Didn’t feel the love in this one sadly

Smitty's Sheriff (Hope, #3)Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can’t put my finger on just what was wrong with this one but it didn’t work for me. I usually love a May to December romance and this had all the necessary elements on the surface but it left me feeling flat.

Rich was a difficult character to find any empathy with, he came across as a jerk for a lot of the story and he treated Todd like a young child rather than a lover on frequent occasions.

The big hook on their relationship troubles was mis communication and it just totally grinds my gears. A man Rich’s age should know better than to just assume things and as a Sheriff he’s supposed to be intelligent enough to deduce things rationally.

Todd was a sweetie, naive but determined to get his man back, I just didn’t believe in the relationship unfortunately.

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Gorgeous new series starter from Brooke Blaine is a second chances delight

A Little Bit Like Love (South Haven, #1)A Little Bit Like Love by Brooke Blaine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved, absolutely loved this tale of second chances, of finding your place, of going back and making something right, of getting the boy you never forgot and throwing out the damaging things which have made you unhappy.

Brooke Blaine is supremely good at this type of romance, she builds up the tensions but never throws in “plot for plot’s sake” dramady (as I like to call it). The drama in this book comes wholly from within the narrative and follows the natural progression of two men – who were each tricked into thinking the other had dismissed them as unimportant after a single night of passionate commitment – when they find out the truth nearly a decade later.

I loved Lucas and Jackson, I loved the way they eased back into their teenage experiences but with a hint of holding back just in case. Then, when everything came out in the open, how they fully embraced the fact they’d never stopped holding a torch for the other.

It made perfect sense for Lucas to react as he did, the pain he’d kept inside him for eight years had been lanced and then he saw something which he felt was taking him back to the night his heart had been broken. And Jackson, he needed to have the confrontation with his past so that he could finally make the break from a life he’d been neatly slotted into without ever having a choice.

And the setting, this is the beginning of a new series with a whole host of beautifully drawn secondary characters who will be getting their stories too and I can’t wait to find out more about Shaw and Bash and I hope we still hear from Syd as it’s such a pleasant change to have “the female rival” not be an utter witch.

This romance is sexy, it’s spicy, it’s hot and passionate but it’s also about finding and reconnecting, it’s about emotions and love and it’s about making the choice to trust even though you’ve been hurt by the person to whom you’re handing over your heart.

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

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Sweet second chances alpha/omega romance

Tying the KnotTying the Knot by Casey Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5* I liked this one, no silly drama or angst thrown in for the sake of plot, just two men reconnecting after a childhood friendship.

Casey Cameron’s created an interesting twist on the alpha/omega dynamic usually found in shifter stories which is enjoyable to read. There’s the ascending and mating but not as much of the “mine, mine” emotions which can overpower a storyline and turn it into a one sided power play.

Fox was sweet, uncertain of his next steps after his alpha fiancee called off their wedding. Dustin was afraid of his alpha reactions to the man he’d never stopped thinking about since he’d left for catering college six years earlier.

It was nice to watch them waking up to the fact they’d never stopped loving each other. There was also a low slow burn with sex not really happening until the final quarter but when they finally did come together, it was passionate and emotional.

There a nice epilogue which glimpses into their future.

#ARC kindly supplied by the author in return for an unbiased and honest review.

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Not bad for a debut novel

Don't Walk Away (Walking Strong Book #1)Don’t Walk Away by Ollie Sparks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one probably needed on more beta read or another run through editing as there were some odd uses of punctuation and a few grammar and tense mix ups, as well as the wrong character name being used during a conversation.

Setting those points aside, this had the makings of a great story and, for the most part, it lived up to them. The second chance trope is a flexible one which also allows an author to throw in other plot twists and in this we also have an element of former friends turned enemies reconnecting.

Dialogue was at times clumsy, but overall it was a good couple of hours of time reading a sweet romance.

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Another wonderful romance from Jay Northc

Into YouInto You by Jay Northcote

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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4.5* This book makes you smile with its little hint of magic and mystery, the humour and the full flush of young love.

I love body swapping stories so this was right up my alley and it was very well done, a ‘realistic’ twist to get two best friends who’d fallen apart from each other to realise that what they’d had at the age of 14 really was something special.

Olly and Scott were well rounded characters, each unique with their own distinct voice and expressions. The setting was also firmly laid down with the English flavour of secondary school, A Levels (arghhhhhh they’re a nightmare!), football and school plays, and the excitement of university.

There’s not a lot in the way of steam, it’s light as I’d expect when the MCs are just 18 but what there is has passion and emotion and a feeling of true connection.

Jay is one of my favourite authors and I don’t think I’ve ever failed to be entertained by one of her stories.

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