Return to form for the Marian boys

Delivering Dante (Made Marian, #6)Delivering Dante by Lucy Lennox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this one, it had all the things I’ve come to expect from Lucy Lennox and this series – two well definitely MCs, a lot of humour, low angst and lots of hot sex.

There’s a couple of funny side plots involving the crazy Marian senior members, the President’s politician father and a possible Vegas wedding, some sex toys and an order of homophobic preachers to keep things ticking along.

Another gorgeous cover to add to the rest of the almost rainbow. I’m hoping we get Simone’s story too and round out the Marian siblings, plus perhaps a step back in time to Pete and Ginger’s courtship. I love this family and I want more of their stories please.

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Lots of feels with this new series

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc., #1)Back Piece by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gave me many feels, some of them very good, a couple not as good, but overall it weighed out on the side of being a great read.

I loved both Colin and Daniel, I liked how each of their special hang ups were dealt with and I absolutely loved that there was no magic dick cure just because they fell in love.

I also liked that Daniel’s family weren’t portrayed as one dimensional homophobic religious bigots but as complete and complex people and how Daniel could love them at the same time as hate them for their views.
Throughout their visit I could feel the weight of the pressure on my shoulders, something LA Witt is excellent at writing.

Something else she’s great at writing are sex scenes, and the steam level is high in this one with some stupendous virgin sex.

The angst levels were moderate. I’d guessed what Colin’s background was going to be before it was revealed and, while it was a big part of his mental illness, it was never treated lightly but was explained and explored in the context of his continual eating issues.

World building was great and, as this is book one in a new series, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming next.
Oh, and that cover, yeah that could have stars all on its own, so hot.

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

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What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be

Given the CircumstancesGiven the Circumstances by Brad Vance

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never read this author so I had no preconceived ideas about what I’d be reading and so it was a very pleasant surprise to get a well written exploration of the pressures of fame in the sporting world for two gay men.

I loved Roger, strong reliable steadfast and true, secure in his talent and the support of his father. But Brian, oh how I wanted to hug Brian and tell him it would get better if he could just believe in himself.

I loved the world setting, I loved that there wasn’t an overt focus on the institutionalised homophobia found in big sports like American Football and baseball. I loved Jacob, Roger’s dad, who was the perfect role model and I loved Joe, who gave Brian the other father figure he’d been missing.

This book is written like a series of vignettes, peeking into bits of Roger and Brian’s lives and it worked really well. It never felt disjointed and watching their sexual and loving relationship develop over time was a clever way of drawing out the narrative.

The sex was hot, hot, hot, Roger loving how Brian just took control and made him fly. But the scenes during Brian’s worst times, when they would just hold each other were also beautifully told.

The ending felt earned, a true payoff for both men.

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Superb start to new military series from Annabeth Albert

Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)Off Base by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love military romances and I love Annabeth Albert so this was a marriage truly made in MM heaven for me.

How much did I want to just grab Zach and give him a massive hug?! The poor guy had so much shit to deal with and his fears about being gay felt so real, especially with the background Annabeth gave him. This book is not for the fainthearted with it’s continual insidious low levels of homophobia.

I honestly don’t think anyone who doesn’t identify as LGBTQ+ can truly understand, even if we can absolutely empathise and sympathise, just how damaging it can be when a percentage of the world thinks there’s something fundamentally wrong with you simply because of how and who you love.

This book takes the military, a hotbed of testosterone and masculinity, and focusses on what it’s like to be gay within those uniforms but it does it on a relatively low level, giving the reader insight into how things can still be a problem even with the repeal of DADT.

Zach is such a complex character, never one note but fully expressed as a young man proud of his service but also scared and bewildered at the hostility expressed against anyone who might possibly be gay by a minority of his team mates. The threat hanging over him from bullying draws him back to his confused youth with an older brother who behaved in the same way and parents who never stepped in the way.

Pike, by contrast, is out and proud but also scared to commit having been burnt once before by a “straight” guy who let him get too close and he desperately tries to just be friends with the taciturn Navy SEAL even though he’s attracted to him and his nature is to be a flirt. He senses how Zach is struggling and does his best to make it easier.

Their gradual slide through friendship into lovers is extremely well done, the tip off point resulting in an explosive encounter which leaves them both reeling. I loved every single bit of this book and never wanted it to stop and now I can’t wait to get to read the others.

Apollo is next and I’m sure hoping there’s a guy waiting to bring joy and sunshine back into his life following the death of his husband because who wouldn’t want the kick ass LT to be happy?!

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