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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Audio Release: BFF by Devon McCormack / Narrated by Michael Pauley

OWN BFF ON AUDIO TODAY

Devon McCormack’s latest gay romance novel is now available on audiobook! Narrated by Michael Pauley.
38312560

BFF: BEST FRIEND’S FATHER

Blurb

JESSE:A beach vacay with my best bud since college seems like the perfect opportunity to relax, catch some rays, and enjoy a couple of nights on the town. When I find a girl who’s eager to mess around with me, I figure I’ve got it made.

Then I meet the intense, hot-as-hell, tattooed Eric Westright, who wrecks my world…in the best possible way.

He awakens something within me-something that’s always been here, but that’s never pulled so powerfully…not until I looked into those solemn blue eyes and felt the red-hot spark of his touch.

There’s something about this chemistry that’s so intoxicating, and the more I get to know him, the harder it becomes for me to resist these impulses that overtake me-that leave me wanting him to show me what it feels like to have a man inside me.

I know he’s fighting too. It’s so wrong, but every kiss, every caress, every stroke feels so right. We shouldn’t act on these urges, but we can’t help ourselves.

First he claims my body, then he claims my heart.

And before I know it, I’m in too deep with my best friend’s father…

*BFF is a steamy romance, but one of the main characters has a painful past that may act as a trigger for some people. Readers are invited to check out the complete trigger warning on the copyright page, which can be viewed by clicking on the “Look Inside” preview or by downloading the sample. Be advised that these triggers contain spoilers for the novel.

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Much more than just a ménage – Robbie brings many layers

Confessions ROBBIE AMAZON SBPRobbie by Ella Frank

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full review tomorrow when my Kindle isn’t in danger of exploding from the heat!

When Robbie Bianchi appeared in Ella Frank Temptations series he was one of those side characters who caught my attention and when Joel Priestley, aka Priest came onto the scene a few books later, the sparks were electric.

The UST in this book is palpable, it oozes off each page as Robbie aka the Princess, Priest and his husband Julien aka The Prick, dance around each other and deal with the obvious elephant in the room – their attraction to each other and the desire the married couple have to invite Robbie into their bed.

That the first full blown sexual encounter (there’s other equally explosive minor incidents 😉 before it) doesn’t occur until nearly 70% into the book demonstrates perfectly how much Ella has put into developing the emotional connections between these three men as well as the lust-driven ones.

I’m not going to reveal any spoilers, this book needs to be read blind to fully appreciate the level at which each man needs something from the other. It’s not just a hot menage with three sexy blokes getting their rocks off, there is deep, painful traumas at the heart of the actions of two of them.

Robbie is glorious, Julien switches between French joie de vivre but also deep depressions but Priest is the one who has my heart, he holds so many secrets close inside that his control is kept so tight he vibrates with it.

When things finally let go, the emotional outpourings made my heart pound and the sex, well, let’s just say that did it for me too *insert hot flush gif of your choice here* as the temperature rocketed.

The cover is stunning and I can’t wait now to see what delights are on the front of Confessions: Julien when it releases in May and discover just what drives this talented and tortured Frenchman.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review
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Dilemma filled romance is a delight to read

38312560BFF: Best Friend’s Father by Devon McCormack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full review to come soon.

Righty, here we go. This book is pure Devon McCormack, so if you don’t like steaming hot men getting into it all over the place, while offering up a light angsty narrative with a bit of an open ending, this book isn’t for you.

If, however, you like age gaps, MCs who do their best to avoid falling for each other because they don’t want to hurt someone else, who have an emotional connection which jumps off the page and who burn up the sheets like the world is about to end, you’ll love this.

Jesse and Eric are a brilliant pair, they complement each other perfectly, Eric’s age and experience acting as a guide to Jesse’s younger but no less mature spirit.

Their mutual attraction isn’t straightforward though, Eric’s son Ty is Jesse’s best friend and his relationship with his dad isn’t the best. I loved that there was genuine, honest conflict in this book over their feelings for each other and for Ty.

Neither man has had it easy, Jesse growing up in foster homes, Eric with a mostly absentee father and an incident in his teenage years which has coloured his life ever since.

But there is a genuine connection between them, it’s not just lust, although there’s a healthy dose of that too and some seriously sexy scenes when they finally give in to the passion.

This isn’t a 5* read for me simply because of the end, where the reader is left with a strong HFN but with added complications which will be continued. It’s not a cliffhanger as such, but it did make me curse a bit 😉

As an aside:

The cover is ex Rugby League international Stuart Reardon, who has carved out a successful post playing career as a model and fitness expert.

As I knew him when I covered the game as a journalist when he was just starting out in his early 20s – with shaven head and attitude – it always gives me a bit of a chuckle to see him now as a major sex symbol.

In this book though, he’s a perfect representation for Eric and it’s great to see him doing so well outside of the sport he had success in.

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

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Brilliant exploration of the “end” of a relationship – with a twist

The Distance Between Us (Wilde's Book 2)The Distance Between Us by L.A. Witt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5*

This book is beyond hot, the menage scenes are amazing, but even more than the sex, this book is about emotions.

The pain and hurt, the past memories, the longing, are all tied together so tightly that you can physically feel the pull when all this threads start unravelling.

There’s so much more than just the physical in this narrative. It’s an out two men who’d forgotten how to communicate finding their voices again through a most unorthodox method.

Each one has moments where they’re on the edge, but the only voice we clearly hear the inner thoughts of is that of Rhett. But that doesn’t mean the reader is left blind at how both Ethan and Kieran feel.

The plot is skilfully woven to allow all their emotions to surface and its all carefully pulled back together with a HEA which is as much deserved as it is hard won.

This is another retro release from Lori and I loved it.

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

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Lane Hayes makes my day better and so did this book!

A Way with YouA Way with You by Lane Hayes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lane Hayes is the caramel syrup in my macchiato, the jam and cream on my scone, the icing on the cake (which I don’t eat but I know she loves), basically she just makes my day better.

This is book two in her addition to Felice Stevens’ Memories With the Breakfast Club Kindle Worlds series and features Remy’s brother Reeve. It’s tagged as an office romance but there’s a neat twist which makes it so much more.

I think I loved Reeve and Leo even more than I’d fallen for Remy and Tony in the first one. In this there’s no need for hiding anything other than insecurities but each man finds courage in the other to put down tentative roots which only get stronger.

The sex is well hot, these two just can’t keep their hands off once their relationship changes and there’s plenty of emotions on display. I loved Leo’s hidden vulnerability, Reeve’s was all on the surface and every so often it would explode. There’s a fair few funny bits in this one as well.

For a short story, there’s a heck of a lot of depth and development and I loved seeing the relationship deepen.

Gorgeous covers on both books too.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Kindle Worlds is currently only available in the US.

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Intelligent and emotional love story is out of the ordinary

A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White CoatA Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat by Roe Horvat

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Right at the laptop now so this book. I’m not sure really what I want to say about it because – on the face of it – there’s no one real single point of focus. It’s a story which needs to be read to be experienced.

Not everyone is going to like it. I suspect it may be a marmite book because I honestly don’t think you could be indifferent to it. It stirs passions. At times Simon infuriated me so much I could hardly think, at others I just wanted to pour all my love into his heart and stop him hurting.

This is also a very European book. It oozes out of every word. This is Prague in all her ancient and medieval glory, a city of contrasts, a city where a father could be a threatening violent alcoholic and it would pass under the water.

It’s also a book about words, about emotions, about how the mind works. It’s a book which touches on the life of one of my favourite poets Arthur Rimbaud and his crazy life with fellow poet Paul Verlaine and includes lines from one of my absolute favourite pieces of poetry A Season in Hell


Once, if I remember rightly, my life was a feast where all hearts opened, and all wines flowed.
One evening I sat Beauty on my knees – And I found her bitter – And I reviled her.

(Find out more about him here.)

Rimbaud’s relationship with Verlaine mirrors how Simon sees his with his young student Matej Chrs. He is left in limbo, all colour leached out of the world, relying only on his strength of will not to crumble.

Oh, I could go on about the symbolism, the beautiful use of words and imagery, I could tell you about how Simon slowly, oh so slowly, changed in my perception from a cold, locked off shell of a man into one who I just wanted to put in bubble wrap and protect from the ravages of his own staggering intellect.

And Matej. He’s almost an enigma. For much of the book we only have Simon’s remembrances and recollections. He seems flighty, willing to turn loose and perhaps unwittingly, inflict pain on those he professes to love the most.
But he’s so much more than that and when he returns to the narrative in his own right, all the colours come flooding back, including the angry ones.

Roe Horvat is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. Their use of the English language to evoke emotions and inspire feelings really is genius.

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

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