Beautiful love story in a New Zealand landscape

Mended with GoldMended with Gold by Lee Welch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is beautiful, that’s the best way I can describe it. I’ve not read anything by Lee Welch before but I’ll be looking for her other stuff now.

For a novella she manages to create such a rich and compelling storyline with two fully developed characters and a pitch perfect setting. It’s only not a 5* read for me because I wanted more than just a short peak to Alex and Joe.

These two richly portrayed men are both scarred, one in body, one in his soul and it takes a long slow almost torturous build up to get them together. By the time that happens, and it’s mutual blow jobs only, the book ends, but with such a promise of joy and happiness going forward.

I loved this, it just brought happiness to my heart.

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

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No Limits (No Shame, #2)No Limits by Nora Phoenix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

This is far better plotted than book one was but it still doesn’t seem to be able to make its mind up about what sort of story it is.

There’s elements of BDSM, elements of possible poly relationship, elements of crime thriller and elements of military comfort but it’s all jumbled up together.

There’s also the odd grammatical errors, this one’s stand out being Connor admitting he’s gay being a momentum occasion instead of a momentous one. They stand out for me probably more than they would for a casual reader because I was a journalist and sub-editor for almost two decades.

Now, having said all of the above, I found Josh and Connor’s relationship development to be well done, the Dom/sub nature making good sense as a me and for Josh to deal with his PTSD and it didn’t give me any magic dick feelings.
Although, speaking of, the descriptions of Connor’s and his inhibitions about it were both hilarious and beautifully emotional at the same time, proving it’s not just men with small penises who might have hang ups. It was handled well and worked within the narrative.

Plus, for all the seriousness of a lot of the plot, there was also a good amount of humour in this one to temper the serious elements. It’ll be interesting now seeing what happens with Josh’s wayward brother and how Indy’s criminal threats from his past get resolved.

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

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Can’t make up my mind with this one – which is the case with the story itself

No Filter (No Shame Series Book 1)No Filter by Nora Phoenix

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The plus points: This is well edited and isn’t plagued with poor punctuation and grammar as can sometimes be the case with, as I understand it, a debut novel.

Another plus point is the loyalty and friendship of Noah and his best friend Josh. Also a plus point is the scene setting and world building.

Sex is hot too and here’s where the first minus appears. The oddness of this possible menage a trois because it never really seems sure where it wants to go. There’s no real attempt at either making this a story about two men accepting a third to complete their own relationship or to just have the sexual encounters be threesome.

Instead it diverts off into two different storylines with yet another bloke introduced who is obviously the love interest for Josh in book two and a narrative about Indy’s dangerous background and him and Noah getting it on.

There’s not cheating in the traditional sense though, each of the three men is fully aware of what’s going on and there are reasons given for why each one behaves as they do.

Ultimately though it turned into a bit of an accidental sex-fest (as I don’t think that’s what the author’s narrative probably meant to be) and lost the impetus somewhat and it was left on a HFN with possible threat on the horizon.

I probably would read book two though to see if Josh and Connor work it out and because Connor’s real name is Ignatius 😉

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

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Epic epilogue on top of a beautifully told story of pain and redemption

Between These SheetsBetween These Sheets by Devon McCormack

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love it when the epilogue of a story jumps years into the future and not just a few weeks. The one in this romance is wonderful, it brings with it such hope and happiness and it makes everything that went before it a well earned journey.

War isn’t kind, it’s cruel and vicious, destructive and damaging, even in those times of justified conflict, the suffering it brings has lingering effects.
This book looks at what it’s like afterwards, when you have to deal with the aftermath of a war zone, what PTSD can do to a person’s brain and how it affects every single thing they do.

Reese and Jay were fully fleshed out characters, their flaws and faults as real as their positive traits. Reese was terrified he’d hurt Jay simply because he couldn’t always cope. Jay was scared he’d be the second choice, the one not good enough for anything but sex.

And speaking of sex, Devon sure knows how to write those, this book has some incredibly passionate moments between the two men and some off the charts hot action to leave you flustered.

What I enjoyed the most about this though was that, in spite of all their hang ups and insecurities, they leant on each other and they talked, truly talked, through the pain.

And a shout out for the stunning cover from Jay Aheer and Allan Spiers Photography.

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Gut wrenching but also full of hope

Falling DownFalling Down by Eli Easton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second of the books I’ve had on my Kindle for ages which I knew was going to be a tough read because of the subject matter.

However, it’s not quite as bleak as Weight of the World and for a lot of the book, it’s a fairly traditional romance setting. Easton handles the themes of suicide and depression with a gentle touch and the voice of Josh’s mum was a clever way to allow the reader into his thoughts without loads of exposition.

I loved Mrs. Fisher, the elderly lady whose house Mark and Josh were painting, she brought a gentleness to the story and was a well fleshed out secondary character who perhaps, through her own loneliness because of her children living so far away, gained a sort of substitute family with the two men and provided Josh with a grandmotherly unconditional affection he’d not had before.

When the big dramatic moment came, it wasn’t unexpected but it was handled well and I liked that Mark’s family came to help out, dealing with him coming out at the same time, in what I thought was a fairly reasonable way, not quite perfect with enough of an edge to feel realistic.

Josh’s hurt was real, his behaviour true to character, if heartbreakingly sad, and the build up to the ending was well paced with more than one moment which make me catch my breath. I didn’t get as teary with this one as I did with Weight of the World because throughout this book just seemed to have a bit more hope.

Ultimately there is happiness and a sure sense of new beginnings for both Josh and Mark amid the peaceful landscapes of New England.

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All my favourite things in one book

Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1)Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I’m a gamer, not only am I a gamer but I’ve been a beta tester since 2000, right when the MMORPG genre was first kicking in with EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot, and not only am I a gamer but I met both my ex husband and my now OH while gaming.

This book speaks my language, I know so many couples who met in cyberspace in an online game and went on to forge a life together and so reading about Garrett and Kai was truly real for me.

Plus the sex scenes in this book are incendiary, scorching and steamy and the level of dirty talk is just perfect, again something anyone whose ever had an online relationship knows all about.

Plus it had a military man sure of his sexuality but not much else and a gamer who found it hard to relate to the offline world.

I know these guys, I’ve gamed with these guys, I’ve seen them struggle but eventually triumph and that’s what this romance is, a triumph.

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