Good series start with a sweet self-awakening romance

City Boy (Hot off the Ice, #1)City Boy by A.E. Wasp

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked an awful lot of this book, the plot isn’t beyond the realms of possibility – there are plenty of men who don’t come out until later life for whatever reason – and it felt honest.

I believed that Bryce hadn’t a clue why he wasn’t able to make his marriage work even though he’d loved his wife (they’re over by some years when this story starts) and that his weird feelings about other blokes he’d put down to either admiration of their skills or their personalities, rather than they’d been the crushes of an unaware gay man.

He was beautifully naive and it showed in every interaction with Dakota, making their mountainside hook up all the more heartfelt and emotional.
Dakota was also a nicely rounded character, his hurt and anger at what was happening in his life and how he felt once the new owner of the farm was revealed was also understandable.

But, once they got together, I think it became a little less realistic, there were only minor hurdles thrown in their path (and yes it’s a romance and it’s nice to see that the whole world aren’t homophobic assholes and all their friends and family were fine because they’d all really secretly thought Bryce was gay) but I think a bit more conflict would have worked better.

There is a pervading masculinity in sport, especially in the US’s top four, and I don’t think perhaps enough was given to the real fears that should have been part of Bryce’s decisions he was making regarding his future. It was mentioned but brushed aside slightly.

Now, that’s only a tiny minor criticism and it’s nothing which spoils the flow of the narrative or the romance of the book itself, which is really sweet and has a lot of stupidly hot sex, especially as Bryce is a total gay sex virgin. This was done really well, they didn’t just jump into full on demon monkey sex all over the place!

I had an ARC so there are a fair few typos, grammatical tense mistakes and editing errors which I’d expect would be ironed out by the time the book comes out so they didn’t distract too much from the over all story.
This is the start of a new series from A.E. Wasp and one I’m looking forward to continuing.

#ARC received from the author in response for an honest and unbiased review.

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Best one yet in the Boys of Bellamy series

51WkEcOS51LThis is my favourite of the Boys of Bellamy Series so far. In this book Ruthie gives us an MC – Milo – who has been hurt by a previous relationship and life in general and who finds it difficult to let anyone in because of his fears of experiencing more pain.

But then along comes Rory, a boy who kissed him at high school and then disappeared from his life for a few years. A jock, a guy who on the face of it has it all. But Rory has just come out of a long relationship with his college sweetheart Georgina and he’s often wondered about the boy he kissed at school. He figures it’s time to explore his bisexuality and then his path collides once again with Milo.

This book examines beautifully the trust needed to go into a relationship with anyone irrespective of sexuality, race or gender. Having to open yourself up to emotions, even those of friendship only, can be hard and the reader gets an insight into both Milo and Rory’s mental confusions as they try to navigate through.

There’s a lot of laughter in this book, there’s friendship, the world building continues to expand on the previous two in the series and we get a peak at Jamie and Bennett’s ongoing HEA as well as meeting Kit again. This book, however, could be read as a standalone, there is plenty of explanation given as to who is who within the story and how they fit in without it being a rehash of the previous romances.

As is the case with this author, the romance is mostly sweet but with enough of an edge to stop it going over into saccharine territory and there’s low level angsting to keep the plot ticking over without it becoming a chore to read.

Hoping we’re getting Andy and Drew next.

Christina Lee’s Regret – powerful tale of second chances releases today

Today also sees the release of Christina Lee’s superb second chances romance Regret. Once again I’m joining in with the Release Day Blitz to help promote this fabulous book and giving readers a sneak peek inside the pages.

Regret Cover

COVER DESIGN: KANAXA

EXCERPT

“Tally pawed at the pillow for a few seconds before finally sinking down, apparently resigned to her position. I straightened to back out of the room, only then allowing my gaze to slide over Brin’s sleeping form. My pulse spiked when I noticed his eyes on me.

“Not sure Tally will want to sleep without you,” he rasped out. The words were like a thunderbolt to my chest. As if he was referring to more than the dog finding her way to my bed.

“Not sure I’ll want to sleep without her,” I replied in a hoarse voice, attempting to get my emotions under control.

Without you. Because you’ve taken up residence inside my heart once again. But maybe you’ve always been there, winding inside my rib cage, coiling around my lungs. Making it impossible to breathe, to think, to stop wanting.

As I turned to leave, his warm fingers curled around my wrist, searing into my skin. My breath caught in my throat. It was the first time he made the first move and my heart bloomed into an impossibly large bouquet of hope and aching desire inside my chest.

Our gazes snagged and held as his other hand slowly reached for the edge of the blanket and pulled it aside.”

CL Pic

My review of Regret can be found HERE.

AUTHOR BIO

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing.

She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever-afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul.

Website | Facebook Group | Twitter

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Release Day for Santino Hassell’s Oversight

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Today is the release of Santino Hassell’s Oversight, The Community #2 from Riptide Publishing.

I’m joining in with the release day buzz here on Mirrigold’s Musings by offering readers this little sexy sneak peek inside the pages of this fabulous paranormal suspense romance which will keep you firmly on the edge of your seat

My own review of this excellent follow up to The Community #1 Insight, can be found here.

“He half-expected to be shoved away and for a fist to crash into his face right before the taste of iron bloomed in his mouth, but it didn’t happen. The hands gripping him closed down harder, grinding bone and muscle, but that was the only way Six reacted. He was frozen as Holden stroked his tongue gently and coaxed it into a response before sucking it entirely into his mouth.

A groan muffled against him, low and quickly aborted, but Holden heard it. And he felt the way Six leaned into him. It was barely a response, but it encouraged Holden to pin Six against the door and dive into a hungry kiss. Slicking tongues, frantically moving lips, and a full body press that made it quite clear that Six was into this. His dick was fully rocked up in a way that could not be explained by anything other than arousal for Holden.

It was right about the time triumph usually exploded in Holden’s chest with invisible banners and balloons celebrating a conquest, but this time he felt apprehension. He didn’t want to end this kiss. He wanted Six to keep exploring the inside of his mouth with a delightfully frantic lack of finesse, and he wanted a genuine fucking smile once they were done. But that wasn’t in the cards. That wasn’t what this was about.”

Author Bio:

SH imageSantino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr

 

Brilliant historical fantasy novel

Spoils of WarSpoils of War by Hannah Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never read Hannah Walker before but I suspect that will change quite quickly following this book.

This is everything I love in a fantasy novel just minus the magic. It has a feudal style medieval feel to the worlds, it has hot alpha men, powerful but also compassionate and loving and it has a great plot.

Both the MCs in this one are men who know their own worth but are still humble enough to courageously put their kingdoms before their feelings.

I loved the friendships they have with their fellow soldiers too and the sneaky political plotting worked well to drive the tensions in the romance.

I know this is marketed as a stand alone but I’d love to read more of this universe as I want to know more about the rest of the gang.

Also truly gorgeous cover, one of the reasons I picked this out to read.

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Really conflicted with this one

Anything But RealAnything But Real by Alex West

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were elements of this debut romance from Alex West which I absolutely adored there were also times that reading it felt exhausting.

The intriguing way in which it’s written I think perhaps sounded better as an idea than it did in practice as having three different narrative styles in one chapter made it feel jumbled at times.

Still, the romance itself was a sweet one, both friends to lovers and second chance all in one and I liked both Ben and Reid as characters.

Ben was occasionally hard work to read though, we only get his first person thoughts and at times the incessant worrying became too much. Reid we only see through Ben’s eyes and through a third person narration so we only get his motivations in passing, not a constant stream of doubts.

The setting and fake fiance trope, however, worked really well and Ben’s family brought a fair bit of light relief to help ease away the tensions.

There is no smexy times at all in this book, other than a couple of kisses, everything happens off page or in fade to black, which is a little disappointing but not out of keeping with the higher focus on romantic love.

The epilogue is super sweet though and includes a nice time jump showing the two MCs still living their HEA.

Oh, there’s no need for an apostrophe in lots though and there were a couple of other odd grammatical errors which most people probably won’t care about but my journalist/sub-editor head doesn’t skip over.

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This book just hit all my buttons and almost made me cry

RegretRegret by Christina Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book needs a tissue warning! I didn’t full out blub but I was so close and definitely had very leaky eyes at the ending.

Sometimes a book just resonates with you as a reader and this was one of those for me. I could feel every ounce of Nick’s guilt and grief and all I wanted to do was reach into the book and wrap him in the world’s biggest hug.

Brin, on the other hand, for a lot of the book I wanted to sit down and just talk to, get inside his hurt and ask him to think logically about why Nick might have done what he did. His hurt was perfectly valid and I totally understood why he’d cut him off but as soon as they reconnected, it became really clear there had been something seriously wrong at the heart of Nick’s behaviour.

There’s nothing more delicious to me than a true enemies to lovers or second chance romance and this book turns both up in spades. Christina Lee is a writer who has such an authentic way of connecting her readers to the characters she’s writing. They are honest and real and flawed but also beautiful and hopeful and loving.

The sadness at the centre of this book is also wholly believable, it never once feels like a plot point thrown in just to create the drama. It was heart-breaking and something you know sadly happens more than we’d like to think and which leaves people living half lives.

The characters which surround Nick and Brin are also fully drawn out, inhabiting their own slice of the story perfectly and bringing the necessary depth to anchor their relationship reconnection on.

I’m really hoping this is the start of a new series Christina because I want to know more about Tristan and the mysterious Mr V’s boyfriend!

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