Tag Archives: Boston setting

A nice low angst & sweet romance kicks off this new ice hockey series

Top Shelf CoverTop Shelf by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is the first in a new ice hockey series from RJ and V.L. looking at the Boston team that Ten’s brother Brady is the Captain at.

It’s a good intro, following on from a short freebie that has been serialised in RJ’s newsletter, to the series and establishes all the LGBTQ+ characters that I suspect we’ll be getting novels about at some point in the future.

The main focus of the book is Xander and Mason’s relationship and it’s a really lovely romance with absolutely zero angst or drama really outside of the wider implications of Xander’s coming out as a bisexual ice hockey player.

Both have been in love with the other for years, they’ve essentially grown up together as Mason’s older brother Eli took care of him after their parent’s death and Xander’s family were neighbours. Eli and Xander are best friends, heading off to join the NHL together playing for the Boston Rebels.

Apart from Eli’s original reaction when he discovers they’re together, there’s pretty much no tension involved in their relationship which makes it a nice easy read, but also means there’s not really much changes in the pacing either.

The couple of smexy times we get in detail are really sweet and loving, Mason and Xander respect each other and they work at making the other happy, they’re passionate and talk a lot about their future and what they hope for.

My main reason for not giving it a higher rating is that it seemed to end really abruptly without one of the plot threads which had been ongoing throughout being concluded. That’s not to say it’s a cliffhanger, it isn’t, the plotline is only a side one involving the ice hockey team and nothing to do with Xander and Mason’s relationship.

But it just sort of stopped after a big discussion about it. I am assuming it will be a plotline that’s picked up in future books in the series but it did leave me shaking my head a bit.

There’s a great bunch of secondary characters and we get a brief catch up with Ten and the other Rowe brother Jamie which ties back in to the https://www.goodreads.com/series/1978… series.

I’m hopeful this is going to be another cracking entry to RJ and V.L.’s lexicon of interrelated ice hockey romances.

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

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Release Blitz: Nothing But Good by Kess McKinley

Nothing But Good | Kess McKinley


Release Date: May 18th, 2021

Publisher: Blind Eye Books

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzeoqq

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57489174-nothing-but-good


Hi-res cover


Special Agent Jefferson Haines puts the ‘order’ in law and order. Meal kits. Gray suits. Consistent reps at the gym. But all his routines are thrown into chaos when he’s called in to catch a serial killer whose M.O. is the stuff of urban legend: the Smiley Face Killer.

Dripping paint. Wicked slashes for eyes. The taunting curl of a smiling mouth. After years evading capture, the serial killer is back again. As Jefferson races to stop the next attack, the investigation leads to the one man he thought he’d never see again, Fred ‘Finny’ Ashley.

Finny has his own theories about the killer. And they’re pretty good. Maybe too good. Now, with his career on the line, Jefferson has to figure out if his one-time best friend is the culprit or the next victim.


About The Author

KM Author Image

Kess is a Southerner at heart living in New England. Her debut novel, Nothing But Good is inspired in part by a cult legend in Boston and several other northern US cities about a serial killer who leaves a smiley face drawing by his victims’ bodies.

She loves reading slow burn, romantic suspense, and sports romance. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hiking or enjoying a fine glass of wine.

Social Media

Website: https://kessmckinley.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kessmckinley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kess.mckinley


Seriously impressive debut novel from Kess McKinley

Hi-res coverNothing but Good by Kess McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a seriously impressive debut novel, especially for a romantic suspense story.

The pacing is excellent, the two characters at the centre of the romance element are brilliantly presented.

Their broken friendship from almost a decade earlier hangs just as large as the serial killer’s bold moves.

It’s not obvious who the bad guy guy is until the reveal is almost upon you, but once that secret is out, you can see the clues from earlier in the book.

I loved Jefferson’s FBI partnership, the personal friendship with Cee was a solid one and I liked that she was a strong, take no prisoners kinda gal.

The romance takes a bit of a backseat to the suspense plot but it’s still an important part of the narrative.

However, it’s relatively low steam, which was a little disappointing after they’d worked out the awfulness of their falling out back in college.

Still, I very much enjoyed the book and I look forward to more from Kess.

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

View all my reviews

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