Five beautiful fat Quinn and Miles stars

Tied to You (Wild Side, #2)Tied to You by Riley Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love relationships where there is just as much talking and laughing as there is time spent on the smexy encounters and this book is a starring example.

You can tell, and Riley admits it in the acknowledgements, that these two men were written with love. They jump off the page in all their wonderful glory, Quinn with his smart mouth, Miles with his unfailing honesty.

I loved every bit of this story, as I did book one in the series (and the prologue before that) because they feel real, the friendship between the four men at the heart of the setting, those who surround them, and the world they inhabit, could be just round the corner at that bar table.
It reminded me very much of St Elmo’s Fire, one of the best films of the 80s and also of my own bunch of school mates who’ve now been taking the mickey out of each other for almost 40 years.

Beautiful cover too. I loved that this was a romance focused on an inter racial relationship with a man of colour at the centre. I wish there were even more novels which focused away from the typical white guy heroes.

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Oh my word the angsty in this one is unending!

The Truth As He Knows It: (Perspectives #1)The Truth As He Knows It: by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s an awful lot of angsty in this one, it just racks up and up until you reach a point where you wonder how much more one guy can take. . . and then another tonne is dropped.

However, in spite of all the angsty, this book isn’t an uncomfortable read, it has lots of sweet romance at the heart of it alongside some smoking smexy times and it has a lovely ending which feels like a genuine start of something pure and true.

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Favourite Bluewater Bay book yet

Selfie (Bluewater Bay, #13)Selfie by Amy Lane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely my favourite one yet in this series. This book deals – most beautifully – with grief and how it can utterly cripple you to the point where you simply cease to be. You can function but you basically stop living.

For Connor that happened when the love of his life, Vinnie, was killed by a drunk driver and their 10 year relationship became a source of constant pain because – as Hollywood actors – they’d spent those 10 years hiding everything about how they were lovers, partners, friends, irreplaceable, from the world. No-one knew Connor’s overwhelming grief wasn’t just for his best friend. Until one night a drunken, but thankfully silent, video exposed all that pain.

This book so beautifully gives us Connor, in all his heart-break and grieving, his fears, his anger, his tentative steps back to the road to “normal” and it spares no punches in doing so. It’s also a story about love, about hope, about getting a second chance and not being too broken to grasp it.

I don’t think anyone writes this type of romance better than Amy Lane and this book takes all those tropes about the toxicity of having a closeted relationship and exposes them. The setting has been built up throughout this series of mostly stand alone books but they are still loosely connected through the town of Bluewater Bay and the TV show Wolf’s Landing which is filmed there.
This book sees appearances from some of the MCs from previous books and introduces its own new set of wonderful secondary characters who add flavour and I especially loved Jilly, Connor and Vinnie’s manager, who had been hiding her own pain a bit too well also.

Noah, Connor’s new love interest, is a study in contrasts. Part African-American, part Native American, he’s deferential in his role as Connor’s driver and general PA but, as their friendship develops, he becomes more than just a rock to lean against, he represents a way out of the darkness and into the light.
He’s sarcastic, witty, domineering in the bedroom and takes charge of Connor, allowing him to just switch everything off and remove the pain of loss and change it up for something else (although I’m not sure that exactly worked for me).

Not everything is doom and gloom though, there are flashes of humour, of sunlight and soft kisses as well as steamy sex and hot passionate love making. There are bike rides and brilliant acting shots, new friendships and, eventually, there is acceptance, closure and moving on.

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Not as angsty as the other two

Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back Book 3)Embrace the Fire by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a much sweeter story than the first two books and, while Brandon had suffered, it wasn’t anywhere close to Ash or Luke’s pain.

The romance between him and Tash was nicely drawn out and there wasn’t really much in the way of dramady to affect it. They communicated well and the sex was emotionally engaging.

Loved the extended epilogue and I’ve loved Esther and the other secondary characters who have been built into this world.

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Unmissable ending to this unbelievably good series

Devour
Devour by Jocelynn Drake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know that feeling you’d get, deep down in your tummy, when you woke up on Christmas Day (insert other appropriate religious festivals) and you weren’t sure what was going to be waiting for you? That feeling was me the second this book dropped on my Kindle at midnight on release day.

It’s a strange mixture of excitement, trepidation, expectation, fear, the potential for great joy or great sadness (depending on what you unwrapped). Well, let’s just say reading Devour was like unwrapping a Girl’s World on the morning of my seventh birthday.

Ian’s story has been a long time in the making. We’ve had snippets as we’ve watched Lucas fall in love with Andrei in Shatter, as Snow and Jude found each other in Shiver and as Noah gave Rowe a second chance at life in the pages of Torch. And there, in the background of each, has been Hollis Banner, cop and lover of all things chocolate.

I’m not going to use spoilers, this book works best if you don’t know what’s going to happen. But be absolutely assured, you will gasp, you will probably tear up even if you don’t full on ugly cry, you’ll definitely smile a lot, you’ll laugh out loud and, finally, you’ll sigh. A bone deep sign of contentment that all is right in the world and the Unbreakable Bonds these four men share have expanded to encompass another four equally important to all, plus a myriad of parents, cats, dogs and hangers on.

That the story ends at Christmas is perhaps fitting, not only cos it gave me my introduction paragraph for this review, but also because it’s a time for being with those with love and I do so very much love the men in these four books.

There’s a sadness that this particular series is over, but also a deep joy in knowing the world itself will continue with the Ward Security series that Rinda Elliott and Jocelynn Drake have announced is coming next (#Geoven4eva) and that we won’t be leaving them behind completely.
There’s also the final two books of short stories for Rowe and Noah, Ian and Hollis, to come out later this year too, so it’s not quite goodbye.

And, as expected with the immense talent of these two authors, they managed to pull off a stunningly unique ultimate fate for the protagonist of this series – never in a million years would that have been on my radar ladies so bravo 🙂

Thank you both for Lucas, for Snow, for Rowe and for Ian, and for the men they love. It’s been a thrill of a ride.

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Just as good as the first one

After the Fire (Through Hell and Back Book 2)After the Fire by Felice Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the first book I got teary at what happened to one of the secondary characters. This book continues on that story as Jordan has to come to terms with his loss.

I loved as well how Felice brought Lucas in to the story and back into Ash’s life without it feeling like just a plot device, it worked well within the narrative.

This one is angsty, but it’s a different kind to the first book. Here there’s more to do with grief and loss, anger and pain, a sense of hopelessness than the relationship driven dramas of Drew and Ash.

Jordan and Lucas’ dramas came more from what was happening around them as they tried to move on, although there were relationship hiccups too.

I liked that they were quick to anger but also quick to reconcile, they talked and they sought expert help when the sh*t hit the fan.

In bed they were dynamite, I loved how Jordan slowly realised he could love Lucas without the guilt and how Lucas realised he could depend on Jordan in spite of his mistakes.

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Five brutal heart breaking stars

A Walk Through Fire (Through Hell and Back Book 1)A Walk Through Fire by Felice Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh Felice Stevens you know how to wrench every but of emotion from someone. This book is brutal and heart breaking but it’s also uplifting and heart warming.

It’s about pain and loss, joy and hope, second chances at life and new beginnings. It’s about finding family and learning how to let yourself be loved.

Asher and Drew are a magnificent pairing, birth men bowing under the weight of their past, both men capable of bearing the weight of the other’s fears.

That I could get teary about what happens to one of the secondary characters is testimony to the world building skills of the author.

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