Seriously sweet and totally nerdy

Perfect Game (Legendary Pairs, #1)Perfect Game by Casey Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

Holding my hand up now to owning a multitude of Magic the Gathering decks. My avatar is the .44 magnum by NeNe Thomas from the Vampire the Masquerade: Jyhad card game. I am that CCG nerd.

So this book was ace. I loved this little sneak peak into the world of pro card gaming, it’s one that’s a study in contrasts from the excitement of realising you’ve got a winning deck to soul crushing despair when you can’t get any cards out and you get your arse kicked.

Loved Neil and Robin and while things moved fast, it did work as a pairing and their little argument was both realistic and truthful. I’ve fallen out with the OH on more than one occasion over his white angelic deck.

The epilogue was super sweet and I liked that it was a big jump in the future, not just a few weeks! It lost a star for being so short but otherwise, great story with enough steam to keep things bubbling.

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My favourite – hot military men and geeks

Connection Error (#gaymers, #3)Connection Error by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My favourite of the three. I’m a sucker for military men and hurting ones in needed of finding the right person to comfort them is my kryptonite.

I also loved that the other MC in this story is someone living with ADHD, and the sympathetic and brutally truthful way Annabeth Albert deals with both these men’s disabilities makes this book a little more real but no less a romantic journey.

Sex is also dealt with with an honesty that throws the spotlight on how a profound life changing incident can make someone lose all sense of who they are and how they used to be. For Navy SEAL Ryan, it means not only facing months of rehab, but also having to find how to be a sexually active gay man again.

With some beautifully crafted scenes and a little bit of Josiah’s innate inability to cut through the bull and just say what he’s thinking, their relationship slowly grows and changes from Ryan feeling like he can’t desert the younger man who he helped out when they got stuck with a cancelled flight into a friendship which is both soothing and stimulating.

It’s difficult to pin just what made this book so good for me, there isn’t a lot of steam in it, although there are a couple of very hot sessions, but there is a real sense of a relationship slowly blossoming from a chance encounter into a partnership of equals and the lodestone on which each man is able to lean on the other.

Plus it had ridiculously cute Labrador puppy Gracie, two wonderfully sympathetic mothers and the same madcap setting and secondary characters as the first two.

Will we get Pike and Zack next perhaps?

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Emotional and sensual romance

Beta Test (#gaymers, #2)Beta Test by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tristan, how could I not fall in love with your spreadsheets, your Spartan life, your fluorescent yellow marker pen, your fear of letting go, your confusion about why Ravi attracted you so much.

And Ravi, beautiful, colourful, unashamedly out there Ravi, with your fear of complications, your rebellion against family traditions, your love of geekdom and 80s musical playlists.

With these two, Annabeth Albert proves that opposites not only can attract, but that they can find their soul mate in someone they are able to open up the deepest parts of themselves to and find only acceptance.

The sex in this one is achingly emotional, scorching hot and powerfully sensual all at once. They connect at a primeval level as they fight against their attraction to each other.

Throw in a road trip, a gaming convention, Pac-Man tattoos and the aforementioned 80s soundtrack to life ( which being a teenager in that decade I can highly recommend) and you have a joyous exploration of how finding our place in the world can be the scariest but most fulfilling adrenaline rush.

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I am a geek – these are my (gay) people

Status Update (#gaymers, #1)Status Update by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I seriously loved this. I’m a huge gamer so anyone that plays tribute to that world has a big advantage when I’m reading their books.

But there was more than just that to this story, it’s a low angst romance and, daft as it sounds given the circumstances and timeframe of it starting, it has a real slow burn feel to it, not a case of insta love.

Both the MCs are beautifully complex and fleshed out, birth have their own insecurities and fears but both see something in the other which makes them feel more stable, more willing to risk, even if it could result in losing everything.

Noah has the biggest hurdle to climb and he stumbles along the way, Adrian, while he never gives up hope, also finally realises he needs to stop offering excuses for why he only ever has long distance relationships.

Together we get virgin sex which is so tender and emotionally fulfilling without ever venturing into an outbreak of erotic porn, just one man finally allowing himself to be free to love and the perfect partner to take him on that journey.

That’s not to say they’re not hot together either, they are, but everything is done with a freshness and a care born of emotions that it’s infinitely more than just sex.

And the ending is so perfectly sweet it matches the cute cover. Oh, and there’s dogs too, big anti social Ulysses and teeny tiny Pixel, and their friendship journey is just as cute as their humans’ one.

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All my favourite things in one book

Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1)Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I’m a gamer, not only am I a gamer but I’ve been a beta tester since 2000, right when the MMORPG genre was first kicking in with EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot, and not only am I a gamer but I met both my ex husband and my now OH while gaming.

This book speaks my language, I know so many couples who met in cyberspace in an online game and went on to forge a life together and so reading about Garrett and Kai was truly real for me.

Plus the sex scenes in this book are incendiary, scorching and steamy and the level of dirty talk is just perfect, again something anyone whose ever had an online relationship knows all about.

Plus it had a military man sure of his sexuality but not much else and a gamer who found it hard to relate to the offline world.

I know these guys, I’ve gamed with these guys, I’ve seen them struggle but eventually triumph and that’s what this romance is, a triumph.

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