Really conflicted with this one

Anything But RealAnything But Real by Alex West

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were elements of this debut romance from Alex West which I absolutely adored there were also times that reading it felt exhausting.

The intriguing way in which it’s written I think perhaps sounded better as an idea than it did in practice as having three different narrative styles in one chapter made it feel jumbled at times.

Still, the romance itself was a sweet one, both friends to lovers and second chance all in one and I liked both Ben and Reid as characters.

Ben was occasionally hard work to read though, we only get his first person thoughts and at times the incessant worrying became too much. Reid we only see through Ben’s eyes and through a third person narration so we only get his motivations in passing, not a constant stream of doubts.

The setting and fake fiance trope, however, worked really well and Ben’s family brought a fair bit of light relief to help ease away the tensions.

There is no smexy times at all in this book, other than a couple of kisses, everything happens off page or in fade to black, which is a little disappointing but not out of keeping with the higher focus on romantic love.

The epilogue is super sweet though and includes a nice time jump showing the two MCs still living their HEA.

Oh, there’s no need for an apostrophe in lots though and there were a couple of other odd grammatical errors which most people probably won’t care about but my journalist/sub-editor head doesn’t skip over.

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Hot, hot, hot! Scorching relationship-led BDSM tale

His MasterHis Master by Bink Cummings

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jeeeeze where’s a bucket of ice when you need one?! This is just my sort of BDSM kink, light on the SM elements and an emotions led Dom/sub relationship which is beautifully depicted in all its glory.

There are a couple of moments which are harsh but once Michael agrees to leave the commune and become his Master’s only, things kick off at a pace which is both scorching hot but also powerfully emotional.

It may be a little unrealistic, given how fast Judge/Master ditches his old life but I truly believed he was that in love and had found his soul mate.

I’ve not read any of Bink’s motorcycle club books but I never felt lost with the characters who also crossed over into this one.

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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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