This feels like something’s missing

Mating the Omega (Mercy Hills Pack #1)Mating the Omega by Ann-Katrin Byrde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what happened with this story but it feels like there’s a bit missing after the court case when Jason runs off.

There’s no further details on what happens to the alpha from his old pack who tried to ram them off the road and there’s nothing about what exactly makes him a True Omega as opposed to a plain old normal one.

Still, it’s not a bad story, even if there’s nothing out of the ordinary happens and it has the bonus of actually having an explanation for how mPreg occurs and for not going off page or blacking out when Jason gives birth.

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Didn’t feel the love in this one sadly

Smitty's Sheriff (Hope, #3)Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can’t put my finger on just what was wrong with this one but it didn’t work for me. I usually love a May to December romance and this had all the necessary elements on the surface but it left me feeling flat.

Rich was a difficult character to find any empathy with, he came across as a jerk for a lot of the story and he treated Todd like a young child rather than a lover on frequent occasions.

The big hook on their relationship troubles was mis communication and it just totally grinds my gears. A man Rich’s age should know better than to just assume things and as a Sheriff he’s supposed to be intelligent enough to deduce things rationally.

Todd was a sweetie, naive but determined to get his man back, I just didn’t believe in the relationship unfortunately.

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SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words

ausiello-coverI’ve been a fan of Michael Ausiello since I started watching American TV series Glee and started following him to check for spoilers and other snippets about that show so it was difficult to read his announcement that his beloved partner Kit had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

They married in time for Kit’s first chemo appointment – another of the issues facing a same sex couple is having legal responsibilities in the event of illness

This autobiography goes into that painful time but it also gives some insight into a career which is as filled with humour and happiness as it is with sadness and pain.

The blurb for this book sums it up perfectly, you will howl with laughter, you will sob at the tragedy of losing the love of your life over such a short space of time and – ultimately – you will be thankful for the chance to come along for the ride as Ausiello shows the reader all the ups and downs of a life worth living.

Michael Ausiello’s SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words (Atria Books; September 12, 2017; $26.00) chronicles a fourteen-year love affair that culminated in a final year of illness, resilience, and, tragically, death.

ausielloAbout the Author:

Michael Ausiello is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.com, a television entertainment website owned by Penske Media that launched in 2010. Ausiello began his publishing career in 1997 as a senior news editor at Soaps in Depth magazine before moving over to TV Guide in 2000. During his eight-year tenure there, he wrote for both the magazine and its website.

Ausiello’s columns at TV Guide included “The Ausiello Report” – a weekly print column that expanded into a regularly updated blog online – and “Ask Ausiello,” an exclusively online weekly Q&A that he also conducted after moving over to Entertainment Weekly in 2008. Ausiello has also contributed commentary to media outlets such as Today, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Extra, and Access Hollywood. He lives in New York City.

SPOILER ALERT:  THE HERO DIES

By Michael Ausiello

Atria Books Hardcover | On-sale: September 12, 2017 |ISBN: 9781501134968, $26.00

eBook: 9781501134982, $13.99

Gorgeous new series starter from Brooke Blaine is a second chances delight

A Little Bit Like Love (South Haven, #1)A Little Bit Like Love by Brooke Blaine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved, absolutely loved this tale of second chances, of finding your place, of going back and making something right, of getting the boy you never forgot and throwing out the damaging things which have made you unhappy.

Brooke Blaine is supremely good at this type of romance, she builds up the tensions but never throws in “plot for plot’s sake” dramady (as I like to call it). The drama in this book comes wholly from within the narrative and follows the natural progression of two men – who were each tricked into thinking the other had dismissed them as unimportant after a single night of passionate commitment – when they find out the truth nearly a decade later.

I loved Lucas and Jackson, I loved the way they eased back into their teenage experiences but with a hint of holding back just in case but then, when everything came out in the open, how they embraced the fact they’d never stopped holding a torch for the other.

It made perfect sense for Lucas to react as he did, the pain he’d kept inside him for eight years had been lanced and then he saw something which he felt was taking him back to the night his heart had been broken. And Jackson, he needed to have the confrontation with his past so that he could finally make the break from a life he’d been neatly slotted into without ever having a choice.

And the setting, this is the beginning of a new series with a whole host of beautifully drawn secondary characters who will be getting their stories too and I can’t wait to find out more about Shaw and Bash and I hope we still hear from Syd as it’s such a pleasant change to have “the female rival” not be an utter witch.

This romance is sexy, it’s spicy, it’s hot and passionate but it’s also about finding and reconnecting, it’s about emotions and love and it’s about making the choice to trust even though you’ve been hurt by the person to whom you’re handing over your heart.

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

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Beautifully written but emphasis on Japanese culture isn’t my thing

AntisocialAntisocial by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

I want to say at the start that this book is beautiful. Impeccably researched, detailed in Japanese culture, anime and manga and featuring a love story which goes beyond the normal physical expressions into something soul deep.

However, as beautifully written as this book is, it’s not a five star read for me only for the simple reason that the whole Japanese culture element of it isn’t something I’m personally interested in and, as it anchored the whole narrative, I wasn’t as engaged in it as someone who does have a fascination with it probably would be.

However, it is so rare to get a love story which, even within the LGBTQ+ world, that isn’t a conventional one that it was a delight to read. Here Heidi Cullinan does it with some style as she depicts how someone identifying on the ace/gray spectrum finds the perfect person to become his.

The Greek myth of Galatea and Pygmalion – so famously turned into a play by Sir George Bernard Shaw and then into My Fair Lady, starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn – forms the basis of this romance as business student and future lawyer Skylar Stone takes on the project of putting reluctant Xander Fairchild’s art out into the world as part of his senior project.

Xander is anti-social, the artist responsible for the manga comic produced at the college they both attend, and a bit of an enigma. He’s also perfect for Skylar as he sees beneath the frat boy to the scared and confused young man beneath.

This story is so well written, the sensuality and eroticism of watching the two fall in love is superbly done, there is no “sex” in this book but there absolutely is a whole host of making love as Xander discovers just how much he can be turned on by watching Skylar find himself aroused by a simple touch.

The painting scene alone is an exercise on how to make something incredibly sexy and stimulating without the trappings of penetration in any form and their romance oozes intimate connections and passionate loving which fits perfectly within the sexuality of the protagonists.

#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Great debut for this new partnership

Lost and Found (Twist of Fate, #1)Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being a massive fan of both these authors and knowing how different in style their books are, I was fascinated to see how they’d work together.

Well, the answer is very well indeed. Lucy’s humour and soft touch marries perfectly with the skill Sloane has for creating well crafted drama even in the most unlikely of settings.

Perhaps Xander held onto his grudge a little bit longer than was maybe needed and Bennett took little bit too long to cut ties with his reprehensible parents, but these are minor points in what was, overall, a very nice romance.

I’m not sure I needed Aunt Lolly to live at a nudist camp but I guess she’s following in the footsteps of the Made Marian series’ Aunt Tilly, Irene and Gran by being a feisty older lady.

There’s an interesting mix of secondary characters too that I’m looking forward to finding out more about too.

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More fun with this mismatched pack

The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters, #1)The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are just plain fun, they’re an enjoyable romp through an alternative paranormal world where magical creatures live happily alongside humanity.

The first one in the series set up Biff’s brother founding the new pack and moving them to the West Coast where this tale now has them settling down and turning to find their way in their new home.

Biff bumps into ‘failed’ mage Max when he goes to register the new pack and all of a sudden it’s all systems go on him actually putting into practise his newly admitted status as a gay werewolf.

Biff is an absolute delight, he’s so sweet, gentle and caring even though he’s a piece of man muscle, as Max so eloquently describes him. Max has all sorts of hang ups and being able to trust someone isn’t even the hardest one.

Together they muddle through the triumphs and traumas of introducing a werewolf with brilliant self healing to the delights of gay sex (very hot), the acerbic wit of a man who might actually be the most powerful mage there’s been in an age and an overly protective pack.

In between they fight off baddies with an eye on the wreck of the house next door to Max’s where his father’s hidden secrets, a work colleague with relationship troubles and an overly harsh boss who might secretly be a bit of a softie really.

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