They just keep getting better

Defiance (The Protectors, #9)Defiance by Sloane Kennedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So Vincent might, just might, have sneaked into the number one spot on my list of favourite Sloane Kennedy men, edging out Magnus and Ronan, who were already fighting it out between them.

Defiance is yet another brilliant addition to the Protectors cannon, filled with all the drama and angst and insanely hot men this series typifies.

This one concerns Nathan, the estranged twin of Brody from Sloane’s connected Finding series. Brody is in a relationship with both Quinn Donovan and Beck Barretti, linking in to that set of hot alpha males too.
This is another of the things I love about a Sloane Kennedy romance, they are connected into such a wonderfully developed world with an unconventional family determined to look after their own.

Here the mystery was well hidden, I liked that I had no clue what or who the threat was coming from until almost the end of the book. There is always an element of ‘suspend disbelief’ with these books simply because of the nature of the setting. Secret service, black ops, off the grid assassins and dodgy government dealings in any spy thriller always need an element of just letting it ride. This one is no different.

By, that’s not to say they’re too far fetched, they’re not, this kind of murky underworld does exist and I love how this author constantly finds new ways to hang her romances on it.

Nathan and Vincent were so good together, age gap romances are one of my favourite tropes, as are men figuring out their sexuality and coming to terms with loving another man. Vincent getting his second chance at love was also beautifully crafted.

I wish Sloane could clone herself to get out her books even faster than she already does. I can’t wait to read Everett, Gage and Nash’s story or to find out more about Reese and just who will be mending his broken world.

And, as always, I’ve never met a Jay Aheer cover I didn’t love and this one is no exception, she captures the passion of the story within perfectly.

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Impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley

Letting Go (Love By Design, #1)Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley, solid and well plotted with believable characters acting in a wholly realistic manner.

The subject of mental illness is dealt with compassionately but without blunting the edge of how difficult it can be to live with debilitating panic attacks. Alex is a frustrating character but never an unsympathetic one. He has had to deal with a lot and it shows in his every action.

Kelley, by contrast, is solid as a rock, steady in his convictions and in his love and support for Alex, his maturity bringing a lot of stability to Alex’s life, even if the younger man doesn’t appreciate it and fights against it.

The world is well fleshed out too, with a healthy cast of secondary characters including Alex’s younger sister Evie, who read of her age rather than being some uber developed eight-year-old.

There are some odd grammar tense changes and the occasional typo but, as I was reading an ARC, this is to be expected and I am sure they’ll be cleaned up before release.

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

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Release Day Blitz – Morningstar Ashley’s Letting Go

Letting Go RDB Banner

LETTING GO

Love by Design, Book 1

MORNINGSTAR ASHLEY

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.14.17

Letting Go Cover

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

COVER PHOTO: StockPhoto

GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2sZFfqC

BLURB

Years ago, before tragedy struck, Alex made a child’s promise to always protect and care for his little sister, Evie. Then piece by piece, all the good in his life was taken away until Alex was left alone as guardian to his much younger sister. Suffering and loss scarred Alex, causing him to withdraw from the world. Struggling with anxiety and trust issues, Alex attempts to help Evie heal from their shared traumatic past, but each day is harder than the last. To make matters worse, Alex’s best friend, Ben, is pushing him to get out of his rut, confronting him with the fact that what Alex thinks is contentment is just stagnation and fear. The last thing he needs is for an old acquaintance to reappear in his life, making him feel things he hadn’t dealt with in years.

The executive of the marketing department at graphic design firm Vivid, Kelley has his life together. While not perfect, he’s happy with his career and his three best friends. A chance encounter with Alex, the guy he was once attracted to, is icing on the cake. Fighting through Alex’s defenses to find the breathtaking man underneath will be hard, but Kelley is up to the challenge. Kelley believes that the things most worth fighting for never come easy.

To accept all that Kelley is offering means Alex must drop his barriers. Kelley will need to keep trying and prove that Alex can trust him, even when grief and anxiety try to pull him back.

Alex 2

Kelley 2

EXCERPT

Pushing him back on the couch Kelley straddled Alex’s body, using his weight to hold the squirmy man in place, Kelley put his hands on Alex’s abs, fingers at his sides as his possessed Alex’s.

Shoving Alex’s shirt up as Alex lifted to give enough room for Kelley to pull the shirt off, dropping it to the floor. Attacking his nipples with teeth and tongue making Alex whimper and moan. Fuck! Hearing those sounds just turned him inside out. Turning the heat between up to lava level.

Moving back up to his neck Kelley sucked, tasted as he reached down with one hand greedily rubbing Alex’s dick through his pants. Running his hand up and down giving him the same of the pressure that Kelley’s throbbing cock was begging for.

“Oh, God.” Alex groaned with a rough edge to his voice as he arched his neck giving Kelley even more room to explore and mark. He wanted his mark on this man. Wanted everyone to see that he was Kelley’s. Fearing that with all the pain locked inside Alex he would never truly be his.

“Your shirt. Take off your shirt. I need to feel your skin.”

Kelley did exactly that.

He flattened Alex to the couch again, pressing their chest together once again, Alex had spread his thighs, Kelley slotted himself right there. Their groins meet and slide together. And holy fucking hell did that feel good. The pressure of Alex’s steel length against his rock hard cock sending relief and pleasure throughout his body.

Alex scratched his nails down his back making him growl. He had his legs bracketing Kelley’s body holding him in place. Like he would be so fucking stupid as to move.

He can feel Alex’s heart jackhammering through his chest. Their breaths panting out between kisses and moans.

What had started out slow had built and built until Kelley wanted to say fuck it and rip Alex’s clothes off to get at every inch of his skin. To have their bodies, slippery from sweat, sliding together.

And just like that Kelley knew exactly what he was going to do. Oh, sweet jesus the thought alone sending lust hurtling to his aching balls, making him want to shoot.

He was going to drive Alex to the brink over and over. Making him forget anything and everything except the need that would be coursing through his body. The need Kelley would put there. Have Alex begging and pleading Kelley to let him come.

Within minutes they lay back on the couch completely naked, kneeling between Alex’s thighs once again. All of Alex’s gorgeous fucking skin on display. His cock seemingly begging for attention, the crown purple and leaking pre-come onto his stomach. Kelley mouth waters with the thought of sliding it between his lips. But not yet.

Unable to stop himself he slipped his hands, fingers spread wide, to his ankles, over his thighs, across his chest. Gliding with the lightest touch around Alex’s erect nipples, back down his arms. Over and over he did this, needing to get his fill of this beautiful man. No one should have this effect on another person. He sat there with a naked Alex in front of him in awe of every lean muscle that pushed up to meet his hands, every scar his traced.

“Kelley,” Alex bites out as his body trembled under Kelley’s gentle touches.

“Yeah, baby. You need something?”

“Fuck. Don’t be an ass. You know want I want.”

Kelley sank back down on top of him. Licking a path up his collarbone to his throat and then their mouths meet stifling any more words that Alex was going to say. Their cocks align perfectly, and Kelley begins to thrust his cock against Alex’s as their kisses turn desperate and needy.

Kelley pulled away, and before Alex could utter a protest, he moved, swallowing his cock to the back of his throat. Letting his saliva pool in his mouth, needing all the wetness he could get for the slide of their cocks. With every groan that Alex had let out Kelley’s cock would twitch and throb tightening to epic proportions.

Each time he could feel Alex getting close Kelley would back off. Time and time again bringing him to the brink before pulling his mouth and hand away. Alex would whimper and wiggle, unable to lay still. He was so out of it that he words were reduced to grunts and groans.

When Kelley was satisfied that he had sufficiently teased Alex, he pulled off his cock with a pop. Using the spit that was now covering his hand, he coated his own cock with it before laying on top of Alex, lining their cocks up.

His body fitting tightly to Alex’s. Wrapping one arm around Alex’s shoulders, holding as close to him as he could, both needing the closeness this position gave them. Kelley began thrusting his cock against Alex’s.

“I’ve got you, baby. Just feel.”

Profanities had started to spill from Alex’s mouth. Kelley’s whole body was so overwhelmed by the slide and friction of their cocks he felt like he could’ve blown his load at any moment, hoping that Alex was feeling even a silver of what he was.

Alex had begun to counter thrust, writhing his tight body under Kelley. His head was tipped back, the muscles of his neck corded and straining.

“That’s it, baby. Let go.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.).

Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art.

Her ideal career would be full-time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either.

After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/morningstar.ashley

TWITTER: @starzehashley

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This book just hit all my buttons and almost made me cry

RegretRegret by Christina Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book needs a tissue warning! I didn’t full out blub but I was so close and definitely had very leaky eyes at the ending.

Sometimes a book just resonates with you as a reader and this was one of those for me. I could feel every ounce of Nick’s guilt and grief and all I wanted to do was reach into the book and wrap him in the world’s biggest hug.

Brin, on the other hand, for a lot of the book I wanted to sit down and just talk to, get inside his hurt and ask him to think logically about why Nick might have done what he did. His hurt was perfectly valid and I totally understood why he’d cut him off but as soon as they reconnected, it became really clear there had been something seriously wrong at the heart of Nick’s behaviour.

There’s nothing more delicious to me than a true enemies to lovers or second chance romance and this book turns both up in spades. Christina Lee is a writer who has such an authentic way of connecting her readers to the characters she’s writing. They are honest and real and flawed but also beautiful and hopeful and loving.

The sadness at the centre of this book is also wholly believable, it never once feels like a plot point thrown in just to create the drama. It was heart-breaking and something you know sadly happens more than we’d like to think and which leaves people living half lives.

The characters which surround Nick and Brin are also fully drawn out, inhabiting their own slice of the story perfectly and bringing the necessary depth to anchor their relationship reconnection on.

I’m really hoping this is the start of a new series Christina because I want to know more about Tristan and the mysterious Mr V’s boyfriend!

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Iain gets his story

Unnatural (Enlightenment)Unnatural by Joanna Chambers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was fascinated by Iain when he appeared in David and Murdo’s story and here we finally get to find out more about the dashing Captain Sinclair.

The feel of this book was different, given the long friendship between the two men and there were a lot of times when the both got in their own ways but I totally understood the fears.

It’s always great to read a MM historical done well and this whole series from Joanna Chambers has been a real pleasure.

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Bones of a good story but some niggly grammar errors

Rescue Me (Heathens Ink, 1)Rescue Me by K.M. Neuhold

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This one had all the makings of a good story but I kept getting thrown out of it because of bad grammar editing and typos.

It’s a shame because on paper the story narrative had lots of good elements to it, although I did raise a question about the setting of the incident which kicks it all off and whether it was too soon.

Still, there was only a little bit of angsty dramady and I didn’t feel like this was too much of an insta love romance and the steam level was on the higher and hotter side.

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New York lovingly stars in Hassell’s latest romance

Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2)Sunset Park by Santino Hassell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wowzers! That’s pretty much my take on this book. I fluctuated between exasperation, exhilaration and exhaustion watching Ray and David go on their relationship journey.

I love how, in a Santino Hassell novel, the setting is another character, New York is larger than life and utterly central to everything which takes place in this romance. The Puerto Rican background for Raymond, David’s Connecticut childhood, these things are as integral to their pairing as the stupendously hot sex they have as Ray looks to explore the male side of his bisexuality.

I also love “real” and Santino is one of those authors who brings it every time. David’s fears that Ray’s bisexuality is a phase and he’ll ditch him are grounded in truths often expressed not only in literature but in “real life”. There’s angst in this one, but thankfully nowhere near the level of Ray’s brother Michael’s story and it works well with this lower level of tension.

They are flawed men, they’re not caricatures but fully fleshed out with all the frailties of humanity. Ray can’t manage to tell David how he feels, David’s scared he’s not enough and in the background are the rest of the Five Boroughs characters, intertwined and interconnected through everyone’s lives.

This is a well earned and well worked for happy ending and it’s beautiful.

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