Tag Archives: great secondary characters

Tal delivers on this ice hockey romance with all the feels

Gravity CoverGravity by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Urm I’m not sure where to begin with this review.

It’s a Tal Bauer book, so you better believe it doesn’t follow a traditional rule for how a specific trope should be written.

It’s a Tal Bauer book, so expect surprises and an unlikely event which hinges a twist in the plotline.

It’s a Tal Bauer book, so expect a gloriously satisfying romance which might take place in a relatively short space of time but which will very much have you believing the universe conspired to bring these two young men together.

And, as it’s a Tal Bauer book, you’re going to be gasping, cursing his name, and probably reaching for a stiff drink, tissues and a box of chocolates at some point.

With Gravity though, the angst is the lowest I’ve ever read in one of his books. But when the gut punch comes, it’ll still take the wind out of your sails.

Tal gives us two young men, Bryce is 26, Hunter just 22, and a random encounter that should never have happened really given the difference in their playing circumstances.

And because Tal has such a knack for creating visuality in his books, we feel the actions, we sense the emotions, we embrace the consequences of what’s happening on page.

It’s a tough journey being an NHL player, the Stanley Cup playoffs are among the most gruelling in any sport imho and here we’re taken along for all of the punishing journey as the Montreal team strives for glory.

Even if you’re not an ice hockey fan, I guarantee the connection between the two men will have you smiling, sighing and then desperately willing them on to the happy ending they deserve.

For sports fans like me though, there’s plenty of page time given to all the on ice action Tal embeds into the narrative he’s unfolding.

I adored Bryce’s teammates, his coach and the staff, there’s a wonderful secondary character who has an important moment that I won’t spoil but I loved them too.

With the smattering of Québécois French adding to the romantic moments, this book will – like its title – pull you deep into the storytelling and won’t let go until you’re as in love with it as the two protagonists are with each other.

Bravo Tal, you really did write a low angst swoony romance 😉

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

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Enemies to lovers and then some in this new shifter series opener

61433893._SY475_Claiming Rys by Annabelle Jacobs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I have another five stars please?

This is, hands down, my favourite shifter book from Annabelle so far and, considering I’ve pretty much 5*-ed nearly all of her releases, that’s saying something.

Enemies to lovers with a second chance plotline is so hard to pull off.

If the past relationship was troublesome, why would someone want to try again? Or you might get some piddling little misunderstanding splitting a couple up.

Here we get neither. Rys and Gabriel were full on properly in love, both foolish teenagers keeping secrets.

When that situation blew up in a violent incident, it left them both reeling, Rys seething with hatred and hurt and Gabriel sorrowful and alone again.

How Annabelle then uses the investigation at the heart of this series to draw them back together and reveal hints to the reader of more than either man originally knew about the other is very clever.

The setting in and around Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park is perfect, allowing for supernatural creatures of all types to live in and around Rys’ pack.

Chuck in a gateway to the Fae world and you just know things are going to get complicated!

I’m not going into the plot itself because it works best when it’s slowly revealed as Rys and Gabriel reconnect with all their spikey feelings firmly in place.

I will say though, when they finally move beyond their past and admit all the emotions are still in place, it’s scorching hot and powerfully moving.

As all the clues to who’s behind the deaths Gabriel has been investigating with Rys’ cousin Max begin to line up, tensions rise and the connection between them brings its own dangerous risks.

In an adrenaline-packed final few chapters – although there is a series long narrative still in play – the story weaves its threads into a stunning conclusion.

There are so many amazing characters in this book, even though Rys and Gabriel are the focus, I was drawn to the others too and I can’t wait for more in the series.

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

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Felice brings two hurt hearts together in this romance

61305285._SY475_Unexpected by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That was hard work, but in a completely satisfying way rather than an annoying one.

Felice used the narrative well to show how the actions which affect us in our childhood and youth can have lasting consequences into adult life with this slow burn, and sometimes pretty angsty, romance between two more mature men.

Walker is in his 30s, his high achieving baseball career brought short by an injury, the cause of which probably had a lot to do with him being an open gay player.

This is hinted at rather than outright stated but the impression you get from Walker is that he decided to take this career changing event and turn it into a positive.

He owns a bar, he raises money for LGBTQ charities and for kids who come from less privileged backgrounds, and he’s a loud and active advocate of “doing better”.

But he’s also hiding a deep wound, caused by those who should have been his biggest protectors and this slowly becomes apparent as the book moves along.

The other MC is Colin and oh boy did he make it hard to like him, while also having immense sympathy for how much he’d been shaped by his life experiences. He’s sharp, spikey, judgemental, quick to opinion and stubborn.

But he’s hiding a soft centre and his walls are there to protect a heart that’s already known too much pain, which is why I ultimately fell for him as hard as Walker does.

Theirs is a long journey to happiness but it’s worth every bit of the fight, the misunderstandings aren’t ridiculous ones, they’re the tenuous steps each man takes towards opening themselves up to being hurt again and there’s obviously some stumbles along the way.

Throw in a fabulous set of secondary characters, Felice’s wonderful drawing on Jewish heritage and traditions, and you ultimately end up with a believable and fulfilling romance between two men who should never work on paper but simply do.

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

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