Needs its own heat rating – seriously packs a sexy punch

Wheels Up (Out of Uniform, #4)Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book needs to come with a heat warning. And an ice pack, probably a fan and definitely should be enjoyed somewhere the reader can artfully swoon because it is – without any shadow of doubt – the sexiest and downright kinkiest of the series.

Ben and Maddox remain my favourite pair but Dustin and Wes are approaching the top quickly in their bid to win my affections as best Out of Uniform couple yet.

This book had everything, kinky scenes which bucked the stereotypes, steamy and emotional sex, actual angst caused by real conflict and situations not just for plot points, the detailed military elements I’ve come to expect from this series and, finally, an ending which leaves you sighing at the beauty of a loving relationship overcoming all obstacles.

Bravo Annabeth, this one is gorgeous – just like the scorching hot cover.

#ARC received from Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Potential trigger issues but I didn’t find it dark

Dark & Dazzling (Sassy Boyz, #2)Dark & Dazzling by Elizabeth Varlet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one more than book one. I’m not sure just what it was, but I had more sympathy for Z than I had had with Ansel, even though most of Z’s problems were caused by his own pride.

I loved Connelly though, even if he was a bit of an idiot to not tell Azariah that he’d paid his back rent for him. His whole character was unapologetically caring and he tried to do his best all the time.

I wouldn’t say this one was particularly dark though, there’s two scenes people have highlighted as being potential issues but I felt neither hit the non con status even if one was a little bit icky and the other was filled with angry emotions.

Either way, there’s some hot sex, some angst, some dramady and a nice lot of groveling to wrap things up.

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Just my cup of tea

Rule BreakerRule Breaker by Lily Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh this book suited me perfectly, the right amount of banter, a British bite of sarcasm and humour, insanely hot sex, a broken man who finds his way and another who provided the port in a storm.

Gabe, tormented and broken Gabe, I’ve had my own version of you, a man afraid to let go of his heart, afraid of love because of the pain it can bring with it.

He was an utter arse at times but I understood him completely, he was frightened of his feelings for Dylan and couldn’t take the risk of being abandoned so he fought back with his whole arsenal of emotional weapons.

And there’s no one can hurt you as much as the person you’re in love with. I ached for Dylan, but he didn’t sit passively by when pushed, he hit back too, using the knowledge he’d built up to stab Gabe where it would hurt the hardest – into the fragile part of his feelings he’d slowly been letting out.

The scenes in Devon at Dylan’s parent’s farm were among my favourites. The contrast between the family’s acceptance of Gabe, his own awakened feelings which allowed him to just let go, and the explosively hot Fleshjack edging sexual encounter was perfect.
And gawd, the sexual chemistry between these two men hit volcanic status, it oozed off the pages alongside the tensions and the emotions.


His shirt is hanging off one shoulder, the arm seam ripped where I’d fisted it, and his trousers are round his ankles. I’m stark, bollock naked apart from one black sock. We’re both covered in sweat and come and breathing heavily.

I know other reviewers have described the relationship between them as toxic but I don’t think it was as straightforward as that. Gabe never hid from Dylan that he couldn’t do real, that it would only ever be sex. But Lily Morton did brilliantly to show the reader, through only Dylan’s POV, that he was fighting more than just sex, that feelings and emotions were involved whether Gabe wanted them to be there or not.

Dylan knew what he was doing when he got into bed with Gabe and he managed to run with it for quite a while, hoping there’d be a change in circumstances as anyone in love would do. It wasn’t until Gabe started shutting himself off – and the Valentine’s Day incident – that he took a stand.

I understood why he reacted as he did, it was a natural consequence of being pushed away too far. I loved how Jude and Henry, best friends of the two men, saw what was really going on and started their plotting, knowing Dylan and Gabe really did need each other.

For me, there was enough groveling and genuine expressions of remorse to enable the narrative to come together for the ending. The epilogue was all ends up awesome too.

I’d love to read more about Jude and Henry too. I would say though, that the setting itself, outside of the sarcastic banter, didn’t really have a huge British feel to it. The odd words threw me, elevator instead of lift, intern instead of apprentice or trainee (as has been my own work experience) but whisky was spelt right 🙂

Also major kudos goes to Lily for including Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes as the tune which reminded Gabe of Dylan. It’s one of the most beautiful songs in the world imho.

Watch the Say Anything moment here

Make sure to grab the free short from Lily’s website of what happens next, it’s awesome.

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Great improvement over book one in this new series

The Garden (Lavender Shores, #2)The Garden by Rosalind Abel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was a lot less cheese in this one than the first in the series and a whole lot more down and dirty sexy times.

Both Walden and Gilbert had huge amounts of baggage but together they managed to even out the doubts and fears of past mistakes to make some seriously hot and steamy encounters mean more than just a hook up.

I liked how, while it was another super fast relationship, the ground work of good communication and honesty with each other was firmly planted as they realised there was more than just the sex drawing them together.

This is a really cool setting, I liked the world building in the first book, and we get more of that here which helps ground the story in its coastal quirky California home.

It was also nice to see Andrew and Joel being happy and to catch up with the res t of the crazy inhabitants of Lavender Shores.

The teaser of book three looks like it’s going to be even better and a pairing which hadn’t event popped my radar!

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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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