Category Archives: Reviews: LGBTQ+

Brooke and Ella at their absolute best.

59353203._SY475_Secrets & Lies by Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved everything about this book, from the moment that Ash and Ryder met, to the awesome Epilogue set six years later.

It’s taboo, pay attention if that’s the kind of thing that squicks you out. For me, I wasn’t particularly bothered given the circumstances of how the pair met.

It’s seriously hot, but it’s also much more than just sex. While there’s an instant lustful attraction between the two men, there’s also a meeting of minds, of similar passions and interests.

The age gap between Ash and Ryder never really feels like a bit deal, Ryder is an old soul, he’s had to mature growing up with his military single dad, so he’s used to looking after himself.

The forbidden aspect of their situation is dealt with both realistically and appropriately imho, I liked how Brooke and Ella took that part of the story.

The “Third Act” crisis point isn’t drama created for the sake of it, it fit perfectly into the narrative and I felt it was handled well. The Epilogue is absolutely fabulous and I firmly believed that this pair would see out their lives together.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review

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I am so in love with Sebastian and Wesley

Proper Scoundrels CoverProper Scoundrels by Allie Therin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely adored Allie’s Magic in Manhattan Collection: Spellbound / Starcrossed / Wonderstruck with its 20s setting and a unique system of paranormal abilities and its Film Noir evoking mystery.

But this spin-off? OMG this spin-off is EVERYTHING. I am so in love with Sebastian and Wesley Collins aka Lord Fine.

Both men have been through some serious traumas and are dealing with the fall out. Sebastian was kept for three years as a prisoner through the use of blood magic and forced to use his abilities to harm others, he’s suffering with serious PTSD (accurately referred to as Shell Shock here in this world) that he can’t even acknowledge.

Wes was an officer during the War and a sharpshooter, he’s done things, and ordered his men to do them, that he cannot forget.

On top of that, Wes was dumped by his lover Arthur (see Spellbound) for an antiquarian half his age (Rory you are utterly delightful) and he’s only the Viscount Fine because his older brother was killed in the conflict.

He’s prickly, rude, entitled, snobbish and oh so very much in need of someone to love.

Thrown together almost by accident, these two former “villains” of the previous series both feel like they can never atone – in Wes’ case he really doesn’t want to atone for kissing Arthur in front of Rory either 😁 ) but both will find that fate has other ideas in store.

Allie takes the reader to my part of the world – beautiful Yorkshire, York and its imposing Gothic Minster firmly on the horizon – and then leads them into a high-paced, tension-filled ride of an adventure which also brings some old faces along with it.

It was lovely to see Jade and Zhang too, both as committed to each other as they were in the previous books, and we get to catch up with Seb’s cousin Isabel and her lover Molly, now both ensconced in Paris for the World’s Fair.

The villain is truly villainous, his sidekick is mad as a box of frogs, and I loved how Allie took a mythology which has a very strong Yorkshire connection – that of Dracula – and made it into the basis for a twisted paranormal’s very deadly power.

I won’t spoiler anything about the actual plot itself, only to say that it had everything I want to read in a romantic suspense, and the relationship element of this book is even stronger than Arthur and Rory’s.

It’s also more steamy and I was so grateful for that. My one criticism of the previous series had been how the intimacy between Arthur and Rory was never seen on page, other than odd kisses and the beginnings of their amorous encounters, before fading to black.

Here we not only get some of the best UST I’ve read in a long time, but Wes is also a bit of a secret Dominant (not in a true kink way though, but he has a very powerful personality and a need to “take care” of someone) and Sebastian is all for giving himself over to someone else to make decisions for him.

Wes is an arse, he’ll tell you that quite proudly, but his growth and change once he meets Sebastian is a wonderful thing to read. He doesn’t change FOR him but BECAUSE of him.

Sebastian is the biggest (and most dangerous) cinnamon bun with a marshmallow soul, he’s so desperate to atone for things which were beyond his control that you want to wrap him up in a fluffy blanket and never let the world hurt him any more.

The first time they finally kiss is stunningly effective in the narrative. It’s an understandable slow burn but oh my lord, is it worth the wait! There aren’t loads of sex scenes, the story doesn’t really need it, but when they happen, they’re beautifully written.

As you can tell, I absolutely adored this book. Allie has such a grasp on her plots that before you can blink, you’ve read half the book and it’s gone midnight 🤣 I did not want to put this one down from the minute I started reading it and that’s the mark of a wonderful writer.

I hope this isn’t the end of this wonderful world Allie has created. I would happily while away more hours with this bunch of disparate people time and time again.

#ARC kindly received from the author via Carina Press on NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Roe delivers up a super spicy and serious sweet romance

59608244._SY475_Ugly by Roe Horvat

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another hit entry in his omegaverse from Roe, Ugly manages to be the sweetest romance ever while raising the lid as one of the hottest.

The dirty talk in this book is exceptional and I felt every bit of the scorching heat between the shy teenage Emmerson and scared and lonely Burke.

The plot is simple, no need to over-egg the pudding and I adored watching Burke open up as he realised Emmerson was there for him because Burke made him feel safe.

Emmerson also realises he’s a bit of a size queen after Burke nurtures him through his first heat with not only kindness but also some ridiculous, pants meltingly hot sex 😁

Really loved this one and I’m hoping there may have been small hints for who else might be getting a book (Richard and Kirby please Roe if you’d be so kind!)

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

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