I love it when a shifter story offers something new

Off the Beaten PathOff the Beaten Path by Cari Z.

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I loved this shifter paranormal from Cari Z. It’s hard to come up with a new approach to a werewolf based narrative but this one did that.

The idea of werewolves being created via a military experiment gone wrong wasn’t new, but the secrecy and use of the pack Alpha’s as black ops was different and it worked well.

There’s great world building and lots of layers to this story, which is light on the steam and has a slow burn but quite intense romance at its heart.

Ward was such an amazing character, his determination and dedication to his young daughter was admirable and I loved how he was willing to put himself in danger for her.

Henry was a complex character too, struggling with the expectations of being alpha while dealing with what was very likely a strong case of PTSD because of the missions he’d been forced into.

There’s a good, solid set of secondary characters too and I’m hoping we’re getting a book two with Dr Tennyson and Davis as a pairing.

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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The length of this one had me struggling to finish

Worth The Risk (Infinity Series, #1)Worth The Risk by C.J. Lynne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really struggled to finish this book and part of the problem was that it just went on too long without anything happening other than the two MCs having sex.

And not just any sex, it was always explosive, unforgiving, relentless, pounding and heart thumping with declarations of love every other page.

There’s not really a central plot outside of the relationship between them, apart from when Ty’s ex randomly shows up out of nowhere and there’s a brief threat when the university Dean tries to break them up.

Now, I love books which have scorching sex scenes but even I was skim reading towards the end as they were getting down and dirty almost every other page.

However, having said all of the above, this is well written without many of the errors and typos which can sneak in with a first person present tense narrative and I liked both Ty and Jax’s characters. Each man was well developed and uniquely their own.

The setting is nicely drawn and there’s an interesting bunch of secondary characters. If this book had been a quarter shorter, it’d be approaching a 5* review from me but I just got tired of reading the same things from both POVs.

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

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Lots of positives in this debut read from a new to me author

Our Stage (Weldstone Harbor, #1)Our Stage by James T. Prince

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

3.75*

I have lots of thoughts about this book, most are positive and I enjoyed reading a new author who clearly has a lot of talent.

I do have a couple of negatives, the main one being that, for me, the book went on too long without the narrative justifying it.

There was a fair bit of repetition about David’s anxieties and what he was feeling (and while it’s never said, I think it’s fairly clear he’s either demisexual or gray ace) and Louis’ inability to clearly state his feelings left me a bit frustrated at times.

Also, the big misunderstanding element, in this case a missing letter, was a neat way to bring tension but when combined with all the other angsty things which were going on, again just felt a bit forced.

But the positives did make up for these two issues which will probably not be a big deal to other readers. The writing style is nice and clean, the setting is very well described and brought to life, the secondary plot was handled well and with a lot of sensitivity, and David and Louis were both uniquely fascinating in their own right.

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

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Aimee’s best book yet in my opinion – a beautiful romance

Second WindSecond Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aimee Nicole has outdone herself with this one imho. It’s a glorious second chance romance between two older MCs who never forgot each other.

The phrasing of the narrative cleverly covers a period of more than two decades but without relying only on straight up flashbacks but also through contrasting the here and now with events in their teenage years.

There is little angst in this, other than in the events of the past, and I loved that the secondary cast of characters were also strongly fleshed out and acted in a believable fashion.

Lincoln’s ex wife and kids were great, helping to cut down on the need for unnecessary plotting to drive the narrative. There didn’t necessarily need to be any tension and I was very glad Aimee didn’t use the ex wife etc to create it purely for plot points.

Once these two men bumped into each other and fate gave them their second chance, they both went for it at full tilt and the book benefited from it.

Now, that’s not to say there weren’t tensions, there were and, again, they came from realistic fears and worries on the part of both Rush and Lincoln. But they felt organic to the story and there were conversations about them instead of miscommunication!

I really loved this one, the sex scenes are hot but even hotter is the pure love which radiates out from Rush and Lincoln.

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

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Gorgeous second chance romance

Still Your GuyStill Your Guy by Devon McCormack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes you meet ‘the one’ when you’re young and you don’t know any different and you think the world will always be laid out in front of you.

Then life conspires and sometimes it twists along the way and you lose ‘the one’ and you’re not sure your heart will ever recover. And then, if you’re one of those gifted by fate, sometimes ‘the one’ comes back and you get another chance.

This book has an occasional splutter, when perhaps the language doesn’t match up to the emotions being expressed, but otherwise it’s a gorgeous journey with two men who lost their hearts as boys growing up together.

There’s a great set of secondary characters and the world building creates a location which is as strong a character as the people.

As this is a Devon McCormack story, there’s plenty of smexy times, but it’s also emotionally connected as well as smoking hot, there is a deep aching love between Mason and Chase which seeps from the pages and wraps itself around the reader.

Stunning Jay Aheer cover too.

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