Recap October 2015 & Book Review: The KAGE trilogy by Maris Black

Favorite M/M Romance Book/Series I read in Oct 2015: the KAGE Trilogy by Maris Black. Because Hot Cover. Because I didn’t want the series to end. Because it was the absolute perfect escape for me.

 
kage1Book Description:

My name is Jamie Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot cheerleader girlfriend… but the truth is, nothing ever really moved me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?

I met Michael Kage.

Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.

He’s charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He has a darkness in him–like a black hole so deep it could swallow him, and me, and everyone we know–and that’s not good for business.

The first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would have fallen for him. How could I not?

For me, Kage is everything.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


 
Why I loved this series:

I read this series back to back in four days. It was like one of those epic bestselling, light BDSM; flawed, abused and deeply traumatized heroes/heroines; billionaire, high stakes romance series à la Sylvia Day, J Kenner, and Meredith Wild. Except the romance is between two guys, and the sex isn’t light or BDSM, but hot sexy dirty rough. The KAGE trilogy is funny and heartbreaking and emotionally intense. There’s action and heroism and love saves the day. I loved both heroes equally: Jamie, who is bisexual and kind of a twink but real tough on the inside, and Kage, gay MMA fighter, alpha male so fiercely and sweetly in love with his college boy.

What it’s about:

Book 1: Jamie is a 3rd year journalism student, has a girlfriend, and decides to cover an MMA event in town for his final project. He meets Kage at the MMA event and is so struck by his presence he can’t take his eyes off him. Jamie knows that men as well as women find him attractive, but he’s never acknowledged to himself that he’s attracted to men as well. Apparently the attraction is mutual, because Kage brings him out to Vegas over the summer to be his PR intern.

Book 2: Jamie and Kage’s relationship is put to the test by Jamie’s friends and family, Kage’s controlling uncle, and Kage’s resurfacing memories and more frequent panic attacks. For the first time, readers get to see Jamie from Kage’s point of view, which is insightful, exciting, and romantic.

Book 3: Jamie and Kage’s relationship is rock solid, but now Jamie has to face the consequences of possibly coming out to his family and friends. Meanwhile, Kage’s uncle continues to disapprove of and presents obstacles to their relationship.

 

~ EXCERPT ~

Jamie and Kage First Meet

I froze when I caught sight of a young fighter standing in the center of a group of people. Two men in suits hovered close to him, flanking him like guardians, effectively and wordlessly establishing themselves as part of his entourage. A couple of women with press passes and cameras slung around their necks gazed at the fighter with a kind of rapture as he talked, and I couldn’t blame them.

The fighter had longish hair, a dark chocolate color infused with subtle caramel highlights. It was pulled back from his face and twisted into a tight little topknot. Don’t ask me how I knew he was a fighter, because he was dressed like he was ready to hit the runway.

His face was vaguely suggestive of a Latin heritage, with a strong jaw, large, black-rimmed eyes, and a straight nose that looked like it had miraculously never been broken. Beneath the designer clothes, his skin had a healthy-looking tan, as if he’d just come back from a week at the beach. But something in the way he carried himself left no mistake as to what he was.

This guy was a professional ass kicker.

Before I knew it, my feet had carried me right over to the small group, and I found myself standing beside the reporters. I knew I was staring, but I couldn’t help myself. I’d never seen a person with such presence. He wasn’t bulky, though. On the contrary, he looked lean and lethal like a panther, with golden-green eyes to match.

If the guy’s fighting was anywhere near the level of his looks, he was destined to be a star–just the kind of person an aspiring publicist might like to align himself with. Then it occurred to me that if he was much of a fighter, he’d probably have battle scares. Maybe he was just a pretty face after all.

“I wish we could see you fight tonight,” one of the reporters said. “I’ll bet that would be something.”

The guy shrugged. “I’m just kicking back tonight, supporting my training partner, Jason Kinney. Plus, my next match is against Davi Matos, one of the fighters here tonight.” For a moment he looked uncomfortable, as if he had said something he shouldn’t. “Uh, I may be fighting him. I’m not sure yet. Anyway, it’s good to get in close to the action, see what a guy is made of. You can’t really tell on TV, you know.”

I pulled out my cell phone, switched to video mode, and startled filming his response.

“Is it that much different in person?” The other reporter leaned in closer, waiting for an answer that took a moment to come. “It seems like with the camera close-ups on TV, it would be the other way around.”

“It’s hard to explain.” The fighter paused, looking directly at me for the first time since I’d arrived. “There’s a feeling you get when you’re close to something. Seeing it right in front of your face takes it to a whole different level. You can feel the fear and the excitement, the rush of adrenaline, smell the sweat, hear the force of the blows and the snap of bone. You can tell if someone’s confident or if they’re scared shitless.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ladies wrinkle their noses at his raw choice of words, but I stepped in closer, mesmerized. This was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to hear. I repositioned my phone slightly to get a better angle on the fighter.

“What’s your name?” he asked me, and he may as well have focused a spotlight on me.

I laughed nervously and called on my keen wit to rescue me. “I thought I was supposed to be asking the questions.”

Yeah. Nothing keen or witty about that.

As his face hardened slightly and the others glared at me, I rushed to make amends. “Jamie Atwood,” I said. “That’s my name.”

 
After I read the KAGE trilogy, I bought everything else on Maris Black’s backlist on Kindle. Though I can barely tolerate the “boys will be boys” mentality in my personal/real life and found it a little problematic how women were treated in the author’s earlier novels, especially in her first book “Owning Corey,” the guys didn’t treat or perceive all women like objects, and the author’s representation of women improved in later books.

Despite my little criticism, I like her books, and I’ll keep reading them! Maris Black never writes the same characters and relationship dynamic twice. I love the emotional highs and lows and the plot twists, her adorable pretty boys with the f*** me eyes and her vulnerable, possessive alphas, the tug at the heartstrings love stories and perfect happy endings, and the snarky humor.

I can’t wait for her next SSU college boys book and for Seth’s story. It would be cool if she wrote another epic, high stakes trilogy as well. Maybe, featuring Kage’s training partner Jason? I love easy to read, stress-relieving, emotionally intense but humorous as well, sexy romantic escapes. Maris Black’s books give me everything I could want from a romance novel.

 
Maris Black is currently working on the next SSU book and planning the next KAGE book. The KAGE trilogy audiobooks are in production and will be released in late December/early January.

KAGE Buy Links: Amazon | AllRomance | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+


 

~ OCTOBER 2015 RECAP ~

 
Favorite New Release I reviewed in Oct 2015: Signs of Life by Melanie Hansen

ARCs I REVIEWED
1. HIS KIND OF TROUBLE by Terri L. Austin
2. FILTHY RICH by Virna DePaul
3. ROCK ME TWO TIMES by Dawn Ryder (No Rating)

M/M ARCs I REVIEWED
4. SIGNS OF LIFE by Melanie Hansen
5. BLUEBERRY BOYS by Vanessa North
6. REAL WORLD by Amy Jo Cousins
7. UNNATURAL by Joanna Chambers
8. REBOUND REMEDY by Christine d’Abo

M/M BOOKS I READ
9. Kage Trilogy #1 by Maris Black
10. Kage Trilogy #2 (Unleashed) by Maris Black
11. Kage Triology #3 (Unmasked) by Maris Black
12. Pinned (SSU BOYS #1) by Maris Black
13. Smitten (SSU BOYS #2) by Maris Black
15. Better Than Good (Better Than #1) by Lane Hayes
16. Better Than Chance (Better Than #2) by Lane Hayes
17. Owning Corey by Maris Black
18. Bleeding Heart by Melissa Graves
19. Off Campus (Bend or Break #1) by Amy Jo Cousins

M/M AUDIOBOOKS I BORROWED
20. The Backup Boyfriend (Boyfriend Chronicles #1) by River Jaymes
21. The Boyfriend Mandate (Boyfriend Chronicles #2) by River Jaymes



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