olympics

Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer 4.5 Star Review!

   Heels Over Headby Elyse Springer 4.5 Stars!

Jeremy Reeve is one of the best divers in the world, and he’s worked hard to get where he is. He intends to keep pushing himself with one very clear goal in mind: winning gold at the summer Olympics in two years. That medal might be the only way to earn his father’s respect as an athlete.

Brandon Evans is everything Jeremy isn’t: carefree, outgoing, and openly gay. With his bright-blue eyes and dramatic tattoos, he’s a temptation that Jeremy refuses to acknowledge. But Jeremy can’t ignore how talented Brandon is—or that Brandon has no interest in using his diving skills to compete.

They’re opposites who are forced to work together as teammates, but Jeremy’s fear of his own sexuality and Brandon’s disinterest in anything “not fun” may end their partnership before it begins. Until a single moment changes everything, and they help each other discover that “team” can also mean family and love.

Review

t is a real joy to read about such well drawn characters as Brandon and Jeremy.

In Jeremy, we have a driven uptight hero who has suppressed his emotionial and sexual life in the hopes of being the best and therefore good enough. His journey is a long one to letting go of looking for acceptance from his family that will never come.

In Brandon, we have a seemingly carefree hero who depends to much on himself. He lives in the present but does not look to the future with hope.

The sports aspects of this romance are superb. The exploration of what it takes to be best at the world in diving is finely detailed. The coach and the female diver character add emotionial layers to the plot.

The love story is a slow burn because of Jeremey’s struggle not to act on his desire. I love the time the book takes and the many phases. I feel that Brandon was too eager in parts of the book but the closing and how Jeremy and Brandon evolve together and as individuals makes this a wonderful book.

The prose is lovely in every moment.

The Magic Broom by Teegan Loy 4 Stars Review!

     The Magic Broom by Teegan Loy 4 Stars!

With the winter Olympics on the horizon, Cody Mikkelson’s editor assigns him several stories about athletes in the area with gold medal aspirations. But there’s a catch: Cody has to try all the sports when he interviews the athletes—and he is so not an athlete.

The day before his torment begins, four new guys move into the apartment down the hall, including the handsome Shane Spicer. Cody is immediately desperate to figure out if Shane is gay, but both men have busy schedules, leaving little time to socialize. So Cody heads back to work and goes to interview the local curling team, where among brooms, laughter, a sore backside, and an unexpected meeting, Cody finds he just might get his chance after all.

Review

This is a happy sweet funny romp with a reporter and curler. A perfect novella for the Winter Olympics or anytime.

A nice look at the sports and a fun crush. Good stuff!

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata Review!

  From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata 3 Stars!

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

Review

I am always so excited when a new Mariana Zapata book comes out and this one with its deep dive into figure skating has arrived just in time of the Olympics.

We get a great deal of what we love about Zapata’s romances in this tale: slow burn, banter, excellence, friends to lovers (in this case after enemies).

Jasmine’s internal struggles to have a more balanced life as a professional athlete and the steady reveal of Ivan as a hero are wonderfully done as is the relationships with the larger cast.

We really see Jasmine fall in love though it seems our hero has been in love for a long time.

There are lots of great details from surprise pets, complex relationships with parents, a look at bullying that make this novel really good.

However, this is the kind of romance I read and think this was good but it could have been excellent.

I needed much more after the I love you. I needed to see Ivan talk openly about his feelings and where his head was at all these years because the book is told from Jasmine’s perspective.

There is a lot of talk about Jasmine’s body and think there needs to be a reckoning with the hero as body issues are so rampant in the sport. It felt false not to confront this aspect of the novel which is only skimmed here and hinted at there while the hero calls her Meatball. Now, the why of their “banter” is discussed but not at all to the complexity which would have made this a great book nor is the “one year only” aspect of the contact. These elements of the book felt sloppy. There is only one sex scene which I don’t mind but there is a moment in there where it hurts and she doesn’t tell him and then that again is the only erotic intimacy we get… so, yeah.

However!

I have a mad craving for James’ and Jonathan’s romance (please!) Tali’s should get one as well. And I would love to see how Ben and and Jas’s mom feel in love. This would make a great novella collection.

My Hero by Max Vos Review

    My Hero by Max Vos  2 Stars

When he was sixteen years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player – and when Rich says big, he really means ‘bear’. The shy jock remembers his saviour, and the two men become friends. Johnny isn’t put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes. Johnny wants to know all kinds of things – what it’s like to kiss a guy, for instance. Only it doesn’t stop there… Rich finds it difficult to believe that this relationship can go anywhere. Johnny is straight, and Rich isn’t prepared to deal with the heartache he knows will come his way in the future. He has enough on his plate as it is – the Worlds are just around the corner, his father would rather watch a football game than spend time watching his son dive…. What he doesn’t count on is Johnny, who can be very determined. And having Johnny in his life proves to be a catalyst for some pretty earth-shattering changes.

Review

I didn’t hate this. It just ended up being ho hum. The emotionial conflict were pretty flat and the resolutions too fast but then they weren’t all that believable based on the characters to begin with.

I liked the heroes up until Johnny started acting not like himself. The come play in the sex scenes kept moving this toward erotica more than erotic romance which seemed both out of character and out of tone with a basically sweet romance.

I might try another book by this writer to see if character and plot development improves.

Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall #1) by Tara Lain Review

   Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain 2 Stars

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

Review

I have liked several books set in this world but not this one.

It was too short for the kind of work it was trying to do: setting up a poly relationship, coming out, dealing with an abusive ex, internalized and then externalize homophobia, friends to lovers, loved forever.

Every move was just too fast.

Training Season (Training Season, #1) by Leta Blake Review

  Training Season by Leta Blake  3 Stars!

Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

 

 

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. If you like angsty romance, you will love this one. If you like BDSM well done, you will like it as well.

Rob is a wonderful complex character with all kinds of intersting pockets of who he is.

Matty is super messed up. I have trouble setting into a book when the lead needs therapy and does not get it nor is it really talked about. He is messed up in intersting ways though.

It is very rough road for this couple and because the other book I had read by Blake was so funny, I longed for more light at least in parts.

Nix (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club #7.5) by Candace Blevins Review

4 Stars!

Predator and prey…

Nix recently transferred to Chattanooga from the Asheville RTMC chapter. The MC’s new gun store needs someone to teach rifle classes, and Nix was a Special Forces sniper in the military.

Tippy came to Chattanooga to start her life anew. She’s a shooter as well, and she won a silver medal at the Olympics, but she uses a different name now and tries to stay out of the limelight. Most deer can’t function in human society, but she’s found ways to navigate modern life without her deer freezing or running every time something startles her.

Wolves are fiercely monogamous when they fall in love, while deer have trouble understanding the concept of exclusivity. Then there’s the fact wolves eat deer in the wild.

A wolf and a deer madly in love and living happily ever after has to be impossible. Right?

Review

I love a heroine that is very very good at something and a hero who crushes on her for her talent as it embodies who she is.

Our heroine is an Olympic level shooter and gun smith. Our hero is a world class sniper with a big ole crush on her.

Oh, he is a biker wolf shifter and she is a deer shifter. So, yeah.

The romance is hot and touching as predator and prey work out how to be together with cultural differences around sex within the background of a motorcycle club.

I am not thrilled with some elements of how the wolf dealt with the poly piece in terms of what is being said about who and what counts as sex but within the context of this couple and this world it makes sense.

This is a really enjoyable erotic action packed paranormal romance.