Smashing best friend’s brother romance from Baylin Crow

FlingBaylinCrow (1)Fling by Baylin Crow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was just smashing. I do enjoy a good best friend’s brother romance and, while this is a young adult one, it never felt like it.

Now, that’s not to say the characters read older either, they didn’t, and for the vast majority of this book, both Dean and Hayden were acting as I’d expect an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old.

Apart from the big conflict, which I must admit, didn’t quite work for me only because I don’t think enough build-up had been given to why Dean reacted as he did.

Instead, it felt like an overreaction to something which hadn’t, imho, been justified by the narrative at that point.

That is my only minor criticism though, the rest of the book is a delightful romance between someone who never expected to fall in love and the guy who had always been in love.

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

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Cute! BDSM romance from the pens of Ari McKay

His To Save (The Candy Cane Club, #2)His To Save by Ari McKay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If ever it could be said that a book about a BDSM club – and a sub who needs to learn how to reach subspace after an abusive relationship – was cute, it would be this book.

It really is cute, as well as sweet and funny at times, sexy and emotional and I really enjoyed it.

The idea of using BDSM to treat symptoms of PTSD isn’t a new one, I believe there are actual studies which researched it, and in the hands of this pair of authors, it’s treated with the weight and seriousness it deserves.

There are potential trigger warnings for readers of this book in so much as it discusses emotional abuse in childhood but it’s not given much detail and works really as the hook on which to slot the romance.

Saiph and Nick make a wonderful pair and each one helps the other beat their personal demons.

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

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A volcanic hot peek into an omegaverse from Blake Moreno

Heat for SaleHeat for Sale by Blake Moreno

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is as hot as the proverbial fires of Hell. But it’s also about lots more than just the heat and the sex and the powerful need to mate.

This is a non-shifter Omegaverse but it’s not related to the other world author Leta Blake has created in her Heat of Love series (Blake Moreno is her pen name for more darker reads.)

Here there isn’t as much attention paid to the expansive world building of Alpha Heat and Slow Heat. This book is much more focussed on the intimacy of an alpha and omega’s intense bonding during First Heat.

Now, that’s not to say there isn’t any world building, this is Leta Blake after all! Through dialogue, the narrative builds up an omegaverse in which the alphas aren’t necessarily the jerks and where the omegas have a lot of control over how they deal with their heats and producing offspring.

Inspired in part by the superb Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, the presence of Heath’s now dead omega lover Nathan hangs over the plot because we, the audience, knows he was Adrian’s father but the young man doesn’t.

This is a wonderfully paced story, the heat level is incendiary and full of all the erotica associated with this genre. There is insatiable need, knotting, dirty talk, commanding behaviour from Heath and submission from Adrian.

There’s also a building level of tension as the reader knows eventually the secret will out.

I really enjoyed this book and I hope Blake/Leta intends to write more in this world.

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

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Not my kink but a very good look at the Daddy/little world

My Kind of ManMy Kind of Man by A.G. Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

This isn’t my kink, but this book is an exceptionally good exploration of the whole ABDL Daddy/little world.

It never strays in to uncomfortable territory and the relationship between Callum and Mikey is built on mutual respect and understanding of the other’s needs.

Chemistry between the pair is very well done, the connection both sexual and emotional is easily seen through the writing. I firmly believed in them as a couple.

There’s a bit of drama which did feel a little bit plot for plot’s sake to cause tension and Mikey has a bit of a crisis of confidence in himself and his capability to be the little Callum needs at the 75% mark.

Overall though, I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking to expand their kink horizons and I hope we get the stories of the rest of the group too.

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

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The tension ramps up as this wonderful Urban Fantasy draws closer to the end

addercoverAdder and Willow by Sam Burns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I had to put in words exactly why I love this series so much, I think I would have to say because – for all the paranormal and urban fantasy aspects of it – at its heart, this is a series about finding yourself.

For Fletcher, it’s realising that he can be worried about his life without it becoming an overwhelming fear.

It’s also about acceptance, acceptance that when Conner says he loves him, he truly does mean it forever.

The supernatural suspense elements are always intricately woven into the rest of the narrative too. Here it feels, possibly rightly so as we hit the final run of the nine book series, that all the pieces are being put into place for the grand finale.

I love everything about this series, it’s quirky, it plays with the tradition paranormal tropes and subverts them and, while there are powerful magical people and creatures, none are used as a Deus Ex Machina.

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

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Simply beautiful romance from Kelly Jensen

Building foreverBuilding Forever by Kelly Jensen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is two out of two for Kelly Jensen – both completely different genre types as well, a Sci-Fi To See The Sun and now this contemporary.

I knew I was going to like this one when I was laughing out loud during the first chapter, tearing up at 37%, and when Kelly used one of my most favourite words ever – susurrate during a sex scene 🙂

This book is, pretty much, a feel-good read with only a teeny bit of angsty, lots and lots of love, fun and laughter, humour, and great characters and world-building, and it’s really visual! I could picture perfectly in my mind the setting.

The two protagonists are the kind of blokes I want to be friends with. I loved Simon and I adored Charlie. Their relationship was just lovely to read. The trope of neighbours falling in love is one you don’t see so much these days and it’s done with full justice here.

Simon’s looking for a new start, Charlie’s just living day by day, mostly happy but living with buried feelings of guilt and still mourning the loss of his wife.

There is a scene, which I mentioned in my Updates, which had me tearing up completely and it just summed up the whole book for me really – Simon was the perfect guy to pick up the baton so people could move on.

“I’m aware most of Bethlehem believes my associates are ghosts,” Arthur continued. “There was only one, though. Jeremy Klein. He was my partner in all things until he passed.” He wore the expression of a man reminiscing over deep loss and old grief. “It’s difficult to move forward from that. Especially in a small community. So I honored his memory—each facet of it—by making Jeremy into a host of associates. My partner, my friend.” A quiet breath. “My lover.”
Gaping wasn’t polite, but how else to react?
“I hope I have not misjudged you,” Arthur went on. “That my . . . personal history isn’t something you—”
“No. You haven’t. I appreciate the confidence.”
“It’s considered rude to imagine one knows another without question, and this world is so obsessed with labels. But I recognized you when you first came to visit me, Simon. That’s not why I was eager for the partnership, you understand. But I felt nonetheless that we could make beautiful things together. That in you, I had found someone to pass my associates on to.”

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

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Truly delightful festive romance from Annabeth

Better Not PoutBetter Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Annabeth Albert + a Military MC + a festive setting = complete win!

I knew going into this one that I would – more likely than not – end up loving it as it had all the hallmarks of the great formula which has worked so well in Annabeth’s Out of Uniform series (and if you’ve not read that yet, get on it!

This is magic, a lonely Sergeant Major being pushed into retirement after 28 years service, a younger man who lives in the town he grew up in, surrounded by his extended family and a support network but never taking risks.

They meet when Nick is cajoled by his Commanding Officer into taking over the role of Santa that her husband usually plays when he’s invalided out following a heart attack. Nick is not a jolly Santa at all, he’s a serious character whose really only ever known the Army life.

While there is tragedy in his past, it’s not dwelled upon, it’s something he’s pushed deep inside and so Teddy’s open and expressive way of life and the closeness he has with his own family, even though they too have had a similar painful experience, is something he’s not sure how to deal with.

I loved watching Teddy slowly break down all Nick’s walls, not even deliberately, he just is Teddy and Nick slowly realises there might be an alternative to living the remainder of his days alone in a Florida setting he’s only heading for because he promised an old Army buddy he’d invest in his tour business.

Teddy’s not all fluff though, he knows he’s got his own issues and the safety and security of his small hometown where he knows everyone is just one of the things which holds him back. Nick opens up a future he hadn’t thought was possible.

I love me a good Christmas/festive romance and I love me a good military romance, especially with an age gap and complete opposites attract, and Annabeth delivers on all three. Put this one at the top of your reading list, it’ll make a lovely present!

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

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