Possibly the funniest Mail Order Bride trope romance I’ve ever read!

39711956Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is beyond brilliant! Seriously, I just read it in like an hour because I couldn’t put it down and just needed to find out what was going to happen to Robby and Trace.

It’s Eli Easton at her best imho, hilariously funny at times, tinted with a touch of pathos, rip-roaring adventure and a good old fashioned romance which bursts off the pages and fulfils all those needs for a couple of captivating MCs and a well developed setting.

It’s no secret I’m a massive fan of historical romance and the mail-order Western bride is a particular trope often found in the MF romance world so it was such a delight to get this MM twist on the tale and one carried out with such dexterity.

This book is believable even though the premise may seem, on the face of it, to be an unlikely one and I absolutely adored Robby when he was Rowena as she started putting the crazed Crabtree family to rights.

It’s straight up Western adventure, High Noon meets Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls (one of my all time favourite musicals!) with a dash of Some Like It Hot and I loved every bit of it.

Robby is such a character, sassy as a man but glorious when forced to hide as Rowena, he soon whips the ungracious boys on the Crabtree ranch into shape as he gets them using napkins, thanking their wives for their efforts and manages to weedle $20 from Pa-Pa for a trip into Flat Bottom to buy fabrics (which was truly one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time).

Trace though, oh Trace is everything you’d ever want in a small town Sheriff, tall, self-contained, lethal with both his gun and his smile. When he sees Rowena being harassed by two dodgy men in Santa Fe and steps in to discover she’s his brother Clovis’ intended bride, well lets just say he also gets more than he was expecting.

He realises fairly sharpish that what’s underneath the skirts is something he’s very much interested in and the two of them together are both ridiculously hot and seriously sweet at the same time.

The ending and epilogue are awesome and I just read this whole book with a massive smile on my face.

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

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Top class follow up to one of my favourite romances

Test of Valor (Valor, #2)Test of Valor by Keira Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top class follow up to one of my favourite Keira Andrews couples – Rafa and Shane.

In fact, I didn’t know I needed a book two until Keira said she was writing it and then I was desperate to find out how life was treating America’s scandalous ex-Secret Service agent and his former White House protectee and much younger lover.

The answer was pretty well actually, in spite of the nightmares which keep Shane up at night, and the doubts Rafa has about being good enough, and oh boy are things still hot as Hell between them.

This one’s way more kinky than book one, Rafa is turning into a bit of an unashamed cum slut and Shane’s more than happy to oblige in the bedroom, the lounge, the bathroom, and over the dining room table after a fight with Rafa’s mother.

There’s a wee bit of tension caused by family issues and a big event which, while dramatic, works within the plot narrative and the ending and epilogue are ridiculously perfect.

I still have questions, especially about Matthew, so I hope Keira hasn’t  finished with the former First Family just yet 🙂

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

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I really liked this frenemies in Alaska romance

AlaskaAlaska by Cate Ashwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was great but I have to express my thoughts that neither the cover, or the blurb itself, really help much in explaining what it’s about.

It could be a deliberate thing, but the cover especially doesn’t say anything to me about the very sweet frenemies to lovers romance between two surgeons who are thrown together in the back of beyond Alaska.

I loved the dynamic between Gage and Holden, there’s an element of friends to lovers and definitely some frenemy vibes when they first met.

There’s no unnecessary angsty in this outside of Holden’s initial reason for being sent to Alaska in the first place and oh boy I despised Holden’s father so much!

The ending is super sweet and they made me smile a lot.

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

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Wonderfully surprised by this new to me author’s hockey romance

On the Ice (Stick Side, #1)On the Ice by Amy Aislin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well this was an utter surprise and a very pleasant one. I’ve never read Amy Aislin before but I shall definitely be keeping an eye out for more of this series.

I absolutely adored it. This is slow burn but with a difference because NHL defensive lineman Alex is demisexual and he needs to be emotionally connected to someone before he even thinks about having feelings of sexual attraction.

Mitch, on the other hand, is younger and, on the face of it, way more confident. He’s bold and brash but hiding a lot of hurt and loss underneath his veneer of self-assurance. He’s been putting a brave face on for so long, he’s lost the ability to be himself. But, if he wants Alex, that’s what he’s got to be.

The slow, slow burn in this is beautifully written. Alex is repulsed at first by Mitch’s open come ons and he doesn’t want to get involved. But once he sees that the visible Mitch isn’t the real one, he’s intrigued and, as he begins to tutor him for a class he can’t afford to fail while out on an injury leave, Alex starts to to get that emotional connection.

I have to say, the only aspect of this one that didn’t quite work for me was the background to why Mitch was on his own and struggling so much and, while it was thoroughly explained and was a perfectly reasonable reason, I think I needed maybe a tiny bit more interaction with his mother for it to be sold perfectly. Especially the bits with his brother.

There’s a great bunch of secondary characters in this one and a very visual setting which was well described and I’m hoping there’s going to be more involving the guys from Mitch’s college team and some of Alex’s Tampa teammates.

I loved that there was a long time period over which this story was told as well, running from 2008 through to 2015 and the final chapter/epilogue was so ridiculously sweet it had me tearing up – which doesn’t happen often!

Sports romances are one of my favourite tropes because they provide me with hope that, eventually, the toxic masculinity present in so many of the “big name” games will fade away and it won’t matter about someone’s sexuality – just how well they can play.

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

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Review Round Up – Why series from Colette Davison

Why I Left YouWhy I Left You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to start with this one. It’s a powerful exploration of the pain of depression in a young man and it’s also a romance between two young men who’ve been in love since they were teenagers and who were separated by one desperate act and the consequences of it.

I don’t think I “enjoyed” it in the way I would usually enjoy a young adult romance, there’s too much pain and suffering I think to truly let go of the aspects of dealing with a mental illness.

There’s also, for me anyway, a definite feeling of realism over how neither man wants to deal with the serious conversations they’re owed from each other over what happened four years earlier.

And, also, the incident which caused Jamie’s initial breakdown – while perfectly possible and believable in its own right – didn’t work for me and I don’t have a logical explanation for why. I just read it and felt it was a bit “plot pointy” as there’d been nothing even remotely clued in throughout the rest of the narrative

Still, the writing is exemplary and care is taken to never diminish the effects of depression and how it alters people’s perceptions of themselves and others.

Why I Need YouWhy I Need You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I preferred this one over book one because, while it still dealt with serious issues and there was still a ginormous lack of communication, these two didn’t mask over things with sex.

Both Noah and Fin are dealing with grief and both have huge hang ups over what they think the other person is feeling or likely to do if they reveal the truth.

Their fears were completely believable and quite realistic, but I just got a bit fed up by the push/pull over each of them opening up about what was going on inside their heads.

The ending, with characters of just 24 and 21, also felt a little unlikely but then again, when you know you’ve met The One, why wait.

Why I Trust YouWhy I Trust You by Colette Davison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely my favourites in the series and the one with the least amount of angst and most focus on just the development of a loving relationship.

I liked that these guys talked to each other, there was no miscommunication or misunderstanding between Ryan and Martin. Their obstacles were practical and legal ones and it worked well.

Ryan’s fears over having to rely on someone else were perfectly understandable, as were Martin’s over people being with him for his money.

Together they were seriously sweet and a lot of fun to read, as well as being crazy sexy. Overall I’ve enjoyed this series from an author New to me and – as a Leeds born girl – it’s always great to see stories set in and around my part of the world.

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

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Loved this enemies to lovers short from Roan Parrish

Natural Enemies Cover FINALNatural Enemies by Roan Parrish

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had a sneaky ARC of this one but wasn’t allowed to mention it until Roan officially announced the release so here’s my review now it’s out!

This book previously appeared in the Exposed anthology and, although I have that, I’ve not read anything from it yet so this was my first time with Natural Enemies and let me say, it’s an absolute delight.

In Stefan, Roan has created a character I could perfectly visualise and understand how his upbringing had led him into a fairly insular and repressed lifestyle. Milo, on the other hand, took me a bit longer to get inside his head, although I loved him as a character from the off.

There’s some really funny banter at times but also som quite heartbreaking moments when Milo unintentionally hits one of Stefan’s insecurity trigger points but overall it’s a seriously sexy (Stefan is all buttoned up and needs Milo to take control but when he lets go, the steam is explosive!)

It’s all filled out with loads of gardening fluff and there’s a fabulous list at the end of a load of gardening projects and schemes working with community groups to try and make a difference in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the USA.

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

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Rick gets his redemption arc in the latest Perspectives romance

hisfaithHis Faith As He Finds It by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Why does there always have to be so much angst?!

Okay, this one isn’t actually that bad and a lot of it we already know about from Jon and Isaac’s book, but there is still quite a bit in the back stories of both MCs.

However, having said that, Rick is perfectly redeemed from his role as Jon’s unintentionally abusive boyfriend and becomes a truly interesting and complicated character in this book.

Vinson was a bit harder to warm up to, on paper he was caring, kind, open and sweet, but he also had his demons and a habit of being judgemental and forming opinions from only half a tale.

Together, though, they absolutely brought out the best in each other and helped each other move on from some serious dramady and past angsting.

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

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