Category Archives: Reviews: LGBTQ+

Fabulous festive contemporary romance from Ruby Moone

Trusting Jack jpgTrusting Jack by Ruby Moone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

LOVED! Absolutely loved this book, couldn’t put it down once I started reading it and now I’m gutted because it’s finished.

This book is a perfect festive treat, but it’s more than that, it’s also Ruby’s first full-length story and it’s the start of a new Manchester-based series about a British security and private investigations company filled with wonderful characters and a brilliant sense of place.

I’ve always loved Ruby’s historicals but this, her first foray into contemporary, is a real gem. It’s set over the festive period but it’s more than just a Christmas romance, this is about two lost souls finding each other at the right time.

Michael is Jack’s boss and he’s been attracted to the younger man since he first gave him the job but he’s an employee so off limits. But Michael’s office manager’s concerns about the younger man brings him right into his orbit and then Jack’s vulnerability and Michael’s fears about his safety put them in close proximity.

Everything about this narrative worked for me. Jack’s vulnerable but not powerless, he’s desperately strong and dealing with a life that’s been just a little bit crappy apart from one small shining light and now he’s having problems because of that light getting tarnished.

I loved the way the tensions were all story driven, nothing in this felt like it was there for the plot point only. Jack’s life led him to the place he was in but he wasn’t a victim and he was doing his best to get himself out. Michael’s intervention felt honest, the actions true to his character.

Their falling in love happens over a short time but is, in actuality, a slow steady fall, not feeling like instalove at all. I won’t go more into the plot because I think this is a story that, like a well-wrapped Christmas present, just deserves to be peeled away layer by layer.

Now, let’s talk Christian and Daniel shall we Ruby?!

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

Lovely festive romance with a Florida warmth

The Christmas Lights BattleThe Christmas Lights Battle by Skylar M. Cates

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a lovely festive romance with a little bit of unexpected spice from Skylar Cates and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Julian and Leo don’t have the best meeting, mostly down to Julian’s preconceived ideas about Leo being a dumb jock and his own internal insecurities.

But once they actually start to talk, they realise the attraction they have for each other might just be the best gift, not just for Christmas but for a lifetime.

There’s a wee bit of angst in this to measure against the sweetness, mostly surrounding Leo’s background with ultra conservative religious parents, and Julian’s ex-husband is also a bit of a dick.

However, Julian’s family are fab, as are Leo’s best friends, and there are lots of hints given for further entries in this series.

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

Kelly saves the best for last and gives us a wonderful mature romance

chasing foreverChasing Forever by Kelly Jensen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you for this book Kelly Jensen, just thank you.

I am 48 like Brian, I am disabled with mobility issues that came out of the blue at a relatively young age and changed my world like Malcolm.

I may not be a gay man but I could empathise with so much that these two complex and wonderfully alive characters had experienced and the doubts and fears they lived with.

Getting a redemption storyline right is not an easy task, and while Brian was never a true villain, our gaze as readers had been on him from the point of view of his ex Simon and Simon’s best friend Frank.

We had an opinion on his character, on his behaviour, on how he was an ass, on how he treated Simon appallingly. But we were wrong in many ways.

Brian was a lost soul, clinging onto something that wasn’t, and never would be, the right relationship for him or Simon, but lacking the whole awareness to realise it and so putting them both through Hell.
He’d been fighting his whole life so hard that he didn’t know how to stop and put his shield and sword away.

It wasn’t until his nephew Josh shows up with a painful reminder of the past, that Brian starts to become the beautifully flawed man he truly is. And it is then through the eyes of Malcolm that the layers start to peel away.

And here can I gush about Malcolm for a bit. He’s not perfect either, he’s physically fragile and feeling his mortality after the hit and run that almost destroyed his legs and nearly took his life.

But he is strong in heart, aware of his weaknesses and determined to not let his age, his awkwardness or his shyness get inside his head and prevent him from acknowledging that he wants Brian even with his asshole reputation.

I’m not sure which one I loved the most. They were stubborn, they were vulnerable, they were sexy and sweet together, frustrating and fascinating and ultimately the perfect fit to slot into place and create their own future together.

The secondary plot was a surprise, I didn’t expect it to go the way it did but the narrative actually couldn’t have been more right in the end. It’s not the physical places that make a community but the people and the friendships and while the final outcome was a different one, I loved it.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each book in this series, so much so that I bought them all even though I’d had the ARCs. This is hands down one of the best series I’ve read not only this year but in the contemporary romance genre as a whole.

If you want interesting and intelligent mature characters all well past their youthful bloom who find and fall in love with their perfect partner, then you’d not go far wrong with picking this series up.

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

All That Has Flown Beyond is a complex romance

All That Has Flown Beyond

All That Has Flown Beyond by Marina Vivancos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like the first book in this series, All That Has Flown Beyond is a complicated and complex narrative which covers a multitude of subjects all wrapped within a paranormal romance.

I’m never sure what I’m going to be reading in the next chapter with this author and here we get taken along a journey of mythology, customs and traditions ranging across Europe and into South America and across the Far East to Japan.

It’s wonderfully lyrical and descriptive, the otherworldly feeling comes pouring out as the story progresses through the shamanic route Kaiyo takes after he’s forced out of the pack he’s always been part of even though he’s not a wolf shifter.

There’s also incredible pain in this book, head the trigger warnings carefully, Marina doesn’t skimp on any of the details as she demonstrates how the black dog of depression controls lives, how it pulls its web over even the strongest of souls.

But there is also much love in this book, even though the romance itself takes some time to return, second chances need to have the necessary payback to make them believable and to get the reader rooting for reconciliation.

All in all, I’m again wowed by the writing talent while being exhausted by the subject matter!

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

View all my reviews

The Christmas Angel Series Review Round-up

Christmas AngelChristmas Angel by Eli Easton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eli Easton kicks off this loosely interlinked series of festive romances with a truly beautiful historical set in the Georgian period of English history.

Giving the backstory to the Christmas Angel, her romance between a sculptor and a Bow Street Runner is chock full of lovely historical accuracy and all the feels as two men whose very proclivities could have seen them to the noose, fall in love.

I adored Alec but John Trent is a fabulous character, solid and strong, truthful and determined to be the one his artist can rely on.

It’s steamy but period appropriate and I loved the whole imagination behind the Angel’s creation. Mrs Simpson’s household of ‘deviants’ was an utter delight.

I can’t wait to follow the Angel on her travels through time in this wonderful series from some of my favourite authors.

~

Summerfield's Angel (The Christmas Angel, #2)Summerfield’s Angel by Kim Fielding

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fabulous late 19th century New York set romance wonderfully follows up Eli Easton’s opener in this series of seven intertwined festive stories.

Xeno and Alby were a joy, I loved the depiction of 1800s New York and the Bowery, department stores and the YMCA which provided honest succour for the working man with no place of his own.

The Christmas Angel worked her magic here in a way which I felt was time period believable and I loved the Epilogue 🙂

~

The Magician's AngelThe Magician’s Angel by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A murder mystery just after the turn of the 20th century brings the Christmas Angel to a small town in the middle of nowhere America and to a theatre struggling to survive.

This one wasn’t as sweet as the previous two have been, murder does put a damper on thriving relationship development, but it still had some lovely moments.

Edward was a lovely character, staid and practical and very much out of love with the family theatre. Christopher was a rogue of the best kind, the ones who are hoping to steal away someone’s love and make a family.

I guessed the whodunit pretty much from the off but it didn’t matter, the plot worked well and was cleverly revealed.

~

Christmas HomecomingChristmas Homecoming by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every time I read a historical romance set in a period of war I want to just wrap my arms around the men who served but couldn’t be open about their sexuality.

How many of them lost a loved one they couldn’t openly mourn, like both Jack and Roger do here, and how many went to their deaths knowing their loved ones would suffer in silence.

Lori embeds this romance not only with that sense of loss, but also acknowledges those sacrifices with the characters of Floyd and Oskar, off page but important in the journey these men take back to each other.

This ends at the start of the 1950s and there was still a way to go, but the Epilogue felt completely believable to me – a happy Jack and Roger living their best lives under the radar as two war-damaged bachelors.

~

A Soldier's WishA Soldier’s Wish by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Told in three distinct parts, N.R. Walker’s entry in the Christmas Angels series brings the story firmly into the remembered memories of Woodstock, the Vietnam War and a time before the rights of gay men were recognised the same as everyone else.

We’re in the heart of the New Age movement at the music festival which saw more than 400,000 people come together to celebrate peace.

Here is where Gary, a hippie on his way to the festival, first encounters soldier Richard. This section of the book is full of the heady joys of new love.

The central section is letters between the young men, a chilling insight into the horrors faced in the jungles of the Far East and the growing changes happening in the USA in and around San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

And then we get the rest of this powerfully emotional story, which I won’t spoil, other than to say it has all the things I expect from this author. There are strong female characters, there is some pain, there are all the feels and, finally just when you think she’s been forgotten, there is our Christmas Angel.

I loved everything about this romance, Gary and Richard’s youthful ideals, their fears of separation, their joys at reunion.

~

Shrewd AngelShrewd Angel by Anyta Sunday

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The superb sloooooow burn talents of Anyta Sunday, a retelling of one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies, throw away lines referencing one of my favourite musicals (Taming of the Shrew and Kiss Me Kate respectively) and our interfering Christmas Angel conspire to produce a genius festive romance.

Cliff and Pax are fabulous, there’s a whole host of wondrous secondary characters, the New Zealand setting is subtle and the nods to both the original source material and to the amazing MGM musical, made this one of my favourites in this completely brilliant series.

~

Christmas Prince (The Christmas Angel #7)Christmas Prince by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is there anyone who hasn’t, at one time in their lives, wished to be in an old-fashioned fairy tale romance with a handsome Prince or Princess sweeping them off their feet?

If only for a little while until the reality kicks in that they’re not perfect and it takes just as much work to keep Prince Charming happy as it does Joe Bloggs that is.

In the final berry to this absolutely wonderful series, RJ Scott gives us a handsome Prince, a curator of European history, a tiny Principality on the French/Italian border, a family secret outed and a Christmas Angel who really does get herself involved in the meddling.

I wanted to read about Rafael and Marc forever 🙂


#ARCs kindly received from all the authors involved in this series in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Lovely little undercover romance from Clare London

perf4.250x7.000.inddRomancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know some of my friends weren’t as keen on this one but I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read the other two in the series so perhaps that’s why, as I had nothing to compare against.

But I thought this was a super sweet undercover boss type romance between two people who were perfect for each other. Alex started off as a bit of spoiled directionless brat but I came to absolutely love him.

Once Alex was involved with the Somerton family, he turned into a completely different person, one who’d found his place and where he could bring real value outside of a monetary one. His slow assimilation into Tate’s life just worked perfectly for me.

Tate was a bit of a dilemma for me though, at times I really wasn’t keen on him at all, he seemed determined to self-sabotage the whole relationship and I got why he had fears because of his parents but even so!

I’m not sure the mystery/suspense element really worked as well as it could have done though, it was pretty obvious to me who the villain of the piece was fairly early on but I thought the takedown worked pretty well.

The family made this book for me, Gram, the twins, Amy and even Freddie the dog were just an absolute riot to read about.

There was a smashing Epilogue which Tate almost ruined and I felt quite sorry for poor Alex but I did honestly believe these two would get their Happy Ever After.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my Goodreads reviews

Another wonderful festive glimpse into life with the Campbell-Hayes’

Home-for-Christmas2-400Home For Christmas by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

RJ Scott’s Texas series is one of my absolute favourites, having binge read the lot in about three day, so to find another instalment was planned with the next generation was an absolute joy.

And this one delivers in all ways, a bit angsty, a lot of love all over the place, a misunderstanding that causes the kind of bust-up which is a staple feature of these big dramatic family narratives.

I felt for River, and I’m glad there was no instant curing of his anxieties or sudden disappearing of his symptoms, although I did think perhaps more could have been expanded on once his family background was known.

But, this is a novella after all, not a full-blown book, and we got plenty enough detail packed in to bring a fully fleshed festive romance to life perfectly.

Connor is such a sweetheart, even with his need to try and fix everything misfiring a touch, he has a heart as deep as his Pappa’s for the right person.

It was great to see all the Campbell-Hayes clan, and the extended Legacy family in passing, and I really hope RJ never closes the curtains permanently on this Texan ranching dynasty.

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

View all my reviews

« Older Entries