enemies to lovers

Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Review:

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can’t tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn’t try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Review

   Mature Content  by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell 4 Stars! 

My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.

 

Review

 

I liked a great deal about this book. Beau and Zane have an intense sexy connection that is realistic and compelling. I like the circle of friends and the exploration of internet fame and communities. The writers do a good job thinking about persona, brand, self, and authentic selves, and the right to privacy. There are some good discussion on the need for varied representation of gayness and I particularly like the rant about gay sex being seen as more dangerous the het sex. Good stuff.

I believe in the romance. This is by far the most erotic of the series and nice work is done thinking about sexual desire as well.

I wish the book had more character details here and there. Zane’s relationships romantic and otherwise in particular.

Beau keeps to a really annoying point of view and allows himself to be controlled for way too long. This time in the book could have been better spent with Zane and Beau in a public relationship.

But there is an epic grovel so that is good.

The series is taking a rest but I can see a number of characters that could use their own stories so I hope it picks up again!

The Queen & the Homo Jock King (At First Sight, #2) by T.J. Klune Review

 The Queen & the Homo Jock King   by T.J. Klune  4 Stars! 

Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.

Or so he tells himself.

It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

 

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

Review

This is an over the top romantic comedy with a great enemies to lovers pretend relationship theme.

However, Klune points out the silliness of the plot and that makes it even more funny. Underneath all the shenanigans are powerful friendships and made families and a wonderful love story of taking risks, trying again, and growing up.

The banter is just amazing. A little too non stop at times even. I wish I had gotten to know Darren as well as Sandy but it a great romance and you will want to read whole passages out loud to whoever is near to you!

This Guy Kills Me by Anlyn Hansell Review

  This Guy Kills Me  by Anlyn Hansell 3.5 Stars!

She has the face that could launch a thousand ships.

And the personality to sink every last one of them.

He sells his own special brand of life insurance, as in…death.

What happens when the one person you find you can’t live without is the same person that is eventually going to kill you?

Jane Hamilton is one hot mess until she meets the World’s most well-adjusted killer. He needs her help and he’s not above kidnapping her to get it. What he doesn’t expect is a woman who isn’t at all what she seems. Except crazy, that is.
She’s definitely crazy.
But then again, in his world? Crazy is the norm.

Review

This book is a great deal of fun. If I took it seriously, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. I didn’t and it was wonderful.

The heroine is living in utter poverty and has a psychic gift that makes her blurt out the awful things she see about people.

The hero is a hitman.

This is a mad cap romp with tons of humor and great characters all around. The romance is very sweet as they fall in love with each other despite each other.

It would have had a higher score if had resolved a few issues around the hero’s work and the heroine’s family but it really a hoot.

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole Review

 No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole 4 Stars!

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.

When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever Kaderin encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she’s unable to complete a kill.

And when the prize of a legendary month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when Kaderin is forced to choose between the vampire she’s falling for and reuniting her family, how can she live without either?

Reviews

This series is a must read for any Paranormal Romance Fan.

A fierce kick ass heroine and a hot vampire on a month long quest really put each other through the ringer.

Great action and a great love story!

Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall Review

 Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall 4 Stars!

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn’t met anyone like Fen before.

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Review

This is my first Alexis Hall book and I was impressed.

The writing is lyrical and such a pleasure to sink into. I love the detail of the North of England Contemporary setting geographically, historically, culturally and in the dialect.

The romance is compelling. I have a great discomfort with the falling in love with my former bully theme but Hall does a good job of dealing with all the layers though even more self reflection and therapy on both their parts would not have hurt.

The grief and depression of Fen’s character and yet solid internal adulthood paired with Alfie’s outward adulthood with the seeking of a full recognition of self and needs and wants make for a compelling love story.

They are both great wounded loving. people and the cast is wonderfully complex as well. They have friends and family and jobs. Those things all evolve as they fall in love and choose a life together.

The main thing that keeps this from being an smashing success of a romance for me is that Alfie’s character is given more light than Fen’s so that when Fen makes some decisions, we are left a little uncomfortable as to if that his best self because we need to see more of Fen’s healing than we do,

Overall, I highly recommend this book for a lush and engrossing romance.

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole Review

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole 4 Stars!

The terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

Review

I will admit to a mew of displeasure when I started this book. I wasn’t a huge fan of the last main book in this series when this new group of allies were introduced– Morior,

Here is why….in the last three books we get main characters we have never met before and very little time with those we like. This is no fun for a fan of a long series.

There are a pile of characters who deserve and HEA–some of them are still drowning over and over at the bottom of the ocean.

However, after I settled in, even though the love story is a quilt of pieces from other romances in the series (a little kidnapping, a little reincarnated mate, enemies to lovers) I enjoyed the book.

Lila and Sian had great banter and chemistry. She is very clever. His being the Primordial is very cool. She comes into her own power and he suffers for his jerkhood. Good stuff.

The real star of the show for me though in this book was Hell. Amazing setting, mythos, magic, and animals. The Dragon King is cool too.

So, next book in the series with the alliance of time traveling monsters characters I will be happier about since I have meet them and care a bit.

Perv (Filth, #1) by Dakota Gray Review

 Perv (Filth Book 1)  by Dakota Gray 3 Stars!

I’m honest about what I am. You want to screw until you can’t see straight? I’m your guy. You want to experience the best oral orgasm of your life, don’t pass go and collect two-hundred dollars. Eating you for dessert is my specialty. I live for that. Skinny, average or meat on your bones, I don’t care. Blonde, brunette…white, Asian, black…
Are you pink where it counts? Then you’re my type.
I’m your guy.
For the duration of our affair, I will call you Sugar because I can’t bother to retain your name.
That’s the kind of man I am, and you will know that going in. I make sure of it.
So it’s not my fault her friend loved me, but She is going to make me pay for that.
And I’m too addicted to her taste to walk away.

Review

Hmmm.

The most intersting part of me about this book isn’t the fetish that Nate has for downtown, rather it is the more quiet discussion of connection and objectification and grief.

Those parts of the romance were powerful for me, however, Robyn’s and Nate’s working stuff out should have been on the page and in the book. Instead, we get melodrama, angst, and don’t get the well deserved falling in love.

Revenge plot, jerk heroes and deep 1 person are not my favorites so this book was climbing a steep hill with me.

The sexy stuff is sexy (though opening a romance with him with someone not the heroine makes me cringe a bit).

So, didn’t work that great for me and the author’s note at the end of the book annoyed me as a reader who is happy to see something different.

However, I will try the next book in the series as Nate’s friends are intersting.

Barbarian’s Mate (Ice Planet Barbarians, #6) by Ruby Dixon Review

3.5!

‘Resonance’ is supposed to be a dream – that’s when your soulmate is chosen for you. And everyone on the ice planet has hooked up with a big, hunky soulmate of their own…except me. So do I want a mate? Heck yeah. More than anything, all I’ve ever wanted is to be loved by someone.

Except that the soulmate chosen for me? My least favorite person on the darn ice planet. Haeden’s the most cranky, disapproving, unpleasant, overbearing male alien…so why is it that my body sings when he gets close? Why is he working so hard to prove to me that he’s not as awful as I think he is?

I hate him…don’t I?

 

Review

 

I really liked this addition to the series. We get a lot of couple time. The characters grow. We get to watch them fall in love.

They are unique characters with well developed back stories. It feels great when they see each other fully and fall in love.

Very good!

Neverwylde (The Rim of the World, #1) by Linda Mooney Review

Review:

Neverwylde (The Rim of the World) (Volume 1) - Linda Mooney

wo species, bitter enemies, are determined to destroy each other, until they realize they need one another to survive a major catastrophe.

As they race through a nebulous space anomaly in the midst of battle, the Terrans and Seneecians are blown through a wormhole to crash land on an uncharted world. A half world. A world containing the remains of a long-dead civilization.

Lt. Kelen Chambliss knows she has no reason to trust the furred, humanoid creatures, but she and her crew members cannot survive without their help, and the Seneecians cannot survive without theirs. Neither can she ignore the fearsome-looking one called Kyber, with his wicked talons and piercing green eyes.

As they slowly come to realize there is no escape or forthcoming rescue from the barren planet, Kelen learns there is much about the enemy she never knew. Including the fact that Kyber’s formidable appearance hides a strong, brave, and caring heart.

 

Review

 

What is here in this book is very good. It is a really interesting world with an enemies to lovers theme.

 

The love comes a little fast and easy but its a high stress survival situation. I like the details of the planet, the hero and heroine are wonderful, and the breakdown of milterary command and how much what mattered before doesn’t matter at all now is great.

 

But then the book ends with the group in peril. It is kinda a happy for now but not one I can trust.

 

I was annoyed. I hate serials which this feels like.

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