Tag Archives: low steam

Wonderfully surprised by this new to me author’s hockey romance

On the Ice (Stick Side, #1)On the Ice by Amy Aislin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well this was an utter surprise and a very pleasant one. I’ve never read Amy Aislin before but I shall definitely be keeping an eye out for more of this series.

I absolutely adored it. This is slow burn but with a difference because NHL defensive lineman Alex is demisexual and he needs to be emotionally connected to someone before he even thinks about having feelings of sexual attraction.

Mitch, on the other hand, is younger and, on the face of it, way more confident. He’s bold and brash but hiding a lot of hurt and loss underneath his veneer of self-assurance. He’s been putting a brave face on for so long, he’s lost the ability to be himself. But, if he wants Alex, that’s what he’s got to be.

The slow, slow burn in this is beautifully written. Alex is repulsed at first by Mitch’s open come ons and he doesn’t want to get involved. But once he sees that the visible Mitch isn’t the real one, he’s intrigued and, as he begins to tutor him for a class he can’t afford to fail while out on an injury leave, Alex starts to to get that emotional connection.

I have to say, the only aspect of this one that didn’t quite work for me was the background to why Mitch was on his own and struggling so much and, while it was thoroughly explained and was a perfectly reasonable reason, I think I needed maybe a tiny bit more interaction with his mother for it to be sold perfectly. Especially the bits with his brother.

There’s a great bunch of secondary characters in this one and a very visual setting which was well described and I’m hoping there’s going to be more involving the guys from Mitch’s college team and some of Alex’s Tampa teammates.

I loved that there was a long time period over which this story was told as well, running from 2008 through to 2015 and the final chapter/epilogue was so ridiculously sweet it had me tearing up – which doesn’t happen often!

Sports romances are one of my favourite tropes because they provide me with hope that, eventually, the toxic masculinity present in so many of the “big name” games will fade away and it won’t matter about someone’s sexuality – just how well they can play.

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

View all my reviews

Lots of fun to be had in the first of this new Dreamspinner series

Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1)Out of the Ashes by Ari McKay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was super sweet and had a lot of world building for a relatively short book.

I liked the setting, the paranormal elements were treated as just part of the world where werewolves, vampires, Fae, wizards, witches, diviners and other magic creatures lived alongside humans but separated off from them.

The threat was built up nicely, as was the sexual tension between alpha pack leader Eli and his half-elf mate Arden. Because this is a Dreamspun Beyond romance, there was just the one on page sex scene but it was worth the wait. Arden and Eli are perfect mates and blew the sheets off!

As this is an ongoing series (and I’ll be reviewing Book Two shortly as well), there was a sort of cliffhanger. The plot narrative for this book was wrapped up but the overall story arc is still be concluded and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

There’s plenty going on in Out of the Ashes and lots of potential for where the story is going next but it’s Whimsy the mage up next in Forged In Fire!

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

View all my reviews

The length of this one may put readers off but the slow burn is worth it

Untouchable

Untouchable by Ruthie Luhnow & Kay Simone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a 4* for me simply because of the length, I felt the same situation arose over and over (the internal monologuing and second guessing of the other person’s thoughts and feelings just got a bit wearing for me personally).

But, that aside, the rest of this book is a beautifully written exploration of how two completely different and disparate people can actually turn out to be perfect for each other and just “understand” how the other one ticks and know how to comfort and support them.

Both Kay Simone and Ruthie Luhnow have written books I’ve previously 5*ed and thoroughly enjoyed and I thought this collaboration between the two of them highlighted and showcased each of their great writing skills for both a sense of place and in the beautiful language used.

It’s written in first person present, which can be a little difficult to get your head around and is one of the reasons for me that the first quarter of the book just felt like it was going on forever with very little happening.

However, once Harp and Parker actually admit to their blossoming feelings, the pace kicks up a gear and we start to see some real character development as Harp gets over his insular nature and Parker begins to stand up for himself and not feel quite so unworthy. Both men have suffered from the slings and arrows of life so it’s joyful to see them start to open up to each other.

There are hurdles along the way though, and this means there’s a lot of angsty and only a little steam – which actually makes sense given the unique natures of each individual man.

I love a good May to December and Harp is almost two decades older than Parker (who is 26), which again leads to a whole other level of anxiety and insecurities and what I liked about this story is that the relationship didn’t all of a sudden remove all those characteristics.

Both men remained anxious at times, insecure at times, fearful and with all their hang ups, but they also grow and adapt, learn to be flexible and rely on the other.

I think this will appeal to readers who enjoy a slow burn, it is glacial at times, but because of the quality of the writing, it’s something you (generic) can live with as it marches on to what’s a bit of a swoony epilogue.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

This book drew me in and I was lost in Jason, Chase and Shade’s story

rule-of-thirdsRule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know where to start with this one or what to say really other than, if you’re looking for a hot menage, this isn’t your book.

I’ve never read this author before but I absolutely will be keeping an eye out now because this book was stunning. A character-driven exploration of the terrors of PTSD and trauma, nothing cured by magic dick.

No one recovers, Jason and Shade (oh God, how much did I fall for Shade), still suffer trauma. They don’t reach their best self, but they do become a better self.

The concept of AI becoming sentient independent beings is also superbly explored. Chase and Shade are not constructed AI, both had their awareness birthed through circumstance.

Shade has been badly treated, Chase is his rescuer, his love, his partner, together they offer companionship in the form of a home help essentially. Jason is so deeply traumatised he fears himself.

To watch these three begin to break barriers and for Jason to open up to touch and to emotion really was beautiful. Theirs is a long, slow, at times painful journey, but it’s absolutely worth the pay off.

There’s no steam in this and it totally works for the narrative. There is a lot of communication, a lot of learning to rely on others, an element of of assumed belief of what’s going on off page between Shade and Chase, then later with Jason too.

There is, however, lots of love. It’s shown in a myriad of ways, from Chase’s baking, to Shade’s loyalty and to the gentle kisses that start to bring Jason joy.

Imho there’s been a lot of research into PTSD and the various ways it can manifest gone into this book. I believed in these guys and I loved reading their romance.

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

Get your copy here at DSP: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/rule-of-thirds-by-aidan-wayne-451-b 

View all my reviews

Lots of positives in this debut read from a new to me author

Our Stage (Weldstone Harbor, #1)Our Stage by James T. Prince

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

3.75*

I have lots of thoughts about this book, most are positive and I enjoyed reading a new author who clearly has a lot of talent.

I do have a couple of negatives, the main one being that, for me, the book went on too long without the narrative justifying it.

There was a fair bit of repetition about David’s anxieties and what he was feeling (and while it’s never said, I think it’s fairly clear he’s either demisexual or gray ace) and Louis’ inability to clearly state his feelings left me a bit frustrated at times.

Also, the big misunderstanding element, in this case a missing letter, was a neat way to bring tension but when combined with all the other angsty things which were going on, again just felt a bit forced.

But the positives did make up for these two issues which will probably not be a big deal to other readers. The writing style is nice and clean, the setting is very well described and brought to life, the secondary plot was handled well and with a lot of sensitivity, and David and Louis were both uniquely fascinating in their own right.

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

View all my reviews

These teens aren’t overly dramatic which gives a sweet romance

Room for RecoveryRoom for Recovery by D.J. Jamison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

I don’t often read Young Adult, mostly because ‘teen drama’ is so long ago in my own past I find it exhausting to think about what I was like as an 18 and 19-year-old and don’t really want to consider it anymore!

However, I made an exception for this one as it was connected to the Hearts & Health series which I’ve enjoyed and because it was about Beau and Wade.

And I have to say, I enjoyed the vast majority of it and it dealt sympathetically with some quite serious subjects and kept a realistic tone throughout.

Both Beau and Wade are believable characters, they act their ages and aren’t some uber teenagers who know every thing and have shedloads of stuff and things.

Wade’s fears were justified and understandable, as was his behaviour, even if it was uncomfortable to consider that level of internalized pain and Beau really was the perfect foil.

I’m looking forward to finding out more about Dr Casper in the next one and it was nice to catch up with Trent & Xavier and Paul & Zane briefly.

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

View all my reviews

Wonderful opener to this new werewolf series from Rhys Ford

38306645Once Upon a Wolf by Rhys Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

This is a novella length which means Rhys Ford has a lot of work to do in both establishing the world building for the start of a new series but also giving the reader a fully rounded romance with the main characters here. I think, in the main, this is achieved and achieved well.

I liked the twist on the werewolf trope and the way in which she approached the set-up for what’s going to be a connected set of characters and I liked both Gibson and Zach, the romantic pairing. I loved Ellis, Gibson’s brother, who is really the main focus of this whole story.

The setup for the meet/cute was a brilliant way to open up the book, full of action and giving the reader lots of questions from the off but there was also a fair bit of time when not a lot happened and perhaps a bit too much of the book’s narrative was handed over to the two men dealing with Ellis and his predicament.

I would have liked a bit more actual romance between the two men, their attraction is obvious but we get nothing on page until almost the end of the book and even then, it’s more of a casual reference to the fact they’ve been getting it on. I don’t necessarily need graphic sex scenes but I would like to have an indication that there’s a physical relationship as well as the friendship!

The language, as expected from this author, is beautifully lyrical, descriptive and making full use of all the flowery emoting that is the norm. This book is also very funny as well and I know a few friends have quoted one of the scenes which was a highlight for me too:

Zach’s elbow got caught on his sweatshirt, and Gibson nearly kneed him trying to get his pants down. One of their plates landed on the floor, either hit by Gibson’s foot or possibly Zach’s underwear when it flew off of Gibson’s finger as he twirled it around. There was a brief scramble toward the fireplace, as it appeared one of the couch’s throw pillows was headed straight for the flames when thrown off to make room…

All in all this was a success for me and now I’m wanting to know more about this world, where Ellis goes next, what happens with Pat and more about the fabulous couple Ruth and Martha.

Also – how fabulous is this cover?! I’m not usually one for being attracted to a book just because of the cover, I like to go on the blurb usually, but this one absolutely caught my eye on Dreamspinner’s website when I first saw it.

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

Pick up your copy of Once Upon A Wolf at Dreamspinner Press.

View all my reviews

« Older Entries Recent Entries »