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.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Gray for You hit all the right notes

I might be your your fantasy. But I’m nobody’s forever…

7e43543a-d695-4cf1-a384-8b45f9782ad2

Spencer Spears’ second installment in the 8 Million Hearts series is a fun romp through the making of a high class porn film – yes there exists such a thing! In fiction at any rate, and centres on Gray, owner of Maggie’s Bar where Ben and Adam played their music in book one.

Now, you’d expect, it having the porn link (Gray is an ex New York porn star voted best in the game for four years running) that this book would be all about the sex.

But, surprisingly not. The other protagonist is former child star Tyler Lang, now in his early 20s and reeling after one two many disasters and a media storm of epic proportions.

He’s looking for something different, a way to take control of the life which had, up until his latest drugs related disaster (and oh how my heart went out to him when he couldn’t remember even buying the coke that had been found in his beat up minivan) been firmly operated by his presently estranged father (more on that ass later).

Their two worlds collide during the filming of a book which has been gaining attention as a high-brow, literary gay porn novel. Tyler is deliciously inexperienced but has a reputation for being a player, all untrue. He’s not even 100% sure he’s gay until he meets Gray and then watches one of his old scenes online.

For Gray, he’s been hanging on to the hope that his dick of a “boyfriend” will finally tell his family about them and admit they’re a couple when he’s dumped, yet again. He’s felt rejected and unworthy his whole life, with the exception of Maggie, who took him in, became his guardian angel and eventually left him her bar and a shedload of properties.

Together they start to navigate their way to a relationship which is both supportive and encouraging of each other, it’s beautiful to read how each opens up to the possibility that there might be someone who sees them for who they are.

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

 

Fell a bit flat for me sadly

Under the BoardwalkUnder the Boardwalk by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

I’m not sure just what it was which stopped this one from being a higher rating but I just didn’t really get into it.

It’s beautifully written, as I’d expect from Felice, but I just wasn’t bothered about either of the MCs which is totally on me and not on the quality of the story.

The setting is glorious, I could see, hear and smell the boardwalk, the sea, the heat of the beach, but I never connected to either Alexi or Cam.

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

View all my reviews

Paranormal MF delight from Megan Erickson

Blood Guard (Mission #1)Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First she does shifters, then she does vampires, there is nothing Megan Erickson can’t turn her hand to when it comes to creating great worlds.

I can’t think of the last time I deliberately picked up an MF romance, it was most likely a historical as that’s about the only type – outside of reviewing contemporary chick lit – where I’ll even consider it.

But I was right to trust in Megan to avoid all the tropes which have reduced traditional MF romances down to insipid pathetic heroines incapable of looking after themselves and arrogant alpha male arses for heroes.

Her Athan is an alpha male but he is a considerate, honourable, encouraging and loyal one and Tendra is no mild or meek woman, she’s strong and courageous.

The world building is good, there’s a nice cast of secondary characters and the plot narrative is interesting. The sex scenes were well crafted and I believed the chemistry between them.

This book ties up their individual story arc but leaves things open for book two, which I’m expecting to be Athan’s brother Idris and their enemy’s daughter.

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

View all my reviews

More fabulous “hexy” fun times

Hexmaker (Hexworld, #2)Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series really is a delightful original, a steampunk dystopian alternative reality set in an America resembling turn of the century Edwardian society.

The hexes which make up the power in this world are intriguing and detailed and the witches and familiars who have the skills to power them are fully fleshed out characters.

I loved both Owen and Malachi, the difference in their respective backgrounds and stations in life worked wonderfully well against the backdrop of more anarchist plotting.

Lovely to see guest appearances from Tom and Cicero as well as Dominic and Rook. I hope there’s a book three on its way soon.

View all my reviews

Solid opener for this cop based series

Fire and Water (Carlisle Cops Book 1)Fire and Water by Andrew Grey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the setting of this one, the Beauty and the Beast parallel was simple but effectively done.

Terry and Red were a bit quick to fall in love but I think the heightened circumstances of what was happening went someway to alleviate that.

Red was a sweetheart and I liked how Terry realised he’d made a mistake with his first impression and tried to be a better person. The police procedural element of the story was also handled quite realistically, although it did leave some of the plot hanging.

The epilogue was quite sweet too and hopefully there will be more of these two in cameos throughout the rest of the series.

View all my reviews