Tag Archives: emotional

Emotionally charged romance

ScarredScarred by Mia Kerick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An emotionally charged and incredibly powerful book about survival and finding a new normal, Scarred deals with serious issues with sensitivity and empathy.

Both Matt and Vedie are complex characters with fully fleshed out personalities who somehow manage to find the key to unlocking the other.

The plot moves along at a well-paced speed, giving time for the reader to absorb each of the many layers being explored in the narrative.

It’s not an easy read and I’m not sure I can honestly say I “enjoyed” it in the same way as I would a more traditional romance, but it is a beautiful love story all the same.

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

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Brilliantly detailed spy adventure still keeps the romance alive

Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads, #4)Playing in the Dark by Avery Cockburn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review is spoilery but the short story Avery just released let the cat out of the bag already so.

Wow, just wow. I’ve been waiting for Evan’s story ever since he sent the Captain’s armband and a note saying he was running off to Belgium with his lover and broke Fergus’ heart.

I knew there had to be more to it, running off to Belgium just sounded like it had to be an excuse, not that there’s anything wrong with Belgium, but it’s not the first place you think of when it comes to illicit affairs.

Avery dropped other hints here and there throughout the series that there was more to Evan than him being a callous heartbreaker and I remember mentioning somewhere that I bet he was in MI5.

Now I was joking really when I said it, I honestly was expecting some kind of twist, undercover police or special forces perhaps, rather than the UK secret service.

But with this wonderful narrative, it makes perfect sense and my heart broke for Evan so many times. This is a love story, it is a romance, but it’s like all of the Glasgow Lads series – it’s laced through with so much more.

Set back in 2015 there’s a whole host of things going on here in the UK which are reflected in this book and Evan’s dedication to his country is given the weight it deserves.

I loved Ben, I was fascinated by the background Avery gave him and the insights into a faith I’d only heard about in passing. I loved his passion, his innate sense of justice, his quirks and his growing confidence in himself and his relationship with Evan.

All of this book made me happy, but the scenes in Orkney were among my favourites, where Evan could let go and be the Evan he might have been in a different lifetime.

A triumphant closure, if it is the last of the Lads I think they’ve gone out on a positive note.

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A powerful tale about the importance of touch

CoverWireless by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a little bit different than my usual read from this author but no less enjoyable.

Thought provoking and somewhat disturbing, as this kind of reality isn’t too hard to imagine in a dystopian future where the Government controls everything, including reproduction.

Keith and Aiden were a fascinating pair and their relationship followed the same path as any pair of lovers, even with all the added complications which came with a world where touch is considered a crime.

The plot was tight and carried its hint of danger well and I was terrified half the time they were able to be together that they’d either get caught or the building would collapse on them!

Loved the ending too, a HFN given the circumstances but one which carried such hope and love.

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Ella Frank’s stunning series continues with this insight into “the Prick”

Confessions JULIEN AMAZON copy
Julien
by Ella Frank

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Things start to get a little bit more complicated as Ella Frank explores more of the dynamic which makes up the enigmatic French-American chef Julien Thornton.

This series is way more than just the menage aspect of it, though. Each one of the three men involved in this relationship brings something the other two needs and that is never more obvious than in this middle book of the trilogy.

Julien is hiding demons and, as the time approaches closer to his beloved twin sister’s death, it becomes clear there’s something very wrong with the usually gregarious man and Priest is worried.

Robbie can go some way to helping relieve the strain. And oh boy do they go! This book ups the sex quotient ante a thousandfold and includes a scene which blows the roof off (which I won’t spoil because it needs to be appreciated without warning).

The intricate emotional weaving together of these three men becomes even more obvious here and it’s never more needed than when they return to Julien’s home town of LA where Robbie finally learns about the ghosts in his lover’s past.

There’s a cliffhanger ending in this one, although Robbie’s integration fully into Julien and Priest’s life is completed here, and it involves the most enigmatic of all – Joel Priestley, Priest, the lawyer who on the surface, is controlled and unflappable.

I can’t wait!

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

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A scared baseball star and a chef come together in this romance

Catch Me (Kitchen Gods #2)Catch Me by Beth Bolden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this one even more than book one in the series as its way less angsty and has more of a gentleness to the romance even with all the heat!

Also, it’s a sports romance and they have a special place in my heart because I live for the day when someone’s sexuality has no bearing on their ability to be a great athlete.

Beth also snuck in a couple more potential new subjects for future books as I’m hoping that Chef Bastard and Kian will be next but then there’s still Xander and now I want Wyatt’s brother Tony’s story too!

Fake boyfriends is also another favourite trope and this one’s a doozy as both men fall head over heels but don’t want the other to know in case it messes up the agreement to pretend.

Seriously hot, there’s plenty of chemistry between the two but it takes a dramatic moment to pull their heads out of their backsides.

I also thought the B plot with Wyatt’s Nana’s Alzheimer’s was handled well too, although I am left with questions as to what happened with their other brother, who sort of vanished out of the narrative!

Overall, a great second book in this series.

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

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A stunningly perfect ending to a brilliant series from Hailey Turner

stars
40043784In the Requiem by Hailey Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All the stars – see them, all of them and then some. I want to give this book more than just the five stars here because it couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to this series if it tried.

Any book which gives me both a hot flush (and oh boy, the encounters in this one are especially volcanic) and can turn me into an emotionally wrecked, limp as a tea towel pathetic mess, almost sobbing while raging at the author at the same time, is more than a win in my book.

Stories, and series’ like this one, are why I read. They take me out of the everyday mundane normality into a world where it’s completely believable that a member of the British Royal Family could be a secret metahuman ex-SAS operative, where people can not only fly, but where they can phase themselves out of synch with their surroundings and be practically invulnerable.

They’re believable not only because of the incredible level of world building and scene setting which has gone into them, but because I want it to be real – minus the evul Russian bravtva and unhinged terrorist groups that is! I want there to be a team of superhumans all supporting themselves, their friends and their country.

You won’t find any plot details or spoilers in this review, In the Requiem requires complete story ignorance and even then, it’s still an adrenaline filled ride which answers all the questions I had left for Alpha Team, their families and friends.

Except for one. Hailey please tell me we’re going to get Liam Wessex’s full story at some point 🙂

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

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So many layers to this beautiful – and at times bleak – romance

Whisper (Skins, #2)Whisper by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full review in the morning, well the later morning when it’s not 2.17am!

Right, here we go. This book is pure Garrett Leigh. It’s all about finding love in unexpected places, it’s about overcoming the odds, it’s about hope, it’s about never giving in and never stopping fighting. It’s about Harry and Joe.

Harry is Rhys’ brother from Dream (if you’ve not read that yet, why not?!) and he’s floundering. While on the surface he’s successful with his Instagram blog, his physio and private clients, his book deal, inside he’s lost and hurting.

He sees the love between his client, and now friend Angelo, and his partner Dylan – both guys are hot but he’s not into threesomes – and he’s envious but unsure of what exactly he’s jealous of – the sex or the closeness and love the men have found.

Harry’s also struggling with his own mental health. He’s great at giving advice but not so hot at following it himself and he’s starting to drown under the stress.

When he’s given the chance to go on a sabbatical at a Cornish farm he’s still not 100% with the programme but goes anyway. What he finds is something completely unexpected – Joe.

And oh boy is Joe something! Hot-headed and quick to fly off the handle, struggling to keep the farm going, not dealing with anything that isn’t the day to day care of his rescue horses (and other associated menagerie) and put out by the thought of some bloke sleeping in his much loved and dead granddad’s bedroom.

This is a slow, slow, burn. There’s clearly an attraction but there’s just so much other stuff going on in both men’s heads that they really can’t get a minute to breathe. Garrett amps up the tension slowly, with external pressures of money, Joe’s deadbeat dad’s antics, the in-built prejudice that a Roma family has to deal with, his sister Emma’s agoraphobia, too many horses needing rescuing and nowhere to put them, and Harry’s increasing panic that he’s not going to be able to write the book about wellness and mental health when his own is tanking.

I was totally on edge, in a good way, while I was reading this story, the time just flew by and before I knew it, almost 2/3rds of the book had gone past before Harry and Joe finally get it together and let’s just say, when they do, all bets are off and it’s a gorgeously written scene of acceptance and emotions and just finding that space to breathe.

This romance isn’t as erotic as Skins #1 was but it never suffers for it. Harry and Joe connect on so many levels that the physical is just one outward manifestation of that. That’s not to say the sex between them isn’t smoking hot either, because it is, but it’s intimate, it’s small and between just the two of them.

There’s a lovely surprise guest appearance in this book from Dex, whose story is told in Heart and it was so great to see him and Seb still going strong and there’s such a strong sense of family in this narrative. The secondary cast of characters fully complement the story being told and are unique and bring their own selves to life.

As with every Garrett Leigh book, there’s great research, this time around the Roma/Gypsy heritage and lifestyle and it shows in the authentic feel to each character in this extended family. The cover, as always given Garrett’s talents as a cover artist herself, is sublime and the strength depicted in Harry is perfectly mirrored in his actions as he finds a place for himself alongside Joe and the mixed up crazy that is Whisper Farm.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. The fangirling, as will ever be the case with this author, is all my own work and I’m not a bit ashamed of it.

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