Good series start with a sweet self-awakening romance

City Boy (Hot off the Ice, #1)City Boy by A.E. Wasp

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked an awful lot of this book, the plot isn’t beyond the realms of possibility – there are plenty of men who don’t come out until later life for whatever reason – and it felt honest.

I believed that Bryce hadn’t a clue why he wasn’t able to make his marriage work even though he’d loved his wife (they’re over by some years when this story starts) and that his weird feelings about other blokes he’d put down to either admiration of their skills or their personalities, rather than they’d been the crushes of an unaware gay man.

He was beautifully naive and it showed in every interaction with Dakota, making their mountainside hook up all the more heartfelt and emotional.
Dakota was also a nicely rounded character, his hurt and anger at what was happening in his life and how he felt once the new owner of the farm was revealed was also understandable.

But, once they got together, I think it became a little less realistic, there were only minor hurdles thrown in their path (and yes it’s a romance and it’s nice to see that the whole world aren’t homophobic assholes and all their friends and family were fine because they’d all really secretly thought Bryce was gay) but I think a bit more conflict would have worked better.

There is a pervading masculinity in sport, especially in the US’s top four, and I don’t think perhaps enough was given to the real fears that should have been part of Bryce’s decisions he was making regarding his future. It was mentioned but brushed aside slightly.

Now, that’s only a tiny minor criticism and it’s nothing which spoils the flow of the narrative or the romance of the book itself, which is really sweet and has a lot of stupidly hot sex, especially as Bryce is a total gay sex virgin. This was done really well, they didn’t just jump into full on demon monkey sex all over the place!

I had an ARC so there are a fair few typos, grammatical tense mistakes and editing errors which I’d expect would be ironed out by the time the book comes out so they didn’t distract too much from the over all story.
This is the start of a new series from A.E. Wasp and one I’m looking forward to continuing.

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

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New author for me and a nice Dragon shifter romance

Island Pleasures (Wings of Passion Book 1)Island Pleasures by Noah Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’d not read anything by this author before so had no expectations before I started reading this Dragon shifter tale.

Considering the vast majority of the book takes place on a desert island with just the two characters on it, it still had a lot of good world building and a depth to the narrative.

I wasn’t sure about the opening few paragraphs but I get why they were written that way and I think there’s a few time jumps that aren’t really dealt with clearly enough.

Other than that though, this is an enjoyable read. I’m not too keen on the cover though, I think it would have worked better without the propeller!

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Some suspension of disbelief needed but still a sweet book

TrainedTrained by N.M. Pratt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this, it was a pretty sweet read and well written without any real editing mistakes or typos which, after some of the stuff I’ve read in the last month or so is a real joy!

I liked both characters, but there was very definitely an element of “suspend disbelief” while reading it which isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I do love a hopeful story which ends up with a HEA, but for a while just not much was going on other than a fair bit of telling the reader what was happening rather than showing it.

A lot of that was because for the majority of the book, the two MCs were 300 miles apart! The phone calls and text conversations were cute but also got a bit repetitive and while I loved that Jared eventually found the courage to accept his feelings, it would have been nice to have seen the two of them together a bit more.

Also any books where people go through weight loss needs to be handled carefully and I think this one was done well, it was completely Brendan’s choice to do so, but there wasn’t really much focus then given to it once he and Jared had connected other than just a couple of throwaway references.

The epilogue was super sweet thought.

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Another solid romance from Avery Ford

A Marriage ResolutionA Marriage Resolution by Avery Ford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like all her books, there’s light angst, a little bit of steam and a generally sweet romance thrown together with the usual trials of life to make a good solid read.

While there’s nothing out of the ordinary in this one, it has some cute moments and the epilogue is a lot of fun. I’m not sure the side plot with Vincent really worked though, it all got cleared up a bit too easily and quickly for it to seem believable.

However, I liked that Owen decided on his own it was time to move on and that Ethan was too good to let him go.

I’m also ignoring the espionage twist, that was ridiculous and could have been left out altogether imho.

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Quirky not quite paranormal romance

The FinderThe Finder by J.E. Lorin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a quirky mixture of a little bit not quite paranormal and a little bit of a detective thriller sandwiched around a lovely sweet and supportive romance.

While the identity of the baddie was a little bit telegraphed, it didn’t take away from the tension and I did like the sneaky little twist with one of the victims.

There was some clever world building and a nice set of secondary characters. An Epilogue would have been good just to clear up some minor loose ends as I’m not sure if this is a stand alone or not.

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Keira Andrews pulls at the heart strings yet again

35121059 In her latest novel – Road to the Sun – Keira Andrews demonstrates that innate talent she has for realism even in a scenario which on paper is completely unlikely.

The dynamic between Jason and Ben is powerfully brought to life as they connect under Montana’s “Big Sky” out in the wilds of the national park where Ben’s skills as a ranger will be tested to the full after Jason’s eight-year-old daughter Maggie is kidnapped by a murderer on the loose.

There’s passion, there’s emotion, there’s heart-stopping moments of bravery and heroic action, there’s hurt and conflict and there’s pain and suffering but – at the heart of it all – there is love.

The love Jason has for Maggie, who he’s looked after since he was a teenager himself, there’s the broken love Ben once had with his former partner, and boss, Brad who is now living the life he thought they’d have together, there’s the estranged love of Jason’s parents and younger brother and then, finally, there’s the fledgling love which is slowly building between Jason and Ben when the crisis strikes.

When the tensions boil over, it looks like all is lost but under Andrews’ skillful hand, the plot is allowed to expand, develop and come to a conclusion which feels both right and completely believable.

The epilogue is all ends up awesome and helps to give that depth of love that brings a heart-warming feeling to this romance.

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

Another good effort but could have been great

Code Red (The Sierra View #2)Code Red by Max Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

EDIT: Im uping my rating to 4 stars because I did actually enjoy this one and I think I was being a tad harsh knocking two stars off for a minor plot issue.

Argh Max Walker has done it again to me. I always love the ideas behind his books and, in the main, they’re always an enjoyable read. But there’s always something which just stops me from being able to rate them a max 5*.

This time round it’s a bizarre side plot which involves blackmail for no really justified reason – i.e. the reason given in the book plot just didn’t work at all for me – so all the tensions in what was a very fast instalove story came via something I couldn’t fully get onboard with.

Still, both Caleb and Red were lovely characters, I loved their banter and their emotional connection to each other which did feel like it was one of those – attraction at first sight – situations, they probably got to the declarations of love a bit quickly but other than that, their romance was super sweet.

I also absolutely loved the intro chapter, it was a clever way to introduce Red and it worked really well.
I also liked how the red herring of Red’s dad possibly being against their romance worked out and I liked that Red, once he decided he wasn’t going to stay in the closet and Caleb wasn’t going to be a secret, went all out to declare it.

And, once again, Max has two of the most beautiful men on his book cover!

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