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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Paranormal MF delight from Megan Erickson

Blood Guard (Mission #1)Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First she does shifters, then she does vampires, there is nothing Megan Erickson can’t turn her hand to when it comes to creating great worlds.

I can’t think of the last time I deliberately picked up an MF romance, it was most likely a historical as that’s about the only type – outside of reviewing contemporary chick lit – where I’ll even consider it.

But I was right to trust in Megan to avoid all the tropes which have reduced traditional MF romances down to insipid pathetic heroines incapable of looking after themselves and arrogant alpha male arses for heroes.

Her Athan is an alpha male but he is a considerate, honourable, encouraging and loyal one and Tendra is no mild or meek woman, she’s strong and courageous.

The world building is good, there’s a nice cast of secondary characters and the plot narrative is interesting. The sex scenes were well crafted and I believed the chemistry between them.

This book ties up their individual story arc but leaves things open for book two, which I’m expecting to be Athan’s brother Idris and their enemy’s daughter.

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

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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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Enjoyable contemporary with an Austen twist

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop (Lonely Hearts Bookshop #2)True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one, which was a surprise because it’s rare these days that I read any hetero relationships or chick lit but this certainly didn’t have any annoying alpha males or simpering females.

I thought both Verity and Johnny were well crafted characters, believable and real, human and alternatively frustrating and fascinating. Very’s obsession with Pride & Prejudice was neatly woven into the whole story narrative and never felt like a deliberate plot device and it worked well as the hook to hang their unconventional relationship on.

The introduction chapter was one of the funniest and most engaging I’ve read in a contemporary chick lit romance for a long time and actually had me chuckling out loud. Very’s mad family and bunch of friends meshed well and provided a nice contrast with Johnny’s, who were a bit posher and – at times – much more standoff ish.

Marissa, the technical villain of the piece, never became a caricature, I’ve met a fair few Marissa’s in my long years and she played true to type, a narcissistic selfish woman who couldn’t bear to let go of her devoted suitor.

The resolution was lovely but the epilogue was a bit of a waste, far too short even if it was quite sweet.

#ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley 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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Truly beautiful tale of love

The Shape of YouThe Shape of You by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not going to lie, this book’s epilogue made me tear up a bit because of the simple beauty of the declaration of love between Corey and Eric.

I’m always wary when a book deals with weight related issues but I should have known that in Felice’s sure hands the subject would be dealt with honestly and with a gentle surety that change is possible if you want it for yourself and not for any external reasons.

For both Eric and Corey it was a change of mindset about how they mentally viewed food and the associations eating brought along with it.

I loved how they were flawed and didn’t solve their issues instantly, that they accepted poor habits were not just going to go away from both ends of the weight spectrum. I loved that this book addressed how being too thin is also a problem and brings its own set of self worth issues.

But most of all I loved that this is a love story about how two men who’ve struggled to connect to the world could find the strength and joy in each other which made them want to live without fear.

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Chaz and Dr Dimples get their romance

Unscripted Love (Road to Blissville, #1)Unscripted Love by Aimee Nicole Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yay finally Aimee Nicole gives us Chaz and Dr Dimples’ romance and it’s a cracker.

We see the events leading up to Josh and Gabe’s relationship and wedding from the other side and it’s fascinating to read what their friends think.

As for Chaz and Kyle, their relation is sweet and humorous with just a low level of angst and lots of great sex. Chaz feels guilt for not telling Kyle he’s the guy he’s been gaming with and slowly falling for. While Kyle’s had feelings for Chaz even when he was still with Gabe but he’s afraid of stepping out and saying something.

There’s a bit of drama as they dance around the revelation that they’ve been connecting online but when it finally comes out, the reaction from Kyle is realistic and dealt with well.

This is the first in Aimee Nicole’s new spin off series and there’s also a bit of setting up for the next few books. I’m really hoping we get Emory and Silver next and I’m fascinated by Dare and Wren.

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

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