Tag Archive | l a witt

New Hand, L.A. Witt

New Hand, L.A. Witt

Genre: LBGTQIA, Romance

I’ve loved the Bluewater books I’ve read, love LA Witt’s writing style and expected to love this read. Sadly it was a decent read, but not a great one for me.

I really didn’t feel the “pull” between Garrett and Jesse, and I needed that. I didn’t even feel lust in particular, they felt to me more like just two very good friends.
Garrett’s friend Scott puts it well when they are talking about whether its too soon after Sean’s death to start a relationship. He says Garret hasn’t just been grieving since he died, but since they knew he was terminally ill some 18 moths before, and in a way that made sense. Like others looking on I found it hard to see how he could fall in love with Jesse so soon.
I’m still kind of fence sitting on that. Grief is different for everyone, we all cope differently and I just can’t imagine finding someone new so soon. That’s just personal though, and of course this is fiction… 😉

Jesse, I loved him. He’d had a tough time, scarily what happened to him is probably commoner than we think, in terms of STDs rather than full on HIV. Poor kid. It must be hard coming to terms with being sexually different to most of your peers without having that lumped on top. He copes really well, and I understood his anger at others actions. People are scared though of what they don’t understand, and I liked that Garret took the trouble to look things up, ask professionals and not just give poor Jesse the elbow over something out of his control.

Its a interesting story, with the factors of grief and grieving family, HIV and all the issues that brings wrapped up so neatly. Age difference too, though I never felt that age was a factor with them, but others perceive it.
Odd isn’t it, age gap of 15 years or more being seen as OK with man being older and woman younger, or as in this case when both are males, but make it a younger guy/older woman and there’s sly insinuations and calls of Cougar…I wonder how F/F relationships are judged if there’s an age gap?

Anyway, an educating read, gave me lots to think over, taught me stuff about HIV that I didn’t know. I’m older than Garret and can recall the first rounds of it back in the 70’s and 80’s, when people didn’t know much about it, and being positive was pretty much a death sentence.
I knew there had been forward movement, medical progress but not that it had advanced so much, great news to hear.

Stars: Three, an interesting read but not one of the best Bluewater or LA Witt novels for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt. The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz

The Red: An Erotic Fantasy by [Reisz, Tiffany]

Genre:  Romance,Erotica

I love Tiffany Reisz’ stories, so well written, so full of interesting twists and turns and I have read and reread all the Original Sinners novels. So was really excited to get this, a novel “written” by Nora Sutherlin. I think its the book she’s writing in the very first of the series…I could be wrong on that.
Sadly, it Just Wasn’t One for Me, surprised me, shocked me that I really didn’t like it, I just didn’t expect that. I was looking forward to a typical sensual on the edge Tiffany read and what I got was something that made me seriuosly uncomfortable reading,  it’s fantasy possibly, but its presented as real, Mona thinks its real, we don’t really know when it happens what’s real, whether she’s dreaming, drugged, or having a genuine experience.

There were parts I enjoyed, the art links to the sex scenes, they were cleverly done and interesting, fitted the art gallery link, I loved the way the story winds round full circle and ties up so neatly.
Set against that though I found some of the sex scenes too disturbing – even gave me bad dreams…I’m very prone to them so avoid anything likely to set those off, my mind takes an idea and runs with it. This story though takes a direction I didn’t expect, not the spicy, sensual and edgy OS scenes I’m used to but ones with a supernatural edge that I feel uncomfortable with.

So, my BDSM knowledge comes purely from books, especially Original Sinners ones, so SSC and RACK are terms I agree with.
However the sex here takes a twist so that really Mona isn’t consenting, isn’t aware of risks she’s taking and the big bugbear – she has no safe-word. She signs a blank cheque for anything Malcolm wants to do to here almost. Is that consent? Is that Safe and Sane? Risk Aware? I don’t think so, and I’m uncomfortable with scenes where she isn’t consenting, even if she does enjoy what happens.
If someone orgasms does that make it not rape for example? That defence wouldn’t and shouldn’t work in real life or books IMO.
Throw in the Satyrs and the Minotaur and it was a step too far for me, a little too animalistic. I love fantsy and paranormal so I’m used to werewolves having sex, but they don’t do it in their werewolf or part werewolf form – well, not in the books I like.
There’s a thin line between art and porn whether its sculptures, paintings or writings and this for me is reaching the wrong end of the scale. I can see others love it, and that’s great but for me its a step too far.
I enjoyed the story, thought it had a clever twist – a few clever twists, but I didn’t like the execution of some of the sex scenes.
I’ve loved all the OS ones, but this book just isn’t right for me.

Stars: Two, a clever and intriguing story but the turn the sex scenes took was not right for me. Others love it, only you know what’s right for you.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pounding Skin, L.A. Witt

Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc.) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I love LA Witt’s books usually, but the first in this series just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t know if that was a one off, or if maybe its just this series.
Well, having read book two I think maybe its time for me to have a break from LA’s novels.

I did enjoy this, but found I was putting it aside and picking up later, something that I don’t do with a book I really like.
I didn’t dislike the story, there were parts I liked a lot, but I also found there were swathes I just felt were either predictable, or felt too much like a previous story-line brought into this novel.
I need to be surprised, to wonder what can, will happen and how but somehow here I felt I knew that before I read it.

If you’re new to LA’s books you’ll probably love this, she’s a great writing style and its a classic LA story, great characters, some angst and lots of hot steamy sex tied in to a real feeling setting with issues that people really do face.
Of course all authors have fans who love everything they write, but I think I just need a break. I still love LA’s writing style, love the way she can conjure up such realistic people but feel maybe I need to step away for a while. If I can resist the lure of the next book 😉

Stars: Three, a typical LA Witt well written, steamy read, but I just felt it was all too familiar, nothing new to hold my interest..

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

New Moon, Lisa Kessler. Chief’s Mess, L.A. Witt

New Moon, Lisa Kessler

New Moon (Moon Series Book 8) by [Kessler, Lisa]

Genre:  Romance, sci-fi and fantasy

We’ve reaches the end and I’m always feeling conflicted when that happens. In part because I love a good series and its hard to say goodbye, but set against that is the feeling of satisfaction when the little clues throughout the series are finally wrapped up, when we know who was behind things and why, how it all worked out.
With a good series we’re left feeling hope for the future, that these people we’ve got to know so well are facing a time when they can finally relax, live a normal life, enjoy their friends and family. Still, I love rereading series so from me its not really Goodbye but See you later 😉

The back to back reads through a whole series work best for me too, when each book is still fresh in my mind, so its easier to follow the story, recall which character fits in where. Sometimes after months and lots of other reads its hard to recall exactly who belongs with whom, and how they fit in the overall story.

I remember Sebastian from the first book, and he’s changed. Or has he? Maybe its just my perception of him, as looking back the seeds of his discontent were clear even back then, but i just didn’t see it.
Its a great author who can turn around a character so the callous, murdering, immoral man we met becomes someone we love, who we want to have that HEA…but Lisa does it for Sebastian.
I found he was a terrific man, that he had been trying to put things right as much as he could for a long time, and with a father like his no wonder he grew up to be the man he was. Thank god for his mother’s influence, its whats kept that core of humanity in him.
Sebastian and Isabelle don’t have the best start, with her trying to kill him….well, until her wolf tells her she Just Can’t Kill Him! That’s a bit of an eye opener and changes everything. Isabelle is shocked.

Its another fabulous adventure, when plans get made, and changed and remade all the time. Nero has really hit bottom in its actions here, kidnapping a child for Antonio Severino’s cruel crusade, but it proves the catalyst for some unheard of co-operation.
Things quickly change in the story as the plots unfold, and this final book brings in many of the characters we’ve met in the preceding books. It opens up the Packs even more than they have been. It was a struggle getting Lana accepted into the pack, as she was a jaguar shifter back in the early books but since then they’ve become more accepting, less Wolf only insular and that’s given them an edge they needed for this final battle.
They’re not just a wolf pack now but have Jaguars, Psychics and humans among them and that’s given them strength, and maybe what Fate intended, that supernaturals work together, find power in collectivety.

I’ve enjoyed the series as a whole, and love this last book. Looking back to some of the books that weren’t quite top whack I can see the gaps that bothered me back then filled in now and I understand why things played out certain ways.
Despite not all the books being five star reads for me, the series as a whole deserves a solid five stars, it all adds up now.

Stars: five,a great read to finish a fantastic series

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Chief’s Mess, L.A. Witt

Chief's Mess (Anchor Point) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I loved the first book in this series, but the second did nothing for me.
Still,  LA Witt is one of my favourite m/m authors so I thought I’d try book three.

It wasn’t a great read for me, I just didn’t feel I Knew the characters, just a surface opinion of them, and I really want to feel book characters can be people I know. I need them to feel real for me to get invested in what happens to them.
Here I just didn’t, they were just two anonymous guying hooking up for hot sex.

They were very alike in many way, and TBH I kept getting confused, right up to the end, about which was which.
Not a good thing, and when characters are well fleshed and distinct not something that happens. I think maybe there could have been – for me, not for everyone of course, a little less sex in the first half and a bit more character and plot building.

I mention the plot, and that really is pretty simple, Noah ( and see? I almost wrote Anthony there – had to check it) is a functioning alcoholic, and like many others doesn’t recognise he has a problem.
Of course for Anthony that’s a bigger trigger than it maybe would be for others, his ex brother-in-law was an alcoholic, and that caused great distress for his sister and their kids.
I liked the build up, though it was pretty muted and did make Noah come over as judgmental rather than sympathetic, but the way things played out felt very simplistic, and its rarely as easy as that.
I guess there wasn’t space to go into any depth, but in reality it would have been far, far harder.

Stars: three, it was just an OK read for me, and maybe I need to look carefully before accepting any more Anchor Point novels.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Back Piece, L.A. Witt. Too Hard to Forget, Tessa Bailey. Making Waves, A Beach Lane Novel, Laura Moore

Back Piece, L.A. Witt

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc.) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

Bit of a shock for me this one. L.A.Witt is one of my favourite m/m authors but I really struggled to finish this book. That came as a huge surprise!

The characters are good, the settings feel real, and the issues both of them have are more common that we think, and yet taken as a whole the book just didn’t work for me. It just didn’t seem to gel together into a tale that kept me reading.

Colin has issues, but they began to bog him down in the story, and we heard about them so much I was losing sympathy for him. That’s unfair I know, but too much of something like that just drags the readers spirit down and that’s how I felt.
I wanted to say to him, you’ve got all these loyal friends and family helping you, why are you doing this to yourself, and writing off the relationship before it gets a chance? And that was pretty unfair to him, but its human nature that we can only sympathise so much.
We’ve all got friends who have issues but tend to wallow in them, acting as if they’re the only one with problems, and that was how Colin began to feel for me, like the friend who when you see them coming your heart sinks a bit….

Same with Daniel, I get his awful homophobic upbringing, that’s too real for many but he’s not a kid anymore, he’s 25 now, and these’s a time when by not saying anything you’re tacitly letting people think their views are OK with you, that you agree. Its tough when its your parents, but was he going to spend all his life hiding, afraid of the fallout?
Gosh I sound horribly callous and I don’t mean to, I value family very much, but when they’re this blinkered they aren’t the wonderful family he’s telling himself.
So bits of the story worked, I loved the tale behind the tattoo for example, but as a whole for me this one just didn’t cut it, took me several attempts to finish and in the end i was just “Arrgh, I just want to be done with this story” and like I said that is So So unusual for me with a L.A.Witt read 😦

Won’t put me off of course, its inevitable that not all stories suit all readers, even when past ones from that author have done. It could be just this series doesn’t work for me, could be I love the rest in the series and its just this book. Who knows?

Stars: Two, an uncommon occurrence, an L.A.Witt read I struggled with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Too Hard to Forget,  Tessa Bailey

Too Hard to Forget (Romancing the Clarksons Book 3) by [Bailey, Tessa]

Genre:  Romance,

I’ve loved some of Tessa’s books and thought this sounded perfect. My bad though, I knew it was third in a series and thought they were that stand alone but connected by characters and events sort, where they can be read individually. This one though is too interconnected, there’s too much the reader really needs to know about what happened in other books to enjoy properly without having read them.
My fault, I made an assumption and should have looked further.

Peggy, I just didn’t really understand her. Pining over Elliot OK, I understood that, but to have been engaged four times in three years?? That’s pretty harsh on those guys, and makes me think of her as shallow and uncaring of their feelings, rather than someone so in love or hankering for someone from her past.
She’s fun, bright and breezy but almost too much so, she feels quite shallow. Even when she does intervene, as with Alice, she gets the right result but by default, not intention. I just didn’t really understand her, but wanted to.

Elliot, if ever a guy to the cake for Mr Grumpy its him. He’s sour, rude, selfish (after all he was the adult and she a pupil/student even though she was 22), and seems to blame her for his feelings.
There’s certainly incredible lust between them still, sensuality that sears, but for me that didn’t really translate to any deeper feelings. I couldn’t see what connection other than lust they could have, they were really total opposites.
I didn’t like either how he was so happy to leave his 12 year old daughter home alone all the while. She’s a kid, you’re her dad, act like it.
As for his religious feelings, and the praying, rosary caressing, well he just didn’t feel that kind of guy, that just felt plain strange, odd.
Wouldn’t most 22/25 years olds get weirded out by a guy who starts praying aloud when having sex?

Which brings me to background, and the fact that maybe if I’d read the first two books I’d understand much more of this one, and that what feels weird to me would have a proper explanation that made it fit better. Don’t know, but after some of the great reads I’ve enjoyed of hers this one was a fail 😦 Sorry.

Stars: Two, perfectly well written but I really need to read books one and two first to understand the characters.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Making Waves, A Beach Lane Novel,  Laura Moore

Making Waves: A Beach Lane Novel by [Moore, Laura]

Genre:  romance,

I’ve enjoyed a couple of Laura’s novels but this one is by far the best, its hard to say why exactly but it’s just one of those that pulled me in quickly and kept me absorbed to the end.

I love Dakota, she’s had a horrible background, one of those where she’s tolerated -just- by her mother’s family, and really treated as if she should be grateful for every scrap of attention.
They’ve always let her know she’s not quite good enough, illegitimate, doesn’t know her father and a blot on the family name. You’d think her mother Piper would carry the blame but its not that way.
She’s grown up very self reliant, made her own way in life and set up her concierge company, building on what she knows, how to sooth and cater for every whim of the rich and pretentious that live/holiday in the Hamptons. She’s made some good friends there too, not all the rich are shallow and spoiled, and she values those who see her for what she is, and not just as the outcast Hale.

Max, what a man. Loved him, and the tension between them, the sizzle just burned off the page from their first meeting.
Dakota doesn’t get involved with clients though and tells him that. He’s not used to hearing no, and Dakota is someone he just can’t seem to let go. Usually he’d just move on, never short of someone to fall at his feet, well his wallet too…
I loved the way he carefully kept pursuing Dakota, knowing she really wanted him as much as he wanted her. Clever to use her love of surfing to spend time with her, and from there they moved into – well, hot and sensual sex but a bit more too.
Dakota wants a family of her own eventually, she knows Max isn’t interested in that, but still can’t seem to let go, telling herself its just a casual relationship with an expiry date at some point.
Max too finds he’s breaking his usual roles, letting her into his life, when usually the rules are clear, it’s a fling, casual, fine while its on and when times up he’s off.

Then there’s a hiccup, brought on by Dakota’s love of family and traditions and his steering away from anything resembling that – and that was a very emotional part, I so felt for Dakota, just trying to be nice.
They’re off, and though the parting seems OK they are both sad, regretful, but don’t know what else they can do. They want different things in life and that’s all there is to it. Oil and water don’t mix.

There’s more though, something happens that brings them together again, puts them right in the forefront of Society gossip, threatening Dakota’s hard won business and Max’s work position.
It doesn’t stop there, even more comes out, secrets on both sides that really pull at the heart, and things that could threaten the current fragile relationship between them. Its easy to see how their delicate new connection could easily get derailed.

Dakota had some great friends and I loved seeing them. They really valued her, saw her as a person, and got so angry at how Piper and Mimi treated her. There’s that saying about friends being people who’d help you hide a body, and Dakota’s would just say where is it, and come armed with a shovel. ( and probably champagne if it was Piper or Mimi!!)
I’m hoping that one of those friends, Lauren, is in for a book of her own, she’s got a very sad past, and deserves a shot at happiness for herself and her two children.
It would be great to stay with this group of characters and see more of how their lives develop.

I love the not so nice people too in a story, they add that sharp edge a good romance needs for me, the balance to the happy side.
Dakota’s mother, Piper was a classic rich b itch, brought up to assume the world revolves around her and her wants. She treats Dakota as though she should be grateful to have her as a parent, when in fact she’s a hopeless mother, no maternal instincts, and takes every opportunity to belittle her.
Throw in a bitter aunt who resents the success she’s made of her life, and an uncle who we don’t actually meet but know he regards her as a nonentity and its no wonder she’s learned to rely on herself, work her own way in the world. She could have been a horrible person – and yet she’s wonderful, a great friend, kind to those who need help, hard working and ethical.

I was so happy at the ending, and loved the drama that came up on the way to it. I would have liked those parts to be drawn out a teeny- teeny bit longer – but that’s just me, I like people to really hit rock bottom,love to wallow in the sad bits and that would have just been glitter on the icing of a fantastic cake.

Stars: Five, a fabulous read, full of emotion and drama.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Afraid to Fly, (Anchor Point 2), L.A. Witt

Afraid to Fly, (Anchor Point 2), L.A. Witt 

Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point Book 2) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

I loved, just loved, Just Drive, book 1 in this series, and was hoping for more of the same.
I love LA Witt’s writing, and was ready for another hot and sensual, tender but real romance. Sadly though I just didn’t feel it here….
I did love the sneak peeks of Sean and Paul from book one though, that they were getting ready to marry. terrific to know that they lasted, that they were getting their HEA.

So why wasn’t this one another winner for me? Well, as a chronic pain sufferer I know how debilitating and depressing pain can be, and the need to mask the effects if you don’t want to be a down on everyone and every outing. Clint though, his pain was so intense I really didn’t see how he could keep it so hidden. I could see why he wanted to, he’s a career Serviceman, and a bit longer and he can retire gracefully, on a much better pension, and sadly that extra money is needed when you have health issues.
I just felt his pain was overshadowing his whole life though, it was literally running it, where he had to plan what he could do to hide how much he was hurting. I know only too well that sort of pain isn’t going to go away, isn’t going to get better, and it just seemed a bit too depressing knowing his life didn’t have an upside.

Even when he met and got together with Travis they seemed to just have a HFN, and I wondered – all the fears he has for their future, would he be proved right?
There wasn’t any way I could see that things would change, and I felt a bit left in limbo as far as the future for them and his fears went.

Travis too, his issue with the kids and his ex, I needed to know if he would get to see them, how they would take his news etc. There was a tiny little bit of light at the end but its very ambiguous.
I so felt for his problems, and wondered – does that really happen? Where something so traumatic happens that it affects people that badly, gives them PTSD and yet they can’t even discuss it with a Service sanctioned counsellor?
Way to leave your staff in limbo.
Pretty disgusting and yet as with so many jobs the Services depend on fitness both mentally and physically and both these guys had so much to hide to keep their jobs, after they’d sacrificed so much for their country. Made me think for a bit about real life, how these kind of situations work.
As a drone pilot I could see how people like Travis would get sneered at if they had issues with what happened, safe behind the lines, and yet the effects of what they do are the same as those pilots who drop bombs from a plane and then are miles away when the blast hits.
Tough one, and I guess Forces life isn’t built for sympathy and understanding, more Take-it-like-a-Man stuff – even for the women 😦 US and UK seem to have the same attitude here.

I think its that eternal down-ness of their problems, the way nothing seemed to be resolvable that made this book an Ok-but-once-only read for me, it was too grim, bleak and unremitting.
I need some light at the end of the tunnel and TBH I just couldn’t see it.

Sadly  I could believe that Travis would get tired of Clint’s issues, love – even the strongest – doesn’t stop people getting frustrated, however much they understand the causes. Pain like that doesn’t get better, only worse, unless there’s some kind of new medical treatment out, and nothing like that was suggested for Clint.
Likewise Travis’ mental stress, without being able to discuss the cause with a trained counsellor how could he get past it, stop the nightmares, avoid the triggers, and would Clint in time decide the lack of sleep was exacerbating his pain, that they just couldn’t be together?
See, that’s a real issue for me, I just can’t see how they can get the happy future I want them to have, without some interventions…just understanding and sympathising with your partner isn’t enough to stop the problems, and keep both happy.

A few hints on what could happen in the future to benefit, surgery perhaps for Clint, some psychotherapy and counselling for Travis, a way to move forward with a slightly easier life, and this could have been a story I loved as much as the first, but as it is though its the usual perfectly written story with believable characters and situations, its just too bleak, dark, grim for me. Real life has that, I want somethng positive when I’m reading, some hope for a HEA for characters.

Stars: two, a real shock for me, a two star LA Witt story, but this one just didn’t work for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Just Drive, Anchor Point 1, L.A. Witt

Just Drive, Anchor Point 1,  L.A. Witt

Just Drive (Anchor Point Book 1) by [Witt, L.A.]

Genre:  LGBTQIA,Romance.

Well, what a perfect story this was. Full of emotion, a Real barrier that meant they couldn’t be together, rather than the storm-in-a-teacup manufactured issues  we get too often.
I’ve read a few of those lately, and they leave me feeling that they whole point of the book is lost with such a weak potential break-up plot. This one though was perfect, real, and it must happen often in real life.

The issues of Paul and Sean not being able to be together because Paul was senior to his dad, as they had to avoid any possible accusations of bias, was one I hadn’t thought about.
Its not just the Services where things like that happen though is it – what about any job where you’re dating someone who’s parent works in the same firm but in a junior position. The firm I worked for, a private cleaning company had rules where they wouldn’t appoint family members as senior managers, nor anyone closely connected, and though they couldn’t forbid dating internally it was frowned on, and we all knew it would be a bar to promotion. That’s true of many companies. The Navy and other Services are very fierce about things like that, and not only Paul, but Sean’s dad too, could lose his job, even though he may know nothing about it.

When you first meet someone you’re attracted to though, you don’t ask for family history do you? You chat to see what you’ve got in common, or if as with these two, a simple hook-up was all they wanted, well – then chats about each other are superfluous of course.
That’s how it worked with them, that first incredible hot over-the-bonnet sex led to more, and then more…and what was supposed to be a one off hook-up becomes several meetings.
Its just sex at first, and its all no-tell-motel meetings, and after one of their usual searingly erotic encounters they get to talking, and the bombshell is dropped. Arghh. We have to stop, they say, and they mean it but its harder than it seems.

Paul recalls the stress he went through giving up smoking years ago, but he’s so full of Sean in his mind he wants a cigarette, regardless of going through giving up all over again. He can’t concentrate at work, can’t get Sean out of his mind.
Sean’s having the same kind of issues, struggling with his studies, trying hard not to think about Paul but can’t seem to stop.
That led to what I thought was the one weak spot in the story, they kept on meeting “just this once” and then stopped, then gave in and then stopped. It seemed like a little too much yo-yoing and courting danger to me, and just didn’t feel right.
I don’t think the person I thought Paul was, honourable etc would have let Pauls dad’s job be at risk. He might take it for himself, but risk someone else career?
In the same way I couldn’t see Sean letting Paul risk his life’s ambition, when long term both acknowledge it couldn’t happen.
Ho hum…I also was a bit puzzled by the ages thing another reviewer on GR mentions, that Paul id 2 years older than Sean’s dad. that would make him just 15/16 when Sean was born yet he was already in the Navy? Not that it affects the story, but its a niggle none the less, and there was no need t mention his dad’s age.

I would have liked for them to talk a bit more about themselves, apart from the main issue of the Navy they don’t talk much about their backgrounds, and I was just interested.
It didn’t affect the story really except as they were risking so much to be together I’d have liked to see a tighter connection, not just a sexual one.
I could feel how they were so attracted, didn’t feel the age gap mattered, liked the way they joked about it at times. I believe its people that count, not their gender, race, age, religion so age doesn’t matter to me so long as the love connection feels real – and yes it did, very much so.

Its a very hot, erotic and sensual read, with a huge barrier to their long term romance, one that’s all too real, in the Services and in many other jobs. I appreciated that, having a real barrier instead of some tiny, manufactured issue blown out of proportion.
I really felt as if I knew both Paul and Sean, was genuinely emotionally invested with them. To me its important for the characters and the issues they face to feel real otherwise I just don’t get “into” a story, don’t care about what happens. I was pulled in to this one incredibly quickly though.

I felt the bar to them being together was so huge there was no way through, and yet of course its romance, L.A. is going to find a gap – but how? Given what I knew of the characters I couldn’t see how it could happen – but she wraps it up in a perfect way, a very satisfying ending that felt just right.

Stars: Five, a great book, made me think, made me really cross at the barriers to their romance even though I understood why they were in place. A perfect ending.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

Kinky Sprinkles, L.A. Witt and Farm to Table, Colleen Seward

Kinky Sprinkles,  L.A. Witt

Kinky Sprinkles by [Witt,L.A.]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I love L A Witt’s writing and have read quite a few of her books now, so looked forward to this one.
It covers something I’ve often wondered – what happens when two people fall in love but don’t share sexual tastes?
Sometimes its a choice thing for people but sometimes in cases such as this they have a need for certain practices as opposed to just enjoying them.

André is like that – he needs to be a Dom, needs to dominate and hurt people to be satisfied. He wants to be with Joel though, who’s just got out of  a two year, very bad relationship with a sadistic Dom who wasn’t a good one, wasn’t safe, didn’t respect his sub and look to his needs.
He doesn’t want to go back there. and only got into the role because of his ex. He’s not interested in that, not going there again.

So what happens in those kind of cases? Usually we get the perfect blend, sub meets Dom, someone who wants pain meets a Sadist – its interesting when two opposing sides want to be together and I suspect that’s far more likely to happen than the usual way portrayed in romance reads. So I was interested in how LA would let things play out, what solutions she’d come up with..
I loved Joel, hurt by his ex in more ways than one and yet he’s still got an inner core of strength that allows him to say No to André, to explain he just doesn’t want to go there, isn’t a natural sub.
Andre too is lovely, he doesn’t want to hurt Joel, isn’t interested in doing that to someone who doesn’t want it, but they decide neither can make things work long term, either Andre will give up what he needs or Joel will do something he doesn’t want to and one will start resenting the other. Not a good start to a relationship.
They each try to stay apart and yet circumstances keep bringing them together, and wow – the heat between them is scorching, sensual and addictive. Each time is sort of “we can’t keep doing this” but then they can’t stay away, and neither can get interested in others.

Finally Joel comes up with a solution – well, something they can try anyway and to be honest its blindingly obvious.
WARNING – SPOILER AHEAD

He suggests an open relationship where Andre can play with others….sounds good but though it doesn’t outright say, the inference is that Andre will be having sex with others too..
What!! I didn’t see that coming and don’t understand why they go that route. We’ve already been told André likes the play most, that’s the bit he really gets off on, and can stop before sex, getting with someone else after for that – its how he and Joel had their first encounter after all.
Why couldn’t they repeat that? Joel likes watching, he could watch and then when its over he and André could satisfy the need for sex, no need for others to get involved in that side of things.
Maybe its just me, but I have trouble with the being in love with one person but wanting sex with others, and here it was so needless. It spoiled what would have been a five star read for me…still, it’ll suit others and maybe you won’t feel as strongly as I do.

Stars: Three, a fun read, but I wasn’t happy with parts of the solution

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Farm to Table Colleen Seward

Farm To Table: 50 Recipes for Clean Eating (The Healthy Foodie) by [Seward, Colleen]

Genre:  non fiction, cookery, lifestyle

Healthy eating – we see that pushed out all the while don’t we? Yet its usually in the form of buy this supplement, try these health ready meals, or sometimes there are recipes, but they have four hundred ingredients, some of which needs sourcing at daybreak on the summer solstice, while wearing a robe made of unicorn hair…well, that’s how it feels:-)

None of that here, just simple, easy recipes, with ingredients available everywhere.
Colleen doesn’t push any one super food, but more the idea of a properly balanced diet, where making meals from basic ingredients naturally keeps the preservatives and additives to a minimum.
She puts forward the argument for food that’s as fresh as possible, grown without too many extras but doesn’t take the somewhat fanatical “if its not organic its no good” stance. Too many books seem like they are preaching, too pushy and make the reader just switch off. Colleen’s persuasion is more gentle and accepts that sometimes a compromise is needed.

You could start by changing just one meal a day – or even just four a week, something like that, and once you start to get into the routine and appreciate the taste of real food, ingredients that aren’t chemically enhanced, hopefully you’ll want to include more in your life.
Using this book is simple, its dived into sections full of easy to follow recipes that don’t take hours to make, and are easy for even those new to cooking.
Start by adding a few a week and take it from there.

The recipes are simple and its easy to ring the changes using the ideas for one meal and replacing certain ingredients – pork for chicken, mushrooms instead of peppers or sweet corn, things like that.
The main proposal Colleen puts forward is that the most important thing is that ingredients are as fresh as possible and as free from additives etc.
Go to farmers markets, get to know your butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer and you can find out that info.
Supermarkets have a bad name, undeservedly IMO, and the same idea works there – most have dedicated butchery etc so speak to staff, find out how fresh your food is, where its been, how its been treated.
Its your body, take care of it. You won’t put cheap, second grade fuel in your car and expect it to perform top class and its the same with your body.

I found this an interesting read, especially as I tend to eat this way anyway, having been brought up on home-grown fruit and veg and meals from scratch.
In the long run its much cheaper than ready meals too, and with a little forethought so easy to do.
Living alone now I tend to make a batch of meals, casseroles, cottage pies etc and freeze in portions so I have home made ready meals. You can do the same even if you’ve a big family, just double up on the main ingredient and freeze half. Than all you need to do is put your meal in the over for 40-60 mins or so from the freezer,add some salad or fresh veg, maybe some crusty bread and you’ve a meal with very little prep that’s nutritious, healthy and tastes good.

Stars: Five, excellent practical read to start a healthy approach to eating.

ARC supplied by author

Until Harry, L.A. Casey. Hiatus,  L. A. Witt

Until Harry,  L.A. Casey

click image for amazon link

Genre:  Romance, General Fiction

I’d not read any of L.A.Casey’s work before but this had a slew of 4 anf 5 star reviews so I requested it. Sadly though its a book that didn’t work for me.

Its well written and plotted out, everything falls into place just as it should, though some parts are a little predictable ( the will…I saw that coming a mile away). It wasn’t the story I didn’t like, it was the characters 😦

Its down to that old divider – personal taste. Reading is very subjective and where others found Lane a great lead I found her ( and Kale) older than years when she was young and then childish and selfish when she’s older. In fact it was really hard to belive in her and find her real when we meet her at 6, 10, 13 etc.
Kale has readers that adore him, I found him a bit – well – weird. What young lad really is best friends with a girl when he’s regarded as a brother he’s at their house so much and she has two brothers close to his age?
The whole family “Waltons” feel – I never did like that 70’s series although millions did, and this book has that same slightly idealistic, unreal family grouping to me. They way they treated Lane, “ you can’t leave!!” from them – she was 20 then and yet they really expected her to do as they said, and then acted like that when she wouldn’t?
Like I said its a book clearly thousands will love, its well written, well thought out but the characters just spoiled the story for me. I have to like them, want them to suceed in their love and here I was just too indifferent to the couple. Add in that the “romance” side never really kicks in until near the end and it was a fail for me :- (

Stars: Two, sadly not to my taste.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Hiatus,  L. A. Witt

Hiatus by [Witt, L.A.]

click image for amazon link

Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA

I usually love LA Witt’s writing and expected to enjoy this read but…it was good – but not great. a bit Meh, and that came as a surprise. Maybe as most of the ones I’ve liked have come via a different publisher and of course each house sets its own basics. Perhaps MM via Samhain doesn’t do it for me, although Fantasy mostly does…..

I didn’t really feel connected to the characters, wasn’t upset, happy, sad for them as I needed to be. It was a kind of take it or leave it read for me. One I could happily put down and walk away from whereas usually I just Have To Finish the story. I felt really frustrated by their actions, and just didn’t understand how after so long together both Cam and Theo could have missed what the other was going through. I know they were kind of insidious problems, and maybe the fact they had their own things going on didn’t help but it just didn’t feel real to me and that’s why it was an OK read but not a great read. Still, as ever others will love it – we all have different criteria for what makes a good read thankfully 😉

Stars: Three, not as good for me as others by this author.

ARC supplied by publishers and Netgalley

Roped In, Marie Sexton, L.A. Witt

Roped In,  Marie Sexton, L.A. Witt

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Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA

 

I didn’t realise this was a re-release.  Usually I love L A Witts writing, and that’s why I requested without looking further.

 

I didn’t realise it was so short, my bad, I should have checked. I’m not a fan of shorts, they feel too much crammed into too short a space usually, and this was what happened here IMO. Its 109 ebook pages and there’s such good potential here with the absolute opposites that Graham and Kaz are  but I just felt there was  far too much conflict to get solved in such a short novel.

I couldn’t really feel the romance between Kaz and Graham, lust yes but I didn’t really get the sense there could be more. They were such total opposites its hard to see how they could meet and the ending just felt a little too simple, given the absolutes they were.  I felt Jackson had more potential than Kaz for Graham 😦

I’m a horse lover/owner but not a fan of the part of rodeo that involves calf tying, bull roping/riding etc. I can see though how for Graham it was an essential part of his business, the advertising of him as a brand almost, but there has to be other ways of doing that. I didn’t feel Kaz really understood that – I would have had more respect for him if he’d suggested alternatives rather than the “its all cruel” mantra. Likewise Graham didn’t really seem to grasp why Kaz had such a passionate hatred of the industry, even if he didn’t actually understand parts of it.

I’m with Kaz, hate anything that causes such stress to animals just for entertainment. We had hunting here in the UK for many years, another industry that supplied jobs for many, and I was always opposed to it as a sport. Chasing and/or killing animals for fun is abhorrent to me, but there is an alternative in drag hunting, chasing a scent trail. It would take a huge change to get Rodeo banned though, and Kaz and his friends weren’t achieving anything in their protests, just antagonising the cowboys by their ignorance of how the animals were treated.

 

There’s a huge potential here IMO for a great read, but the differences between them were so vast it needed to be a solid, full length book where we could  really get to know the characters  and see changes in action.

Still, shorts do it for many readers and if some hot sex, and a quick read is what you want its a five star read, but for me I needed a bit more.

Stars: Three, a bit short for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher

Not Safe for Work,  L. A. Witt

 

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I really enjoyed this – I do like L.A.Witt’s writing style so I was pretty sure anyway that this would work for me. Its got themes in it that could apply to anyone, the kink discrimination, the workplace issues, but when you throw in the gay/bisexual side it gets even more difficult to deal with. Sometimes I think we delight in making life difficult for others – its sad that everything in this book felt so so real – but of course that’s also what makes it for me a great read, given they finally find a way through. I need a HEA, life has too much death and disaster for me to want it from my reads too….

So there’s Jon, bored at a meeting and playing with the new app on his phone, and it gives him a match, right across the table! Rick – the firms biggest client, the one that’s keeping them afloat. Wow – heart attack stuff eh? Somehow though they get together and from just at first one meeting, then a few more, they’re getting closer and its not just a kink thing anymore – but its secret and they always creep out don’t they? S.. hit meet Fan! The results of that were gobsmacking – poor Jon, he really was in a rock and hard place situation and I so felt for him. Damned if he does damned if he doesn’t.

What I loved too was the way L.A. took conventions and turned them around, so rich, successful Rick is the sub, and sort of employee Jon is the Dom, likewise Rick is taller, Jon shorter. Its little things, but stuff that often gets stereo-typed, with tall, good-looking and rich mostly seeming to be Doms. I enjoyed the twist – added some extra potential complications. I guess what makes the story so special for me is the romance side, and the way they both feel so real. I loved the office banter too, the NSFW room, and the atmosphere in it. Jon’s home situation too – unusual in a way and yet the finance side of it so very, very common. Its a great read, one that will really bring home how on the edge some situations can get, how difficult it can be to live outside the “norm” people expect from others.

Stars: Five, a great read, fabulous characters, very real story, and fantastic HEA!

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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