Trans romance is a great start for new author

Coffee and BourbonCoffee and Bourbon by Jasper Grey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s few romances where one of the MCs is a transgender person so it’s always great to come across a new author who features one.

This is a bit of a muddled bag though, there were elements I enjoyed like Alex’s unwavering acceptance of Noah and his trans status, and there were bits I didn’t think worked at all including the odd time jump double telling of the same scene.
There’s also overuse of a couple of phrases which become more obvious because of the back and forth in the time line.

The sex is handled well and there isn’t as much fade to black or off page as I’ve sometimes read in an MM romance with a FtM transgender character. The sex here was both sweet and emotive.

There’s a relatively low level of angst, focussed around a tattoo convention and Alex’s best friend from his old life being a transphobic arse and the resolution happens a bit speedily but overall this is a fast read with a cute epilogue.

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

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They just keep getting better

Defiance (The Protectors, #9)Defiance by Sloane Kennedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So Vincent might, just might, have sneaked into the number one spot on my list of favourite Sloane Kennedy men, edging out Magnus and Ronan, who were already fighting it out between them.

Defiance is yet another brilliant addition to the Protectors cannon, filled with all the drama and angst and insanely hot men this series typifies.

This one concerns Nathan, the estranged twin of Brody from Sloane’s connected Finding series. Brody is in a relationship with both Quinn Donovan and Beck Barretti, linking in to that set of hot alpha males too.
This is another of the things I love about a Sloane Kennedy romance, they are connected into such a wonderfully developed world with an unconventional family determined to look after their own.

Here the mystery was well hidden, I liked that I had no clue what or who the threat was coming from until almost the end of the book. There is always an element of ‘suspend disbelief’ with these books simply because of the nature of the setting. Secret service, black ops, off the grid assassins and dodgy government dealings in any spy thriller always need an element of just letting it ride. This one is no different.

By, that’s not to say they’re too far fetched, they’re not, this kind of murky underworld does exist and I love how this author constantly finds new ways to hang her romances on it.

Nathan and Vincent were so good together, age gap romances are one of my favourite tropes, as are men figuring out their sexuality and coming to terms with loving another man. Vincent getting his second chance at love was also beautifully crafted.

I wish Sloane could clone herself to get out her books even faster than she already does. I can’t wait to read Everett, Gage and Nash’s story or to find out more about Reese and just who will be mending his broken world.

And, as always, I’ve never met a Jay Aheer cover I didn’t love and this one is no exception, she captures the passion of the story within perfectly.

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Fabulous exercise in how to write a submission romance

The Master Will AppearThe Master Will Appear by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

LA Witt is one of my favourite writers no matter which section of the MM genre she’s focussing on and this book is a stunning example of her BDSM work.

The BDSM in this book is light, it’s a Dom/sub pairing with some pain play but mostly it’s an exercise in how one man, taught his whole life that he’s worthless, can come to discover he’s the most precious thing in the world.

The fencing setting was also fabulous, as I actually have friends who fence for the British Olympic team and who train the British Paralympians, and it made a change from the normal mainstream sports setting.

I loved both Ryan and Misha, and their emotional and sexual connections were incredible, the Dom/sub scenes were sensual and the consensual ‘gang bang’ was blissfully erotic and never felt like porn.

This book also has a wonderful epilogue.

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New series starter is smoking hot

Depth of Field (Last Chance Book 1)Depth of Field by Riley Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gawd this book is hot and sensual and steamy and erotic and all the other words you associate with a brilliantly crafted sexual romance.

It’s also full of emotions and actual conversations and relatively low angst and a minor hiccup of misunderstanding which, for me anyway, didn’t work quite so well as the stumbling block to eternal happiness.

However, the resolution of said stumbling block was executed perfectly and without a load of unnecessary drama and I loved how Shane owned up to his fears and his deliberately destructive reaction.

There’s ancient hurts being healed, there’s an old time enemies to lovers and there’s some of the most beautifully written expressions of love I’ve read in a while.

This book, while it’s hot enough to melt the polar ice caps, also has so much romantic love running alongside it, that it makes reading it an absolute joy.

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Good opener to this new Oregon setting from Annabeth Albert

Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove, #1)Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5* stars
This is a good start to a new series from Annabeth sees a whole host of characters set in a fictional Oregon coastal town trying to reinvent itself as an LGBTQ+ holiday destination.

I loved Mason, determined to do better than his no good family when he returned to his home town. Nash took a while to warm too but he fit his character well.

I also love a good May to December romance and there was enough of an age gap here for it to work well, Nash being nearly 40 to Mason’s 27.

There’s a small amount of angst, mostly due to Nash’s fears about coming out in a town which still thinks his hard headed father was the best Police Chief they’ve ever had, footsteps he finds it hard to walk in.

Madison’s deadbeat brother also adds to the tensions as he keeps landing his daughter on Mason without warning, which adds to the complications of their relationship.

This one is perhaps lacking a little of the lightness which I’ve found in Annabeth’s previous books but it works for this setting. There’s none of the quirky nerdism of her Gaymers series or the military banter found in the Out of Uniform books but there is still some humour.

For me though, the vandalism sub plot didn’t work at all and wasn’t really explained as to why those responsible for it would be doing it.

I did enjoy the book though and I’m looking forward to finding out more and seeing what happens with Curtis and Logan and who will be the right guy for Adam.

#ARC provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley

Letting Go (Love By Design, #1)Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley, solid and well plotted with believable characters acting in a wholly realistic manner.

The subject of mental illness is dealt with compassionately but without blunting the edge of how difficult it can be to live with debilitating panic attacks. Alex is a frustrating character but never an unsympathetic one. He has had to deal with a lot and it shows in his every action.

Kelley, by contrast, is solid as a rock, steady in his convictions and in his love and support for Alex, his maturity bringing a lot of stability to Alex’s life, even if the younger man doesn’t appreciate it and fights against it.

The world is well fleshed out too, with a healthy cast of secondary characters including Alex’s younger sister Evie, who read of her age rather than being some uber developed eight-year-old.

There are some odd grammar tense changes and the occasional typo but, as I was reading an ARC, this is to be expected and I am sure they’ll be cleaned up before release.

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

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Avon Gale smashes it once again with her ice hockey series

Coach's Challenge (Scoring Chances, #5)Coach’s Challenge by Avon Gale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know how she does it but this ice hockey series is not only consistently brilliant, it keeps producing partnerships that I fall head over heels for.

First I was surprised when Isaac and Laurent took over from Max and Misha as my favourite pair but now Troy and Shane have stormed to the top of the leaderboard with their fabulously non conformist relationship.

Oh lord, the snark as these two fell for each other was delicious, the humour was totally on point and the sex was dynamite. The way they spoke to each other was fuelled first by lust, then by passion and the declarations of love have to be some of the most original I’ve ever read.

I am a sucker for sport set narratives, I’m a sucker for partial redemption stories – in this case it’s the team rather than an individual though – and I’m a sucker for righteous outcomes to those who tried to hurt the LGBT world and this book had it all.

Now Avon, please, please, please give Xavier his true love and a HEA. Pretty please.

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