romantic gesture

Playing for Keeps (Glasgow Lads Book 1) by Avery Cockburn Review

    Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn 3.5 Stars! 

Fergus Taylor is damaged goods. Reeling from a brutal breakup, he’s determined to captain his LGBT soccer team out of scandal and into a winning season. For that, he needs strict rules and careful plans. He does NOT need a brash, muscle-bound lad messing with his head and setting his body afire.

John Burns has a rule of his own: Don’t get attached. Boyfriends are for guys with nothing to hide. Nobody—not his university mates, not the men he beds—knows his family’s shame. Now his double life is starting to unravel, thanks to a certain Highlander whose storm-riddled eyes turn John inside out, who wears a kilt like he was born in it.

Fergus is the first man John wants to share his secret with—but he’s the last man who could handle it. John knows the truth would shatter Fergus’s still-fragile heart. But how can he live a lie when he’s falling in love?

Review

This is my first book by Avery Cockburn but it won’t be my last.

I love the idea for the series which is an  LGBTQA soccer team in Scotland. The series has a lads title but I hold the lassies get a series as well.

I expected the book to be a bit lighter than it was but the angst here is well down and powerful.

This is an inter faith star crossed lovers romance more than the heartbroken romance that that the blurb conveys.

The love story deals with the tensions between Protestants and Catholics in current Scotland and it also deals with refugees from hate coming to Britain (though not in its leads characters though I hope the series will one day)

I don’t want to give too much away but it is a compelling love story and super hot as well. We get kilts. Grrr.

The love is a bit rushed but the heroes form a deep like as well as lust and secondary characters are great.

Someone Else’s Love Story (Shandi Pierce #1) by Joshilyn Jackson Review

  Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 4 Stars! 

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Review

There is a so much to love about this b0ok. The lyrical writing, amazing characters, details of place and time.

This isn’t a romance really (exactly) as the actual couples (there are two) spend most of the book apart but we do get Happily Ever Afters that are well earned,

Our hero is a brilliant neurodivergent and utterly wrecked with grief and rage. We get his love story in flashback. He is the king of romantic gestures and has an amazing bestie.

The heroine is much younger (and not his heroine it will turn out. Not a spoiler! The title gives this away). You have to read the book to get her story (cause that would be a spoiler) but the writer has a very interesting exploration of a pile of topics with her. You may or may not like it but it will make you think.

I wish her love story had been given more page time and after time. I am a romance reader and I want my romance. lol

It is a great book with a lovely ending.

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel, #1) by Twyla Turner Review

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel Book 1) by Twyla Turner  2.5 Stars! 

She’ll be the greatest fight of his life…

Bradyn ‘The Red Scot’ MacTavish is the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world, despite his humble beginnings as the fat kid growing up. A tragedy that befell his life changed him and made sure that he never felt helpless again. He spent years making a name for himself in the octagon as an alpha beast, but when it comes to the ladies he is a fumbling mess. Always feeling like the unpopular kid. The day that Payton Bailey walks into his gym changes everything.

When it comes to men, Payton is as clueless as she is with social cues. She prefers to stick with what she knows: Sci-Fi, comic books, video games and web design. After a heartbreaking incident her freshman year of college, she was never able to look at big muscular men the same way again. So imagine her surprise and absolute fright when she catches the eye of the massive, hulking MMA fighter, who she secretly nicknames The Red Giant.

The computer geek has done her best to avoid, ignore, and even maim Bradyn but the stubborn Scot has no intentions of letting the skittish lass slip through his fingers. And with the help of her three friends, he just might win the fight of his life.

Review

I enjoyed this book a lot but there are writing errors and almost all the tropes of the book are heavy handed.

What saved it was fun dialogue, a great circle of friends, a wonderful sweet hero, and a geeky heroine.

Our hero and heroine are both shy which is fun. The hero is very self aware and kind. The heroine has PTSD from a past attempted rape.

The hero’s lovely wooing of the heroine plus the fact that that he is a super hot Scot let me enjoy the book despite the telling passages, lack of complexity, and typos.

Flame (Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides #2) by Michelle M. Pillow Review

Review:

Flame (Galaxy Alien Mail Order Brides) (Volume 2) - Michelle M. Pillow

Vin (aka Flame) can’t believe he’s in yet another holding cell. Stupid Earthlings wouldn’t know fun if it bit them in the hindquarters. Speaking of fun, the hot little number who claims she’s a guard at the jail has been making his body respond in ways he’s very happy about. If only she’d get on board with the plan and help him escape back to his ship. First she’d have to believe he’s an alien. Right now she’s taken to thinking he’s crazy. 

 

Review

 

This is my favorite of the three books in this little Aliens come to Earth for a vacation trilogy.

 

The heroine is dedicated to family and works hard. The hero is sweet and steadfast as well as hot. What he says about love is great.

 

There is slapstick fun and a lot of running around that ends with a grand gesture that anyone would swoon over. Good stuff.

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In Time (Play On Book 2) by Cd Brennan Review

 In Time (Play On Book 2) by  Cd Brennan 

Rory Cameron is all about rugby. He’s been playing since he was a wee bairn in Edinburgh. By now, he should be a powerhouse with his single-minded dedication to the Traverse City Blues Rugby Club. But something is missing. With his dad breathing down his neck to make a big club, the last thing he needs is a sassy country girl distracting him.

Grace making the men’s team? Improbable. Rory coaching a women’s rugby team? Unbelievable. Falling for the girl? Absolutely.

Grace Bowman moves to Michigan to forge a new life without her family’s constant mothering. She refuses to let her diabetes keep her from the life she craves. Time to live big and take chances—carpe diem and all that. Still, the last thing she expects is for things to heat up with the coach of the women’s rugby team. If her new lifestyle doesn’t kill her, rugby just might. But Grace is willing to take the chance for a winning try with Rory.

3 Stars

 

Review

This book irritates me because it is close to being a great book but falls short.

Everything that is here is very good but truncated.

For example, there is a point where Rory freaks out but it is really not explored, processed, or integrated.

The heroine is reckless with her health and this is a key and compelling element of the story but we don’t get to see her growing and changing. The book just ends.

Rory makes a big personal change and again we barely get a taste of his new life.

The love story is stunted which makes sense given the character but we don’t get to see it bloom.

This has a more Happy for Now ending which is not my favorite.

I love the rugby and the psychology in the book The characters are really human and the pairing is good but it all needs more depth and completion.

I am hoping the third book in the series will move in this direction.

Never Enough by Roxie Noir Review

4.5 Stars!!

It’s a simple enough transaction.
Marisol needs the money, and I need a nice girl to parade in front of the cameras.
No feelings. No strings. No falling for anyone.

I’ve been clean for months, but my record company’s not satisfied. Apparently it isn’t enough to only kick a heroin addiction – they’re insisting that I find a girlfriend as well.

If I don’t, they pull Dirtshine’s massive record deal.

It’s supposed to show that I’ve changed my ways, that I’ve turned over a new leaf, all that rubbish. But I’ve had it with suit-wearing wankers telling me what I’m to do, so I’m on the verge of telling them to go f*ck themselves.

And then she shows up.

Marisol locks me out of my own concert by accident. She’s wearing a suit at a rock show, searching for her lost law school textbook, has no idea who I am…

…and for the first time in years, I’m hooked.

She’s smart, driven, and utterly gorgeous. The sort of girl who earnestly believes in following the rules and hates when others don’t.

I’m a huge rock star, recovering addict, and general f*ckup.

Our relationship is for show, and that’s all. But with every smile, every laugh, and every breathtaking glance at her curves, I want her more.

Two months is all we agreed to. But it’s never going to be enough.

Review

I picked this book up because of my crazy “I can’t get enough Rock Star Romance” problem

It was really, really good. The “oh no I am going to read all this writer’s back list” kind of good.

Noir manages to make me trust her as a Romance writer because she never chooses the easy way out while dealing with fun themes and balance to dark and the light with enough complexity to the characters and the relationship to make for a really satisfying love story worth reading again and again.

The premise of a pretend relationship is silly but I love this troupe because I adore making strangers deal with each other and have to kiss. So sue me. lol

The theme is really well done with the truth of pretend media relationships making if more believable, the hero’s wanting choice in the matter, and the why the heroine agrees. Noir also messes with this theme in inventive ways that make the book a joy.

The Rock Star theme is handled with depth adds realism and conflict and characterization. The hero is in recovery for heroin addiction and it is a struggle. He is newly sober and his past and present and process deeply impact the relationship with the heroine as they would. This is realistic and moving look at what it means to be an addict, the scars of it, and the how it impacts others. I love this part of the book. There are little moments here and there such as Gavin’s relationship with his band mates and something that a new band members does that could have been richer but this aspect of the book is really a treasure.

The heroine, Marisol, is great. I love the nuances of Los Angeles where she as lived all her life (and I have lived there too) that come with her character. The impact of being a child of Guatemalan immigrants, a first generation college/law student, and the complexity of striving is so well done. She is comfortable with her self, very smart, and intellectually and emotionially curious. She often struggles with the right thing to do and does the best she can. I wish her sister and parents were a bit more present in the book and she had a close friend other than the one she is drifting away from but on the whole she is a fully realized person with her own goals and drives and this is why the hero loves her and we do as well.

The book is a slow burn but when they do get together the chemistry is off the hook. It is a super sexy book and yet Noir deals directly with the hero’s sexual past and the conflict around that as well.

There is a well earned happily ever after and I hope we get to stay in this LA World with other books.