the heck. I listen to audio’s when I’m doing tedious tasks like driving, cleaning the yard of dog poo or scrubbing the bathroom. There’s not much to lose on my end and I’ll usually finish everything I start on audio, excepting The Ill-Made Mute which was one of the few too torturous for even me to finish. Mackenzie’s Mountain was a much better choice and reminded me of why I used to love romances so much.

Mackenzie’s Mountain is a contemporary but may seem slightly dated to the modern reader and they’ll probably think it full of clichés but damn I’ll take dated over ho-hum any day. They just don’t write romances like this anymore (and if they do, can you point me to some titles please?). Wolf Mackenzie was sent to prison for two years after being falsely accused of rape, purely on the basis of his half-breed (mostly Indian) heritage and small town bigotry. Now he’s a loner, living atop his mountain with his teenage son Joe and raising horses on his ranch. He avoids people, especially the locals and Anglo women and seriously who could blame him? Mary is the new school teacher in town and when she gets wind of the fact that Joe, who had stellar grades, has quit school she takes it upon herself to pay his family a visit and find out why. She immediately befriends Joe and takes him under her wing and has all sorts of strange new tingly feelings about Wolf that she doesn’t understand (she’s a virgin). Wolf tries to push her away for her own good but she’s stubborn and for some reason he can’t quite comprehend she believes in his innocence and trusts him completely.

Mary's friendship with the Mackenzie’s causes her no end of trouble but she stands up to the bigotry and her loyalty never waivers. She manages to breach all of Wolf’s prickly defenses, helps Joe when no one else could have been bothered and is an amazing heroine, the kind of heroine I wish they all were. And Wolf? He’s the strong, protective guy that will give up his own happiness to spare others from pain. He embodies the word hero. It never for a moment feels contrived. The love story is sultry and the seduction moves along at such a deliberate pace that when they finally get it on you feel relief for them both! There is just enough suspense and outside drama to keep the story interesting but the focus always remains on the relationships. I loved that most about this book. Too many books get carried away with tedious (to me, anyway) subplots and forget all about their characters and developing believable relationships.

To tell you more would ruin the experience of this beautiful love story for you. Find it and read it and hold it close because they just don’t write ‘em like this anymore.

Yes I Am A Liar

The Collector - Nora Roberts

Or perhaps I am somewhere, deep down in the depths of my jaded soul, an optimist? I'm trying Nora again after shunning her for "Vision In White" and "Shadow Spell" two very dismal reads. My library called. It had this for me. Who am I to turn it away? Send me good book thoughts!

Kumquat by Jeff Strand

Kumquat - Jeff Strand

I’ve only read three books by Jeff Strand.  In case you were dying to know, they were Casket for Sale: Only Used Once (best book title ever), Dweller and Stalking You Now. I’d love to read more but there’s that godforsaken tbr pile that won’t stop breeding when I leave the room. Those stories were all horror or horror-ish and all had a dash (or more) of the same oddball, quirky humor that I’ve come to expect from this author. I heard from some of my GR friends that this story was pretty much a comedic road-trip romance so I had to claim a copy. I like romances but I am picky with them. Some say I’m just a grouch. They might be right. Either way, I know I’ve read more than my share of crappy, sappy and boring as hell romances but this wasn’t one of those.  Now I’ll give you 10 reasons why you might want to read this because I can be sweet once or twice a month despite rumors, and a kid or two, who may say otherwise.


10. It ends just as and when it should. 


9. It wasn’t sappy or crappy or ever boring. 


8. It surprised me. Crazy, seemingly random, things happen but it all ties together in the end. I love when an author is able to do that.


7. It was genuinely funny in a snarky, nutty sort of way. Todd & Amy are on a 22 hour road trip to buy a hotdog that may be awesome or may make them beg for a quick death. 


“Any woman who would want to go on a road trip with me this soon after meeting me must have dismemberment on her mind.”


6. There are no stupid misunderstandings. They call each other out before that ever happens. 


5. Both characters use snark naturally. They are like two cute little misfit peas in a pod, perfect for each other from the moment they first open their mouths. It’s easy to see why they get along from their conversations.  See here:


“No, wait, what's the funniest thing you've ever seen?" I ask.


"Oh. Sorry. Once, when I was with my parents at a magic show, I accidentally walked in on two clowns having sex."


"Seriously?”

 

“No, they were doing it humorously."


"Ha-ha."


"Every time he thrust, he honked his nose."


"Bullshit."


"I swear to God. I am not making this up. He was taking her from behind, and he honked his big red nose every time he thrust. Honest truth.”


4. It was touching. This surprised me but it shouldn’t have seeing as I read Dweller. The monster book that will make most anyone get all bleary eyed over a man eating beast! Unless, of course, you are truly heartless. 


3. They have sexy times that don’t make me cringe (I love some of your stuff but I am looking at you Dean Koontz). 


2. The characters are terrific and aren’t perfection personified. They are strangers when things start. Just two lonely, goofy, geeky types who meet at a Con, bond over some bad films and impulsively decide to take a road trip together.  I’m tired of reading about beautiful, wealthy people falling in love. Give me two socially awkward misfits or two Bigfoots, and hell you can even throw in a troll or two and I’ll buy that. (Note to anyone still reading: there are no sexy Bigfoots or trolls here but I loved it anyway.)


And the #1 reason I adored this book: THEY TALK TO EACH OTHER!  They talk and talk and talk and I never felt the urge to tell them to shut the heck up already. They are open and honest and sarcastically funny throughout the entire story.  They become friends and things grow naturally from there. There are no lame-ass insta-love hijinks happening here.


It’s silly, sweet and fun with some seriously dark undertones which I won’t spoil. If you enjoy oddball humor give it a go.

SYNC Free Mystery Audiobooks thru 7/23/14

SYNC Week 10 Brings Us Mysteries to Solve!
 
Download the 10th FREE pair here »


This Week's Audiobooks:

Available to download free July 17 – July 23 

 

THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE

By Nancy Springer
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Published by Recorded Books

Abandoned by her mother and fearing her brothers will exile her to a finishing school, 14-year-old Enola lives a lonely London existence. But when someone kidnaps her elderly landlady — the closest thing she has to family these days — the feisty heroine will do whatever it takes to find her.

"Katherine Kellgren's spirited narration transports listeners along the cobbled streets and back alleys of London."
– AudioFile Magazine

 

 

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES II

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Read by David Timson
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

In this collection are four of the finest cases of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, narrated by his faithful friend and admirer Dr. Watson.

"Four of the Holmes canon's more memorable tales are read with skill and style by David Timson."
– AudioFile Magazine

 

Thank you to Recorded Books and Naxos AudioBooks for generously providing this week's titles.


Available for a Limited Time: 
Remember — grab these titles before they are gone! Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, they are yours to keep.

Downloading Tips: 
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you. The app is available for every major desktop and mobile platform.Visit OverDrive to download.

A Knight In Cowboy Boots by Suzie Quint

A Knight in Cowboy Boots (McKnight, #1) - Suzie Quint

I read this awhile ago and am still fixing/updating my GR reviews one by one.

 

After reading the initial setup of A Knight In Cowboy Boots I was expecting yet another sex filled, superficial romp. Maddie is on the run from a killer, with her deceased sister’s baby in tow, and needs to burn off some steam. She meets Zach in a bar. He’s been out on an oil rig for months, has an enormous ding dong and he’s burning to put it to good use. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with that! But things don’t go exactly as they plan, a comedy of errors occurs, and that’s when I was hooked. What follows is a sexy and solid romance with great characterization, some emotional scenes that moved me and just enough action to keep things interesting while never forgetting this is a love story.

I’m not going to go into minute detail here because this is a shorter romance. Basically Maddie has landed in Texas with the baby, a new identity and is lonely and grieving when she comes across Zach, all tall, dark and hunky. They flirt but what she really wants is to hear his drawl which reminds her of her lost love. But then Zack boldly brushes his lips against hers and says:

“My daddy says sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.”



She’s smitten and overwhelmed by him and honestly so was I. He was so damn charming and warm from beginning to end. He comes from a large close-knit family and though they aren’t all romance novel perfect (thank you author, for that), they behave like a real family and you can feel the love even when they’re cussing each other out. Their presence adds to the warmth and tension in the book and I came to care about quite a few of them, instead of being irritated by the intrusion of too many secondary characters (which is what usually happen because I’m impatient and bore easily).

The suspense plot does require a smidge of suspension of disbelieve and you’ll need to be able to forgive a bit of meddlesome snooping by Zach but I really enjoyed both of these characters and the way they interacted with each other. Their sexual connection was intense but there was so much more here. He has a terrific sense of humor and a terribly romantic side and she’s got so much baggage and is so desperate to do the right thing that you just want to hug her.

A Knight In Cowboy Boots is a sexy-sweet read with big hearted characters I cared about. It was definitely worth my time and is easy to recommend.

99 cents @ Amazon for 6 more days

Headhunter - Tim Curran

Vietnam 1970. 
A green hell where death waits behind every tree, in every pooling shadow, and in every mist-haunted hollow. Boobytraps and bullets, landmines and rockets. Mike McKinney went to write about the war, about the terror and frustrations, soldiers and people and a landscape forever altered by the conflict...but he ran across something even worse: a primeval horror straight out of the darkest Vietnamese folklore. A monstrosity that stalks human heads among the twisted, jungled hills of the Central Highlands. 

Now it is hunting him. 

And nothing can stop it.

Yaoi Hentai Volume 2

Yaoi Hentai: Volume 2 - Yaoi Press,Studio Kosaru,Yaoi Press

This is what the blurb promised me:

 

Yaoi Hentai is back with a whole new volume of romantic yaoi smut. All new artists bring you four hot stories of hardcore guy on guy loving. First, an Elizabethan dandy is cursed to be the love slave of anyone who plays his violin. Next enjoy a science fiction story of a prince who endures trials of sexual pain and pleasure at the hands of his idol, the emperor of a sexually depraved planet. Fans of Yaoi Press' PINNED! graphic novel get to see a hardcore love scene between Renegade and Synn. And of course, Trach the tentacle monster rounds out the book in his second sex-filled adventure. YAOI - MATURE & EXPLICIT CONTENT Readers 18+.

 

This is what I got:

 

Mostly plots that are silly and make little sense but I expected that and I am completely ok with that. What I didn't expect was the mostly awful artwork. Lots of terribly drawn men and their terribly drawn genitalia doing mostly terrible things to mostly unwilling victims (who often end up loving it or growing to love it) . Most of it so badly drawn (with misshapen boy parts) that what they were doing was often unclear to me even after putting on my glasses and squinting really hard. There were some words too. But the most popular one was "thrust". Thank goodness for that  "thrust" insertion. Without it I wouldn't have had a clue as to what those boys were up to. But it's not all that bad. There's this sexy tentacle monster who appeared in not one but two of these stories and he was a laugh riot. His not-so-little tentacles had little mouths with tongues and they seemed so happy,cheery and built for fun. I haven't read yaoi hentai before, got this one quite by accident actually (thank you Paperbackswap) but if this is what it's about it may be my last.

 

You know, this serves me right. I'm supposed to be reading three books and another for my book group next week but instead here I am doing this. 

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black,Christine Lakin

Yes I realize this title was named for me.

 

Seriously though I was really looking forward to Holly Black’s take on vampires. She has a lush beauty about her writing that I love and never shies away from the ugliness that inhabits the lives of her characters. Her characters can be jerks, this is sometimes why I like them, and they always manage to keep my attention. I can’t say this was the case here and I sleepwalked through most of the story.

 

It started out great. Tana wakes up from one hell of a party to find a bloodbath has occurred while she was passed out. All of her party-going friends are dead and she sits down in a pool of blood to ponder things. The descriptions are bloody and my hopes were high. But then she finds her ex-boyfriend Aiden and a handsome young vampire fellow who she doesn’t know (his name is Gavriel and you know that no normal boy has such a lovely name, right?). They are all tied up but very much alive. The ex-boyfriend bites her. He’s been infected by vampire venom and can’t resist. She sets them free and fearing she’s infected the trio head to a place called “Coldtown” where infected humans and vampires co-exist in stew of decadence.  And by the way, you can check into Coldtown but there’s no way you’re ever checking out. Were it me I’d have run screaming “So long suckers!” and left them there to have a bit fun with each other but Tana is kind of a danger whore (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and off they go.

 

Here the action and an endlessly meandering plot take over the story and turn what’s left of my brain right the heck off. There are some gorgeous descriptions of blood and the orgasmic rush of drinking it that bring me back to the days of Poppy Z. Brite’s earlier works (Black thanks her, along with Anne Rice and a slew of other gothicy writers In the end notes) and the violence was front and center but this wasn’t enough to keep my attention. The biggest disappointment for me was the lack of fleshed out characters. I could picture in my head exactly what everyone was wearing right down to their perfect application of glittery blue eyeliner but I never felt as if I knew any of them and could care less if they lived or lost their heads. After a while they all became a blur and secondary to the action.

 

And then there’s Gavriel and Tana’s romance. I’ve read too many of these books and knew from the moment the author stated his name that they were going to look deep into each other’s kohl lined eyes and lose their shit even though I was hoping for something (lord please anything) else to occur. Ok, so what if I was secretly hoping that Gavriel and Aiden would have a thing and surprise me in a good way. But no. It played out exactly as I feared it might. The romance could’ve been salvaged had it been fleshed out even a smidge. As written? Well, I wish it hadn’t happened.

 

The narration by Christine Lakin was amazing. I’d give her performance 5 blood stuffed stars and advise you listen to this story on audio if you have a desire to read it. Her voice was smoky and sensual and perfect for the content. If it weren’t for the great narration I might’ve deleted this from the Ipod after the first half.

 

So, to wrap this up there’s action (my downfall so perhaps that’s the biggest issue), rapturous bloodsucking, a big bad that wasn’t, a lot of death and a little lusty-lust but none of it was all that riveting.  

Me today when attempting to write a review but at least I look happy, right? The words spill out but they make not a lick of sense. I am determined to write a coherent review today but may need to edit it down to "This book was meh." and call it day. 

 

Meh books will be the death of me.

99 Cents!

Biohazard - Tim Curran

Found it while searching my Amazon wishlist for "items with price drops". This is the best feature ever invented for book bargain hunters with a little patience.. After reading his fabulous "Blackout" I am very excited to get going on it.

 

Here's the link if you're interested.

 

The day after tomorrow: Nuclear fallout. Mutations. Deadly pandemics. Corpse wagons. Body pits. Empty cities. The human race trembling on the edge of extinction. Only the desperate survive. One of them is Rick Nash. But there is a price for survival: communion with a ravenous evil born from the furnace of radioactive waste. It demands sacrifice. Only it can keep Nash one step ahead of the nightmare that stalks him-a sentient, seething plague-entity that stalks its chosen prey: the last of the human race. To accept it is a living death. To defy it, a hell beyond imagining

SYNC Audio Freebies for 7/10/14 - 7/16/14

 

Welcome to Week 9!

We bring together two stories of strong young women faced with the harsh realities of race relations in the United States during the 1950s and 60s. 

 

This Week’s Audiobooks:

Download FREE pair here.  Available July 10 – July 16.


CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Twice Toward Justice

By Philip Hoose
Read by Channie Waites
Published by Brilliance Audio

WHILE THE WORLD WATCHED

By Carolyn Maull McKinstry with Denise George
Read by Felicia Bullock
Published by Oasis Audio

Primal Heat by Donna Grant

Primal Heat - Donna Grant

I read this awhile ago and am still fixing/updating my GR reviews one by one. 

 

Primal Heat is a sex fueled novella about a werewolf “tracker” and the woman who haunts his dreams. Orrin and his partner have arrived on earth in their spacecraft supposedly to save the human race from extinction at the hands of alien werewolves who can’t control their bloodlust. But Orrin gets a little sidetracked by sexy Krista and her lush bod and sex and bloodshed happens.

The reviews were pretty good across the board for this story so I went in with high hopes but as they say different strokes and all. I didn’t like it much. Maybe I’m just a grouch but it started out telling rather than showing and the heroine just put me off from the get go and I never did warm up to her.

The story zooms in on the danger and the sex and has very little in the way of character or romance development. That’s all fine and good, this is a shortie after all, but then it brings out that worn out old “fated to be” cheat that drives me mad because it has been so overdone. That’s one of my hot buttons. Another is a stupid heroine. And, I’m sorry folks, but any 20-something, confident professional with a fab job who caves in to peer pressure to fit in with people she doesn’t even like just screams insecure and not too bright to me. She wasn’t someone I could get behind, lush bod or no. Accepting a silly dare and visiting a haunted house ALONE, at midnight, without a get-away car and without telling ANYBODY? Well, honey you are just asking for trouble and titillation of the sexual kind. Ok, so maybe I’m guilty of reading too many Black Lace novels but come on. Is this not ninny behavior?

There are some interesting ideas here with the scary space travelling werewolves and the Tracker’s but I would’ve enjoyed it all more if it had been expanded a bit and some of the ideas fleshed out in better detail. Which brings me to the sexy scenes. They weren’t bad, and if you haven’t read a lot of m/m, erotica or super-hot romances then this might do it for you. But I’m the wrong person to ask. I need emotion or at least some kink in order for it to work for me. I had neither here so even those bits were “meh” for me and they were too brief.