Tag Archives: student

A heartfelt and angsty journey in young love starts this series

60283865._SY475_Hot Seat by Eli Easton & Tara Lain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must declare an interest from the off here as I beta read this for Eli and Tara and so had a lot of a clue as to where the book was going.

Read Fireman’s Carry before you start this one as it picks up a month or so after the events of that book – it’s free in the Prolific Works Your Book Boyfriend’s Boyfriend giveaway:

https://claims.prolificworks.com/free…

Hot Seat takes the reader on what, for me, felt like a really heartfelt, believable and – at times – intensely frustrating journey, as both Shane and Mike dealt with all the traumas of not only their involvement in the desperate rescue of dozens of people in the recent wild fires, but Mike’s being in the closet.

There are potential triggers (I’m not sure if they’re highlighted), as the family that Mike is lovingly embraced in also has some massive faults, with casually homophobic brothers, a toxic masculinity throughout, and a widely expressed belief that real men can’t be gay.

The tension in the narrative comes from the situation Shane and Mike find themselves in and, for young men just on the cusp of life (they’re 19/turning 21), it was utterly heart-breaking at times to watch the struggle firefighter rookie Mike goes through.

Thankfully, not all is doom and gloom, there are also some amazingly supportive characters throughout both Shane’s life (his Pops is awesome) but also among the Canalis, where Mike’s mum and sister really step up.

When things really come down to the wire, help and support also comes from an unexpected quarter and I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by that.

As my friend Dani says in her review, this one needed an Epilogue as it’s only a tentative step forward as a pair at the end.

But, as the series continues with other members of the Canali family (Donny is up next!), I’m hoping we’ll get updates on Mike and Shane throughout those books.

I’m pretty sure Mike’s uncle and his son are likely candidates for books too and I’m intrigued as to who else might be in play.

One thing I will say though, is that I didn’t feel like the ages of the rest of the characters was defined enough. Donny is supposed to be 25 but still acts like he’s fresh out of school at times, same with older brother Gabe, who I think is 28. Only the eldest brother felt like an elder brother!

But, it’s a minor point in an overall reading experience which really worked for me, even with the relatively young age of Shane and Mike.

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

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Brooke and Ella at their absolute best.

59353203._SY475_Secrets & Lies by Brooke Blaine & Ella Frank

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved everything about this book, from the moment that Ash and Ryder met, to the awesome Epilogue set six years later.

It’s taboo, pay attention if that’s the kind of thing that squicks you out. For me, I wasn’t particularly bothered given the circumstances of how the pair met.

It’s seriously hot, but it’s also much more than just sex. While there’s an instant lustful attraction between the two men, there’s also a meeting of minds, of similar passions and interests.

The age gap between Ash and Ryder never really feels like a bit deal, Ryder is an old soul, he’s had to mature growing up with his military single dad, so he’s used to looking after himself.

The forbidden aspect of their situation is dealt with both realistically and appropriately imho, I liked how Brooke and Ella took that part of the story.

The “Third Act” crisis point isn’t drama created for the sake of it, it fit perfectly into the narrative and I felt it was handled well. The Epilogue is absolutely fabulous and I firmly believed that this pair would see out their lives together.

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

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A lovely romance about a widower falling in love again

10_V&V_Hawthorne_ebook_FINALDaybreak by Kate Hawthorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is super sweet, surprisingly angst free and quietly a bit kinky.

Although things happen over a very short space of time, it really doesn’t feel like instalove.

Instead, the reader can see the journey Jasper goes on when he begins to awaken from the self-imposed isolation he’s been living in since the death of his husband.

One thing I’ll mention here, and it’s probably a more “me thing” than any kind of issue, but I’d have liked to know more about Michael, the dead husband.

He’s clearly a huge part of Jasper’s life, from school through marriage at a really young age, to losing him.

But he remains only a kind of shadow in the narrative.

That may have been a deliberate choice, but for me, the lack of “why” Jasper falling for Liam was such a big thing (i.e. because of his devotion and devastation at Michael’s death), meant it didn’t have as big an impact as it could have done.

It’s the only thing that I wished was different though, as the rest of the book is just absolutely lovely.

Liam is a sweetheart, with his own issues he’s having trouble facing, but as he slowly falls in love with both Jasper and Vermont, you can see him realising something had to change.

The final chapters are glorious and very much the start of a wonderful HEA. There’s also a bonus Epilogue via a newsletter sign up.

#ARC kindly received from the publisher Heart Eyes Press in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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