Sweet romance with two likeable characters

Heart Trouble (Ashe Sentinel Connections, #6)Heart Trouble by D.J. Jamison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was originally part of the Ashe Sentinel series but it now being used by the author to kick off her new medical set series.

It’s a sweet romance with low level angst and not much drama added in just for the sake of plot, instead we are given a nice relationship hiccup which felt believable given the two MCs backgrounds.

There’s a lovely epilogue to bring things forward a few months and give the reader the happy ever after this story deserves.

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Definitely steamy and a little bit kinky

Steam (Collected Stories Book 1)Steam by Kay Simone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read a couple of these already but it was a delight to get two brand new stories as well from the very talented pen of Kay Simone.

I think my favourite was definitely the daddy kink alternative meeting for The Aftermath’s delightful couple Daniel and Will. Second favourite was the escort hook up, with its edging and extreme sexual tension.

Overall though each of the stories brings something interesting to the table in a light, but decidedly sexy, fashion.

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What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be

Given the CircumstancesGiven the Circumstances by Brad Vance

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never read this author so I had no preconceived ideas about what I’d be reading and so it was a very pleasant surprise to get a well written exploration of the pressures of fame in the sporting world for two gay men.

I loved Roger, strong reliable steadfast and true, secure in his talent and the support of his father. But Brian, oh how I wanted to hug Brian and tell him it would get better if he could just believe in himself.

I loved the world setting, I loved that there wasn’t an overt focus on the institutionalised homophobia found in big sports like American Football and baseball. I loved Jacob, Roger’s dad, who was the perfect role model and I loved Joe, who gave Brian the other father figure he’d been missing.

This book is written like a series of vignettes, peeking into bits of Roger and Brian’s lives and it worked really well. It never felt disjointed and watching their sexual and loving relationship develop over time was a clever way of drawing out the narrative.

The sex was hot, hot, hot, Roger loving how Brian just took control and made him fly. But the scenes during Brian’s worst times, when they would just hold each other were also beautifully told.

The ending felt earned, a true payoff for both men.

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Sweet little romance

TurbulenceTurbulence by Kyan Christopher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apart from Hudson crying a tad too often for the emotional level, I thought this was a sweet little romance with two nicely constructed main characters.

There was a bit of dramatic effect plotting around the 75% mark but, other than that, it was a gentle build up with two ordinary nice guys finding love after a random encounter in a plane.

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A sweet! yes I said sweet, Sex & Mayhem story

Heart Ripper: Coffin Nails MC (Sex & Mayhem, #9)Heart Ripper: Coffin Nails MC by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well this one was a change from the others, vastly less violent but still with its moments but with a much sweeter tone and actually some flowers!

There’s still the stupidly hot bikers, the sex in this one is quite kinky as virginal David discovers he’s actually quite a dirty boy in bed, in the bathroom, round the back of the clubhouse and a multitude of other places.

I liked having a non white MC as well. Raja was Indian but it was just one aspect of him, it wasn’t made a big deal out of. There was also a lot less trauma in this story too and a little bit of romance.

It had humour too, although it might just be me but the more I read snippets of Tooth and Lucky, the more I wonder if they’ve had a lobotomy as they don’t resemble the people they were in their own book. Lucky comes over as a stirring bitch and Tooth as an upright prude but neither of them were like that in their romance. Ah well.

Overall I’ve given it one star less as it seemed a bit more disconnected from the motorcycle club plotlines but it was still a great read.

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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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Regency spy romp with an Indian setting is enjoyable but nothing new

The Secret of the India Orchid (Proper Romance)The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a decent Regency tale spiced up with a bit of a spy mystery and set in the British Empire out in India, which added colour and flavour to the narrative.

Unfortunately, I’d spotted the villain as soon as he first appeared on the page but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment of the story and the way the plot followed through was well done and didn’t drag endlessly on.

The romance element of the book was also well crafted, with both Sophia and Anthony appearing as properly fleshed out characters. There has been, I believe, one book before this one with the same setting and characters but concerning Sophia’s brother Jack and his romance, which I hadn’t read but it didn’t interfere with my understanding of the relationships in this book.
There was a little exposition at the start and then the story set off on its own journey without a lot more and was allowed to show itself without needless telling.

I liked Sophia, she’s a slight variant on the usual Regency heroine but her personality was rounded and her actions believable. Anthony was more on the lines of the Napoleonic spy – an earl masquerading as a rake and wastrel – and, again, his actions felt true.

Overall I enjoyed this book but it’s nothing I’ve not read before within this genre so it didn’t stand out as being new or a novel concept.

#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.

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