Loved this military Japanese set romance

Conduct UnbecomingConduct Unbecoming by L.A. Witt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say, I’m a sucker for military romances and this one set on Okinawa was a real delight.

Both Shane and Eric were well drawn characters with unique personalities and the first person narrative worked well for seeing into their heads as they moved from the initial lust into love.

Okinawa as a setting absolutely shone too, I felt like I was travelling around with the two men as they explored and LA added enough explanation about the military rates and ranks for me to understand why their relationship was a risk without it feeling like an info dump.

Hot men, beautiful location, amazing sex, happy ending epilogue, what more is needed 🙂

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I’m stumped by what I want to say about this book

Any Given Sunday (A Southern Scrimmage Companion Book 6)Any Given Sunday by Mercy Celeste

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.75* conflicted stars

So, this book is the scorching hot sexual adventure all of the Southern Scrimmage series of stories have been but I’m confused over just what I think of it.

The timescales in this one fluctuate between Bo and Dylan’s childhood, through the six years Dylan was in the Marines and Bo was playing ball and the time period after Bo thought Dylan was dead up until his rescue.

So it’s mostly both men with other people, which didn’t bother me as much as it may other readers, but it’s just a bit too much of everything other than Bo and Dylan for it to be truly enjoyable.

Book one gave Bo and Dylan an epic romance and then subsequent books seem to have shafted that with cheating or if not that, some very definitely dubious morals encounters.

I felt I understood Levi a bit more after reading the last book but this one’s just confused all that again as well. He goes back to giving off the mixed vibes of being a selfish git and a complete slapper instead of the far more nuanced and complex person his “autobiography” gave us.

Understandable as this is set at the same time as the events in the two earlier books so it’s unfortunate it’s been published later! On a reread I’d definitely add this one in before book one I think.

This whole book just threw things into a pot, stirred them, but then never cooked them up into a cohesive unit, certainly not one that tied in with events in all the other books.

Don’t get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s smoking hot, has the same great world building as the rest and it gives more background to events happening in the first two books.

I just seriously hope we get Blindsided and the final book released soon as there’s plot lines and narrative threads still left hanging all over the place at the moment.

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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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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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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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Superb start to new military series from Annabeth Albert

Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)Off Base by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love military romances and I love Annabeth Albert so this was a marriage truly made in MM heaven for me.

How much did I want to just grab Zach and give him a massive hug?! The poor guy had so much shit to deal with and his fears about being gay felt so real, especially with the background Annabeth gave him. This book is not for the fainthearted with it’s continual insidious low levels of homophobia.

I honestly don’t think anyone who doesn’t identify as LGBTQ+ can truly understand, even if we can absolutely empathise and sympathise, just how damaging it can be when a percentage of the world thinks there’s something fundamentally wrong with you simply because of how and who you love.

This book takes the military, a hotbed of testosterone and masculinity, and focusses on what it’s like to be gay within those uniforms but it does it on a relatively low level, giving the reader insight into how things can still be a problem even with the repeal of DADT.

Zach is such a complex character, never one note but fully expressed as a young man proud of his service but also scared and bewildered at the hostility expressed against anyone who might possibly be gay by a minority of his team mates. The threat hanging over him from bullying draws him back to his confused youth with an older brother who behaved in the same way and parents who never stepped in the way.

Pike, by contrast, is out and proud but also scared to commit having been burnt once before by a “straight” guy who let him get too close and he desperately tries to just be friends with the taciturn Navy SEAL even though he’s attracted to him and his nature is to be a flirt. He senses how Zach is struggling and does his best to make it easier.

Their gradual slide through friendship into lovers is extremely well done, the tip off point resulting in an explosive encounter which leaves them both reeling. I loved every single bit of this book and never wanted it to stop and now I can’t wait to get to read the others.

Apollo is next and I’m sure hoping there’s a guy waiting to bring joy and sunshine back into his life following the death of his husband because who wouldn’t want the kick ass LT to be happy?!

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My heart’s a quivering mess

Overexposed (In Focus, #4)Overexposed by Megan Erickson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

See that quivering mess, that’s my heart that is, after this book took it, grabbed it, squeezed it a bit and then just for good measure, decided to stick a knife right through it before eventually wrapping it up in bubble wrap and singing a lullaby at it to calm it down.

This is hands down my favourite of all the In Focus series, not taking away anything from the other three because let’s be honest, #JusLanForeverRight?! But this one spoke to me on so many levels, not least the military aspect of it.

Part of it comes from having so many serving or former military people in not only both mine and partner’s families, but also among our friends, as well as that feeling of wondering just how you pick yourself up after a loss, how do you live with a changed family dynamic.

I’d guessed Thad’s secret long before it came out but even so, it still packed a real emotional punch. I felt Levi’s pain, his sense of betrayal, his quite understandable fears of not being able to stay on the sidelines again while a loved one deployed. It’s incredibly hard to be the ones left at home, to be a military spouse or partner is an incredible sacrifice.

But this wasn’t all doom and gloom, there was enough of the reality TV star sass we got to see from Levi in book three to help keep this book from being too much of an emotional weight and there was just enough sexual exchanges to keep the tensions on the boil. Their first time together was lovingly crafted, real and emotionally charged.

As I’ve said with each of the books in this series, they don’t feel NA, they have a maturity to the dialogue and the story telling which elevates them out of the everyday recounting of young men just into their 20s taking their first steps into “proper” adulthood.

But please Megan, don’t leave Matty’s tale untold, he needs to find his beach holiday guy too for the epilogue appearances.

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