Quirky mystery suspense romance from Amy

TheHeightseBookThe Heights by Amy Aislin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, this book. I have thoughts, lots of thoughts but mostly I really loved the whole premise of the plot and I think that element was carried out perfectly.

Now, my other major thought is that, due to the vast majority of the romantic elements – including the smexy times which help to build up an emotional connection between the characters and the reader – happening mostly off page or fading to black, I wasn’t as invested in Nat and Quinn as a pairing as much as I was with their individual story arcs.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved them together, I’d have just liked to have seen more of them together and I don’t necessarily mean steamy erotica, but just more of the emotions that come through physical intimacy.

But, the main plot itself, about dealing with loss and guilt and the idea of what makes a family, was mostly well done, with the exception of Quinn’s real parents.

It may be, as this is a new series, that this element is continued on in future books, but I did feel something was missing there.

Overall, this book was a success for me and I liked that it wasn’t a traditional romance or a traditional suspense/mystery but married the two together.

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

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A love story which is as beautiful as the cover promises

Truth & BetrayalTruth & Betrayal by K.C. Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this, absolutely loved it. This is Kc Wells at her very best – an emotionally driven tale of overcoming what seems like the most impossible obstacle.

There’s hurt and healing in this, anger and passion, fear and hope and, ultimately, there’s two perfect souls connecting after a moment of utmost tragedy and finding a new future.

Jacob and Liam are wonderfully rich characters, the setting is drawn with a deft hand, you can smell the fried chicken and feel the dusty heat of these Southern towns.

There wasn’t one bit of this story I didn’t enjoy, even the parts that made me tear up, and I can’t wait to get Taylor’s story next!

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

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I hated the ending but this book is still on my mind two days later!

51thecPBRaL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Sky Full of Mysteries by Rick R. Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I need time to process my thoughts on this one. Brilliant storytelling and such a compelling narrative but I absolutely hated the ending.

19/7 – Okay, two days later and I think I’m ready to write this review and I should say that even though I absolutely hated the ending – and I mean to the point of wanting to hit something or chuck my Kindle out of the window – it totally worked for the story’s narrative.

Being honest, much as I would have liked a different outcome, it really would have ruined the whole premise of what was, at heart, a story about living life to the fullest, even in the face of loss. I don’t want to go too much into the plot, this is definitely one which needs to be experienced as you read the book.

But I think perhaps the blurb needs to make it very clear that this is what I would seriously consider to be a sci-fi or paranormal story with an element of romance and even that part doesn’t follow a traditional path.

Reading this is an experience, the language and the plotting is really compelling as I said, the book draws you through the story of two young men who had a perfect love for a perfect moment in time.

What happens after those first few perfect days makes up the rest of the book and it’s brilliantly done. Rick R Reed is such a talented writer, even when I hated him for how he ended this book, I was secretly applauding him for actually going there.

And, ultimately, his book worked, because I can’t stop thinking about it, and Rory and his mum and Cole and Tommy, even if my thoughts veer onto the rageful at times!

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

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Review Round Up – Why series from Colette Davison

Why I Left YouWhy I Left You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to start with this one. It’s a powerful exploration of the pain of depression in a young man and it’s also a romance between two young men who’ve been in love since they were teenagers and who were separated by one desperate act and the consequences of it.

I don’t think I “enjoyed” it in the way I would usually enjoy a young adult romance, there’s too much pain and suffering I think to truly let go of the aspects of dealing with a mental illness.

There’s also, for me anyway, a definite feeling of realism over how neither man wants to deal with the serious conversations they’re owed from each other over what happened four years earlier.

And, also, the incident which caused Jamie’s initial breakdown – while perfectly possible and believable in its own right – didn’t work for me and I don’t have a logical explanation for why. I just read it and felt it was a bit “plot pointy” as there’d been nothing even remotely clued in throughout the rest of the narrative

Still, the writing is exemplary and care is taken to never diminish the effects of depression and how it alters people’s perceptions of themselves and others.

Why I Need YouWhy I Need You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I preferred this one over book one because, while it still dealt with serious issues and there was still a ginormous lack of communication, these two didn’t mask over things with sex.

Both Noah and Fin are dealing with grief and both have huge hang ups over what they think the other person is feeling or likely to do if they reveal the truth.

Their fears were completely believable and quite realistic, but I just got a bit fed up by the push/pull over each of them opening up about what was going on inside their heads.

The ending, with characters of just 24 and 21, also felt a little unlikely but then again, when you know you’ve met The One, why wait.

Why I Trust YouWhy I Trust You by Colette Davison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely my favourites in the series and the one with the least amount of angst and most focus on just the development of a loving relationship.

I liked that these guys talked to each other, there was no miscommunication or misunderstanding between Ryan and Martin. Their obstacles were practical and legal ones and it worked well.

Ryan’s fears over having to rely on someone else were perfectly understandable, as were Martin’s over people being with him for his money.

Together they were seriously sweet and a lot of fun to read, as well as being crazy sexy. Overall I’ve enjoyed this series from an author New to me and – as a Leeds born girl – it’s always great to see stories set in and around my part of the world.

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

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Release Day Blitz: Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

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Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press 

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

 Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

 Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFHPaperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.   

Excerpt:

To his surprise, Mark didn’t laugh. Instead, he looked thoughtful. “What if I asked you to?” he said softly.

“To put out?” Isaiah’s throat had never seemed drier.

“We’re sitting here. Talking. Like adults. Just a couple of guys. And I can’t quit thinking about your lips, and I don’t know why.” Mark’s voice had a sleepy, dreamlike quality to it, and Isaiah was fully prepared to wake up any second because he’d been dreaming about Mark saying shit like this for years.

“I do.” Moving slowly as to not bang heads or—more likely—spook Mark, Isaiah moved so that their faces were level, inches apart. “You want to kiss me.”

Annabeth Albert

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook  | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway

Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

Rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Direct Giveaway Link

Another pitch perfect addition to the Out of Uniform series

37544729Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a few authors who I know, when it comes to a military setting, that I’m going to get a book that not only gets that aspect right, but also perfectly pitches the romance that goes with it.

Annabeth Albert is one of those and in her latest Out of Uniform offering, she gives the reader something different. This book still has all the military elements down pat, even with the narrative including a rush job home at the end of a deep ops mission.

But it also has great depth, especially when it comes to dealing with, and processing, the emotional, financial and legal aspects of sudden death.

There is grief here, but also anger, there is mistrust and fear, but also hope and expectations things will just work out with enough effort.

And, ultimately, there is a gorgeous romance and a relationship which relies on more than just a sexual connection to build up the tensions in the plotting.

Now that’s not to say that this book isn’t without sex, as always Annabeth has a light touch which puts on paper some incredibly powerful and moving experiences between Unca Ike and Unca Mark.
Mark’s awareness of his demisexual, possibly grey ace, status is handled with sensitivity.

He doesn’t suddenly want sex just because Ike is his person, sometimes the act of kissing is even more sensual and a bigger turn on than a full on sex scene.

There is a lot of hurt/comfort in this, but also a lot of situations which become hurtful to one or the other character and it’s refreshing to see this handled through conversation and not just magic dick-ed away.

The kids are also believable, there’s a good set of secondary characters and we get a chance to catch up with some of the guys from the series. Now, can we get as HEA for Bacon next please 😉

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

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Point of Contact will leave you hurting but it’s worth the pain

37763495Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5*

So, so, so many times this book made me tear up but I never full on ugly cried like I have with previous Melanie Hansen books and I think, for me, the reason for that was Carl.

I felt for Carl. It felt like Carl was there only to be discarded so that the “real” romance between Trevor and Jesse could begin and I felt like Carl was really badly done to.

Irrational perhaps because, don’t get me wrong, the romance between Trevor and Jesse was absolutely perfect, but it felt like that should have been the only one and Carl could have just been a really good friend instead.

I know he needed to be there for plot reasons at the party so Jesse could behave as he did, but it just still took the edge of the rest of the romance for me personally.

But, as for the rest, this book will rip your heart out at the sorrow and pain the characters experience. War hurts, no matter whether the cause is “righteous” or not. People die, families are devastated, friends are left to deal with the survivor guilt.

This book, like all of Melanie’s I’ve read, has meticulously researched elements which make it feel absolutely real. But there was one hiccup in this which surprised me. At one point Riley is trying to persuade Jesse to join the Army’s Special Forces and – instead of using the Hooah battle cry, he yells Oorah instead.

It’s a small detail but that’s the cry of the Marines, an entirely separate branch of the Military and one usually affiliated with the Navy (while being independant), so it threw me out a bit. If they were going to join the Army’s Special Forces, it’d have been the Rangers, Delta Force or Special Forces Regiment (amongst others).
Now I’m not saying they couldn’t have switched branches to the Marines, but it just didn’t seem likely and I was surprised at the error.

That aside, the rest of this book is impeccable as it shows the impact of Private First Class Riley Estes’ death in combat on his friends and his father. There is lots of pain, but also lots of comfort in this book as Trevor comes to rely on Jesse firstly for the connection to his dead son, but then for Jesse himself.

There is a tender romance at the heart of this and the writing style – of using time jumps to highlight key areas of the narrative – worked really well for me. The Epilogue is wonderful, carries some real hope and is beautifully bookended with the Prologue which opens the book.

The cover is tasteful, as befits the subject matter, and works perfectly. A book I won’t forget for a while.

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

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