Impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley

Letting Go (Love By Design, #1)Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley, solid and well plotted with believable characters acting in a wholly realistic manner.

The subject of mental illness is dealt with compassionately but without blunting the edge of how difficult it can be to live with debilitating panic attacks. Alex is a frustrating character but never an unsympathetic one. He has had to deal with a lot and it shows in his every action.

Kelley, by contrast, is solid as a rock, steady in his convictions and in his love and support for Alex, his maturity bringing a lot of stability to Alex’s life, even if the younger man doesn’t appreciate it and fights against it.

The world is well fleshed out too, with a healthy cast of secondary characters including Alex’s younger sister Evie, who read of her age rather than being some uber developed eight-year-old.

There are some odd grammar tense changes and the occasional typo but, as I was reading an ARC, this is to be expected and I am sure they’ll be cleaned up before release.

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

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Lots of feels with this new series

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc., #1)Back Piece by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gave me many feels, some of them very good, a couple not as good, but overall it weighed out on the side of being a great read.

I loved both Colin and Daniel, I liked how each of their special hang ups were dealt with and I absolutely loved that there was no magic dick cure just because they fell in love.

I also liked that Daniel’s family weren’t portrayed as one dimensional homophobic religious bigots but as complete and complex people and how Daniel could love them at the same time as hate them for their views.
Throughout their visit I could feel the weight of the pressure on my shoulders, something LA Witt is excellent at writing.

Something else she’s great at writing are sex scenes, and the steam level is high in this one with some stupendous virgin sex.

The angst levels were moderate. I’d guessed what Colin’s background was going to be before it was revealed and, while it was a big part of his mental illness, it was never treated lightly but was explained and explored in the context of his continual eating issues.

World building was great and, as this is book one in a new series, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming next.
Oh, and that cover, yeah that could have stars all on its own, so hot.

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

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Epic introduction chapter kicks off another brilliant story

Finding Hope (Finding Series, Book 5)Finding Hope by Sloane Kennedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t think I’ve ever read an opening chapter that was at once both incendiary levels of hotness and intriguing enough to lay out the main narrative until this one.

Seriously, Sloane Kennedy is one of the finest writers of MMM I’ve ever read, she has a supreme talent for not only making them volcanic levels of sexual tension, but also deeply emotional and erotic where one of the three never feels like a spare wheel.

This book takes us back to Dare, where there’s an extended level of connection with both Ronan’s Protectors and the Barretti security guys, but which we’ve not had a story from for quite a while.

Beck, eldest adopted son of Cade and Rafe Barretti needs to get away from Seattle and so goes to spend the summer with Cade’s former military partner Jax and his husband Dane, where he’s going to work for Callan at his ranch.

Along the way he has an encounter in a club bathroom with not just one man but two, both of whom he never expects to meet again, which leaves him reeling from the intensity.

So he’s shocked into panic when he discovers the man who made him fly on emotions is Quinn, Callan’s right hand horse man. On his panicked flight from Quinn, he crashes his car and discovers the second of his bathroom partners is Brody, a paramedic.

Where the story goes from here is cleverly woven through the lives of both the close knit family in Dare but also ripples back to the extended Seattle crowd. Beck is drowning until the point at which he gives in and lets himself float with the support of Quinn and Brody.

Beautifully unravelled throughout the romance, we find each of the three has fears they have been struggling to live with but which they find a way of coping when they’re in the arms of the others.

No magic dick in this one either – yay thanks Sloane! – happiness is worked for, professional help is sought, and communication is had to make these three work at their relationship.

The scene where they exchange I love yous is beautifully crafted and feels truthful and well earned. I loved this book and was ridiculously happy when I saw it released early.

Now Sloane, bring out the next Protectors book early please!

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Wowzers – that’s how good this book is

Focus on Me (In Focus #2)Focus on Me by Megan Erickson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wowzers, that’s how good this book is, it made me use the word workers.

Riley, beautiful Riley and his broken brain. I loved how he came to realise he had to want to try for himself and not anyone else, not even for Colin. I loved that there was no magic dick and that professional help was sought, but still had the proviso that he wouldn’t ever be “normal” (Riley’s own words).

Colin felt much older than his years. In fact both characters read as being older than their stated ages I think, their behaviour and dialogue felt more mature even in spite of Riley’s illnesses.
I also thought Megan dealt with mental illness with great empathy and understanding, the highs and the lows, the almost manic behaviour, the paranoia. It’s such a difficult subject to get right.

But I loved Colin, how he tried so hard but eventually realised he couldn’t be Riley’s answer to everything that was troubling him.

I loved the cameos from #JusLan, it was an interesting way of making the connection between books. There was also a lot of humour and smiley moments in the story too which stopped it from becoming an angst fest.

And the sex, get me a fan now because Riley and Colin’s first time was hot enough to give the Earth’s core a run for its money. I loved how Megan went against the usual tropes with these two.

Stunningly beautiful cover too, as with book one, which always goes a long way to making me want to read a book. Always a bonus when what’s inside matches the pretty exterior.

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