The one I’d been waiting for!

The Hideaway (Lavender Shores Book 5)The Hideaway by Rosalind Abel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best one yet easily for me. I’d been waiting for Connor and Micah’s story since this series started and I first read the hints on the author’s website that there might be more between this pair than just brothers (not blood brothers so stop panicking!)

It was certainly worth the effort wait, although I’d have loved to read it earlier in the series, it really did work best as the final one in this first block of five stories from Brandon Witt’s alter ego.

There were times when I wanted to give Connor a shake and tell him to get over himself and I really truly wanted to punch Gilbert at one point because of his reaction, but overall I think the situation was very well handled.

Micah’s little hideaway was a perfect location for a lot of the most emotional scenes in the book and, as ever, Rosalind’s light touch gave the narrative credibility.

The angsty was also believable and the epilogue was fantastic so this one gets a thumbs up there as well. Now I want to know why Seth hates Charlie so much and if Adrian and the red headed bookstore owner get their own Ore.

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Good bones of a story in this hockey romance

Country Boy (Hot off the Ice, #2)Country Boy by A.E. Wasp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

There’s a really good story here but it’s suffering under the weight of some editing and proofing lapses, there’s odd tenses, missing words and at one point, one of the MCs’s father’s name changes in the same paragraph.

As this is an ARC, I’m hoping they’ll be ironed out before release as AE Wasp has a real talent for putting some serious messages in the heart’s of her story telling.

This one surrounds the insidious way religion is used by a (thankfully small) minority to persecution and terrify the life out of those who don’t conform to heterosexual norms.

Paul has spent his whole life being told gays will go to Hell and that it’s wrong, a perversion, so he doesn’t react well after spending a night with college rival hockey player Robbie.

The proverbial hits big time though when he’s transferred to the same professional team a couple of years later and all those feelings of attraction are still there.

There’s a lot of complex emotions being dealt with in this book, as well as the sweet romance, and sometimes it gets itself all caught up in trying to do too much.

Robin’s inattentive parents and their disregard for his career, his transgender pseudo aunt Georgie playing college football with Paul’s dad and knowing there’s something off about his extreme religious views, should have been dealt with separately really.

It muddled up the narrative at that point so it felt like the big reveal from his past was there as a specific plot point.

However, the very sharp reminder of the terrifying events of the 1980s with the AIDS crises was very well done.

I don’t think people who weren’t alive at that time can quite understand the horror and the fear which was projected around the world including here in the UK as the “gay plague” saw people dying in their hundreds, then thousands.

I felt for Paul throughout but I also wanted to kick him up the backside but i accept its difficult to change a mindset which has been drip fed to you for so long.

Both characters are quite young but they read as fairly mature, both were able to communicate, albeit at times in sign language, so there was no misunderstanding plot here.

The ending is really lovely and there are more potential pairings set up in this for a third book.

#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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