Mixed bag of seriously scorching hot sex and slow burn romance

FU: Fixer UppersFU: Fixer Uppers by Devon McCormack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is 100% a Devon McCormack novel, it oozes sex almost on every page, narrated with that Southern boy charm and humour he exhibits in his own life.

Mikey and Scott started off with just the scorching hot sex but as they began working on fixing up Mikey’s sister’s place, that chemistry slowly began to burn off into something much more deep and meaningful.

Personally I’m not sure the sub plot element which created the low level angst about Mikey’s issues with his parents worked as well as it could have. Some of the scenes with his parents felt forced, dramatic for the sake of plotting rather than a smooth transition to explain why he had relationship issues.

Scott’s relationship with his dad, in contrast, seemed more organic and was a good background for why he felt himself unattractive and lacking in confidence.

But, those issues aside, the slow burn extension of their relationship from f##k buddies to friends to eventual lovers and partners was very well done and the epilogue was all ends up awesome.

The cover gets the book 5* all in its own 😉

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My favourite yet – this is a perfect friends to lovers military romance

On Point (Out of Uniform #3)On Point by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is nothing more delicious than a friends to lovers story, especially when there’s a bit of spice added to the mix and with On Point, Annabeth Albert has done both.

Ben and Maddox have been best friends since basic training, each of them providing the encouragement and support the other needed to become Navy SEALs. They’re both top of their skill trees and together they’re almost unstoppable.

Unfortunately, a drunken semi-encounter a few months before their latest deployment has made their friendship awkward and they’re not sure how to move on. Fighting for their lives after an incident on a jungle mission might be the catalyst for fixing everything or the final straw which drives them apart.

I loved how Annabeth made both men flawed, this wasn’t a case of one of them having issues which prevented their friendship from turning into love. Both Ben and Maddox had real, believable fears about damaging their relationship and they were handled well.

It’s military men, so there’s the usual hot alpha men doing what they do best, but Maddox also has a more gentle side. He loves to bake and has a secret desire to open his own shop, while Ben is career Navy and can’t think of anything else he could do. This adds the necessary friction needed to bring tension to what could otherwise be an all too familiar trope.

The way they resolved their issues was well crafted, again a realistic exploration of what happens when two people realise they would be far worse off apart. As it’s Annabeth Albert, there’s some seriously hot smexy times which really do pay off as part of the romance narrative. She is an auto one click author for me and her Out of Uniform series is seriously competing with her #gaymers for my favourite from her.

Release date for ON POINT is June 5, 2017 and it will be available from all major retails. The title is up for pre-order on Amazon.

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

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More military brilliance in the Out of Uniform series

At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2)At Attention by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so glad Apollo got his head out of his backside because, for a lot of this book he was infuriating. At the same time though, I absolutely understood his fears and why he was behaving as he was.

I loved how his late husband Neal was there as a presence throughout the story but never took over the narrative. We learned enough to understand Apollo’s awful loss but he didn’t become some unreachable saint.

Dylan put up with a lot. He was steadfast and true and I absolutely believed he would wait for Apollo to come to his senses until the end of his days but, again, he never came across as a martyr. He knew he loved Apollo and he had faith that love was returned.

The epilogue was all ends up awesome. The steam levels were high when they occurred but not too many to take over the story and I loved that Apollo, in spite of his military background, had no hang ups over his sexuality.

The twins were well integrated into the story, cute without being twee or taking over. The world building is excellent as I’d expect from Annabeth, and I can’t wait to get Ben and Maddox’s story next.

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Well crafted but not a traditional romance

Necessary MedicineNecessary Medicine by M.K. York

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

This is an exceptionally well written book, well crafted, detailed and knowledgeable about the world of medicine. I’m just not sure that it really qualifies to be designated as a romance though when the romance element of it doesn’t occur until the final 20% of the book.

Having said that, there is a fair bit of UST from about 30% in but, for the overwhelming majority of this story, it focusses on the difficulties of being in the final stages of training necessary to become a surgeon.

Now, that doesn’t make this book unreadable, on the contrary, this book is eminently readable, it’s engaging and Neil, the protagonist, is a very likable chap, he’s dedicated to his calling, he’s frustrated at his lack of personal life and he’s aching with the attraction he has for a senior colleague.
But nothing happens, absolutely nothing at all, for pretty much three quarters of this book. Yes we get glimpses into Neil’s head and his pining for Eli, but that’s it, apart from one stolen kiss which causes all sorts of angst.

The romance, when it does eventually come, is so well done I felt cheated to have not had more of it. Neil and Eli eventually realise that love is something that they should be willing to fight and make sacrifices for and, if they don’t, they could end up an eminently respected – but incredibly lonely – medical expert.
The book also covers a long time span but the jumps are well done and never feel jarring, the segues from one year to another are logical and explained well in the narrative.
I did feel the secondary characters were also well developed, although they were sort of pushed to the side a little once the romance did kick in.

The epilogue goes some way to mollifying my pouting over the romance because it is beautifully done and a real HEA where we find out just how aware each man had been of the other and it picked up nicely on what was happening with the secondary characters from earlier, which was again a great touch.

Overall this is a very impressive debut novel, I just wish it were perhaps better signposted that it’s not a romance in the traditional sense, at least not until near the end.

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I am a geek – these are my (gay) people

Status Update (#gaymers, #1)Status Update by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I seriously loved this. I’m a huge gamer so anyone that plays tribute to that world has a big advantage when I’m reading their books.

But there was more than just that to this story, it’s a low angst romance and, daft as it sounds given the circumstances and timeframe of it starting, it has a real slow burn feel to it, not a case of insta love.

Both the MCs are beautifully complex and fleshed out, birth have their own insecurities and fears but both see something in the other which makes them feel more stable, more willing to risk, even if it could result in losing everything.

Noah has the biggest hurdle to climb and he stumbles along the way, Adrian, while he never gives up hope, also finally realises he needs to stop offering excuses for why he only ever has long distance relationships.

Together we get virgin sex which is so tender and emotionally fulfilling without ever venturing into an outbreak of erotic porn, just one man finally allowing himself to be free to love and the perfect partner to take him on that journey.

That’s not to say they’re not hot together either, they are, but everything is done with a freshness and a care born of emotions that it’s infinitely more than just sex.

And the ending is so perfectly sweet it matches the cute cover. Oh, and there’s dogs too, big anti social Ulysses and teeny tiny Pixel, and their friendship journey is just as cute as their humans’ one.

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