A gift to all fans of RJ Scott’s Texas series

Texas Gift (Texas #8)Texas Gift by R.J. Scott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very lucky to not only have the pleasure of proofing this one but also to receive an #ARC from RJ and it’s a real pleasure to review this one.

As anyone following my news feed a month or so ago will be aware, I had never read the Texas series until then and I binge devoured this Dallasty saga in all its soap like glory over a period of a few days.

When we left Riley and Jack, they were happily settled on their ranch with 10 years of marriage behind them and their four kids, surrounded by associated family, friends and the young people they were helping make better lives for themselves.

In this one, we pick up with Hayley heading off for college and it was so lovely to catch up with this bunch. The story covers a long period, it offers up a few shocks and surprises and a few inevitable outcomes which are happily welcome.

Throughout it all though, the love which anchors Jack and Riley together is only strengthened by the trials they have to pass through and the result is a book which takes the story of the Double D Ranch and lays down a solid foundation for this whole saga to go into the future together. This is another wonderful Happy Ever After to add to the Texas series.

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The one I’d been waiting for!

The Hideaway (Lavender Shores Book 5)The Hideaway by Rosalind Abel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best one yet easily for me. I’d been waiting for Connor and Micah’s story since this series started and I first read the hints on the author’s website that there might be more between this pair than just brothers (not blood brothers so stop panicking!)

It was certainly worth the effort wait, although I’d have loved to read it earlier in the series, it really did work best as the final one in this first block of five stories from Brandon Witt’s alter ego.

There were times when I wanted to give Connor a shake and tell him to get over himself and I really truly wanted to punch Gilbert at one point because of his reaction, but overall I think the situation was very well handled.

Micah’s little hideaway was a perfect location for a lot of the most emotional scenes in the book and, as ever, Rosalind’s light touch gave the narrative credibility.

The angsty was also believable and the epilogue was fantastic so this one gets a thumbs up there as well. Now I want to know why Seth hates Charlie so much and if Adrian and the red headed bookstore owner get their own Ore.

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Simply brilliant world building

Slow HeatSlow Heat by Leta Blake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so far beyond hot it goes off the supernova scale. The opening paragraph alone is enough to set off a hot flush.

But, it’s also so much more than just the sex, there is world building of such a clever degree that it’s easy to believe this could be a reality some time in our future.

In this Alpha/beta/omega world there are no more females of the Human species and an event horizon level disaster fused man’s genetics with those of the wolf. There are mPREGnancies, usually something which isn’t a favourite of mine as it normally gets fade to black-ed or happens off page without any “biological” explanation of just HOW!
Not in this book, Leta gives a rational explanation which isn’t just random theory, I could see humankind developing to make it possible.

Lots of elements of this book reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale although – unlike that book which I absolutely hated (sorry feminists and fellow women) – I absolutely loved this one.

Jason and Vale were fully realised characters, totally believable within this world of alphas, betas and omegas and they were surrounded by a cast of absolutely compelling secondary characters, religion and history.

This book made me think as much as it gave me a hot flush. This isn’t our world but it mirrors elements of it. There are moments of intense passion, intense pain, emotional connections and true friendships.

I understand some readers have been concerned about something which happens with Jason and his friend Xan but I have to say it didn’t bother me. It fit into the context of what was happening once Jason met Vale and their Erosgape (basically a biological desire to imprint which develops into a soul mate bond over time) kicked in.

It was drawing an end to Jason’s life before Vale, he was saying there would be no more “comfort fucks” for Xan because he’d met his life partner, even if they knew absolutely nothing about each other at this point.
I didn’t think it was cheating but I can see why others might consider it as it came after Jason met Vale and got the “instalove” but – for me anyway – before they’d had any time to develop a relationship at all. It was Jason’s way of closing the door on his youthful impulses and fun times with Xan.

This is a fascinating world with its omegaverse but non-shifters and I hope it’s the start of a new series because i want to know that Xan is safe and gets his HEA. Oh and the cover – smoking!

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Just as good as the first one

After the Fire (Through Hell and Back Book 2)After the Fire by Felice Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the first book I got teary at what happened to one of the secondary characters. This book continues on that story as Jordan has to come to terms with his loss.

I loved as well how Felice brought Lucas in to the story and back into Ash’s life without it feeling like just a plot device, it worked well within the narrative.

This one is angsty, but it’s a different kind to the first book. Here there’s more to do with grief and loss, anger and pain, a sense of hopelessness than the relationship driven dramas of Drew and Ash.

Jordan and Lucas’ dramas came more from what was happening around them as they tried to move on, although there were relationship hiccups too.

I liked that they were quick to anger but also quick to reconcile, they talked and they sought expert help when the sh*t hit the fan.

In bed they were dynamite, I loved how Jordan slowly realised he could love Lucas without the guilt and how Lucas realised he could depend on Jordan in spite of his mistakes.

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The epilogue to this book made me cry

Red Dirt Heart 4 (Red Dirt Series)Red Dirt Heart 4 by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m going to miss Travis and Charlie so much. It’s been like reading about a bunch of friends who you’ve taken into your heart and you get a yearly bulletin of all that’s gone on since you saw them last.

This book is Travis speaking for the first time and I loved we got to see Charlie and Sutton Station, and the family, through his eyes. The time jumps worked well too, even as I wished we weren’t watching them all get older.

I like to think that Suttton Station is out there in the heart of the Australian Outback, where a young woman with hair the colour of the dirt on which it stands is leading a young man a merry dance while two farmers, with twinkles in their eyes, watch from a covered porch, a wombat curled up at their feet.

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Five perfect red dirt heart stars

Red Dirt Heart 3 (Red Dirt Heart Series)Red Dirt Heart 3 by N.R. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is utter perfection, rounding out Charlie and Travis’ relationship after a year of trials, tribulations and tears.

Lots of things happen in this book but, at the heart of it is a story about love, about people, about finding a family no matter where you are and making a home.

Scene stealing from one wombat and a dozen imaginatively named calves just helps to bring the smiles and the feel good factor.

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Not bad for a debut novel

Don't Walk Away (Walking Strong Book #1)Don’t Walk Away by Ollie Sparks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one probably needed on more beta read or another run through editing as there were some odd uses of punctuation and a few grammar and tense mix ups, as well as the wrong character name being used during a conversation.

Setting those points aside, this had the makings of a great story and, for the most part, it lived up to them. The second chance trope is a flexible one which also allows an author to throw in other plot twists and in this we also have an element of former friends turned enemies reconnecting.

Dialogue was at times clumsy, but overall it was a good couple of hours of time reading a sweet romance.

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