Review: The Sin Bin Series

Tracy and Mari from Bayou Book Junkie were kind enough to do a series review of Books 1 – 4 of The Sin Bin.  Here are a few their thoughts on the books:

The Wanderer

“The story is well-written and although a little slow-paced in places, it was an extremely enjoyable read filled with laughter, love and a little steamy sex, as well. ” 4.5 Stars

The Caretaker

“Overall, the book was really good. Fun and enjoyable, sweet and hot and intense, just remember that there are some BDSM elements in it, in case you’re not into it. Very recommendable!” 4 Stars

The Botanist

” Fast paced and easy to read, perfect for a lazy afternoon lounging around. I love the back and forth banter between Wyatt and his fellow Seals as well and Wyatt and Aled. They were funny and had me chuckling throughout.” 4 Stars

The Royal Marine

“Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was angsty, sweet, fun, hot and passionate. I’m really enjoying every installment and getting to meet this group of great men.” 4.5 Stars

 

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Sloppy Seconds.

Or, why I love secondary characters. lol

If nothing else in my stories stands out, I hope what does is the depth and diversity of personalities. The goal is always to make readers want to know more about the characters—and not only the main couple. The word is so rich and diverse so should the books we write.

I write a quirky collection of characters.

Love writing them.

Love reading them.

L.O.V.E. Them.

One reason why I often include bits and pieces of personalities of people that I’ve met or observed is it adds authenticity. Maybe it’s because I’m autistic, but I’m always drawn to the odd ones. I enjoy building those types of people into my stories.

One of my favourite examples of brilliant secondary characters comes from The Botanist and The Royal Marine. Both are stories where I introduce a group of retired military men and women into The Sin Bin series. They’re an interesting bunch who never shies away from making their presence felt.

For example:

“That explains why I found him underneath his desk snoring like a busted engine and cuddled up to an empty bottle.” Lily propped her feet up on his desk. “I thought you two stopped overindulging after that time in London when you were in your twenties.”

“Lils.” Hamish had tried to block out the memory of getting so wasted that their clothes, wallets, and even socks had been nicked off them. Lily had rescued both of them before their commanding officer had found out. “What happened to being sworn to secrecy? Hadn’t we decided to chalk that up to youthful enthusiasm and stupidity?”

“Stupidity being the keyword. Okay, okay.” She sipped her coffee; her green eyes alight with pure amusement. “So, Earp tells me you met someone last night.”

Some of my other favourite characters are Francis’ grandmother, in After the Scrum. She’s a riot. Her personality shone through from the very beginning.

Dr. Gen who makes her first appearance in The Wanderer is another example. She initially started out as someone who I only intended to be in a few chapters, but her personality brought her to the forefront in The Caretaker.

Genevieve turned her gaze away from Taine and smirked at Freddie. “You’ll thank me later when you’re thinking more clearly.”

Freddie choked on his last bite of spring roll. “Yes, thanks. Twmffat.

“I heard that, Whittle,” she called over her shoulder. “You will thank me later—with a bottle of wine. You know the kind.”

The pets of The Sin Bin are definitely shining stars in their own right. From Speedy the hamster to Ganesh the cat to  Zeus the Yorkie. They bring humour and life, filling in gaps. In many ways, Aled’s plants are equally as important—at least to him.

“I keep telling you not to mock Ringo. You’ll hurt his feelings, and he’ll stop growing.” Aled brought in a tray with two unmatched mugs and a plate of chocolate treats. He set it down and pointed around the room at the various flora. “Mr Navy SEAL, you’ve already meet Ringo, Paul, John, and George. Have I not introduced you before?”

“And you called me bizarre?” Wyatt accepted the Frodo mug, resigning himself to the dubious pleasure of hot tea, and studiously ignored the tightening in his jeans at the brush of their fingertips. “Do you always name your plants?”

“Friends have names.”

For Aled, his plants are important enough that it seems wrong not to treat them as characters in their own right.

What do you love most about secondary characters in novels?

Review: The Botanist

“This story is wonderfully written, perfectly paced and deals with a relationship at its most intimate level without sexual intimacy! I don’t remember a more beautiful love story involving the basic themes of hurt and recovery or a more patiently developed relationship. Wyatt’s overwhelming feeling is that Aled is “his botanist” no matter how long it takes, how many years, and that of “good fortune that no one else ever realized how amazing Aled is before they met”.” Mainely Stories, 5 Stars.

It’s Alive! The Botanist is out now.

The next release in The Sin Bin is available now.

https://books2read.com/botanist

Wyatt “Earp” Hardy is a US Navy SEAL. His life begins and ends with those two words. He readily risks himself for the men under his command. Trouble is—he can’t live for them during a time when military policy weighs heavily on who he is.

Researching for his master’s thesis, botanist Aled Demers’s life is about to unravel. One torturous nightmare run-in with drug runners leaves him permanently scarred. He knows he’s lucky to be alive after being rescued by a group of SEALs, but suffering from PTSD takes its toll.

The SEAL and the botanist come from different worlds, but one rescue links them together. Can Aled recover enough strength to risk his heart? Will Wyatt’s leaving the navy force him to reassess more than just his career choices?

The Botanist is a short story introducing two key members to The Sin Bin series.

Also, Book 4 is available for pre-order:  https://www.hottreepublishing.com/the-royal-marine

 

Why I love the Start of the Botanist.

“There’s a boat.”

“Pretty sure it’s a yacht.”

“Nope. It’s a boat.”

“Why’s there a yacht-like boat in the combat zone?”

“Better question: Can we make it go boom?”

“Within the parameters of our war games with the Brits?”

“Does it matter?”

“Oi, Earp. Get your twats to shut the bloody hell up, will you? They’re clogging up our airwaves. Are they comedians or soldiers?” The dry humour in Hamish Ross’s voice echoed loudly in Wyatt’s ear where he’d been working valiantly to ignore the chatter from his team. “You listening?”

“We’re Navy SEALs, Hamster, not soldiers. We leave that grunt shit to you.” Wyatt couldn’t help needling his old friend and SAS counterpart. They’d worked together multiple times over the years, sharing secrets, wounds, and beers. “Hey, Ross, any clue why there’s a vessel in our designated dive area?”

“None.” Hamish spoke in muffled tones to someone, and a long silence stretched before he returned to Wyatt. “Shouldn’t be there, Earp. We’re picking up four warm bodies on the thermal camera. They’re not ours—or yours. Boat’s registered to a local rental company, the owner claims only one person should be on it. A botany student from Cardiff.”

“A botany student from Cardiff?” Wyatt glanced over at Trace, who looked almost as confused as he felt. “Why the fuck would a— You know what, never mind—what are we doing?”

 

The start of The Botanist is pure silliness. It’s a brief moment of indulging my absurd sense of humor before delving into darker and more serious subjects.  Of all The Sin Bin stories thus far, the one might be my favourite beginning.

Maybe.

For now lol.

 

Five Challenges I Faced in The Botanist.

I think every story you write comes with its own inherent challenges. Here are a few I dealt with in my upcoming short story, The Botanist:

  1. Accurately depicting the ways PTSD can affect someone.
  2. Keeping a realistic pace for the romance while staying within the confines of a short story.
  3. Maintaining a balance between a forceful personality and a slightly more mellow one.
  4. Finding the right obscure plants that might be on a botanist’s  bucket list. (As someone who has terrible allergies, I tend to avoid all things flora lol).
  5. Fleshing out two characters in a short space and working to make readers want to know more about them–and their friends.

All I can say is.

Writing is hard lol.