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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Not quite as much mayhem for this pair

No Matter What: Coffin Nails MC (Sex & Mayhem, #4)No Matter What: Coffin Nails MC by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one’s an odd one out in the series so far as it has an almost sweet note to it. I say almost because hey, this is a book about bikers and their violent ways, but Ghost and Luca are much more gentle characters.

There’s an interesting cameo from Guns ‘n Boys big nasty Frederico Villani in this one too which adds a bit of background to what’s been going on with Dom and Seth in that series.

You could still read this book if you haven’t read G&B though as the story is self contained. Tooth and Luci, now going by Lucky, are in this one a bit too but, again, not enough that you’d need to have read their story.

I didn’t like this one as much as the previous but it’s still a seriously good headrush through the world of the Coffin Nails.
Now, when do we get Grim’s story?!

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Gut wrenching but also full of hope

Falling DownFalling Down by Eli Easton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second of the books I’ve had on my Kindle for ages which I knew was going to be a tough read because of the subject matter.

However, it’s not quite as bleak as Weight of the World and for a lot of the book, it’s a fairly traditional romance setting. Easton handles the themes of suicide and depression with a gentle touch and the voice of Josh’s mum was a clever way to allow the reader into his thoughts without loads of exposition.

I loved Mrs. Fisher, the elderly lady whose house Mark and Josh were painting, she brought a gentleness to the story and was a well fleshed out secondary character who perhaps, through her own loneliness because of her children living so far away, gained a sort of substitute family with the two men and provided Josh with a grandmotherly unconditional affection he’d not had before.

When the big dramatic moment came, it wasn’t unexpected but it was handled well and I liked that Mark’s family came to help out, dealing with him coming out at the same time, in what I thought was a fairly reasonable way, not quite perfect with enough of an edge to feel realistic.

Josh’s hurt was real, his behaviour true to character, if heartbreakingly sad, and the build up to the ending was well paced with more than one moment which make me catch my breath. I didn’t get as teary with this one as I did with Weight of the World because throughout this book just seemed to have a bit more hope.

Ultimately there is happiness and a sure sense of new beginnings for both Josh and Mark amid the peaceful landscapes of New England.

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