RELEASE DAY REVIEW – No Small Parts by Ally Blue

NoSmallParts_600x900.jpg

I’ve never read any Ally Blue novels before, but after this, I shall DEFINITELY be giving her a go. This is book sixteen in the Bluewater Bay romance novels series (although they can be read as standalone, and I’ve been reading them completely out of order). Some I didn’t finish (Selfie, How the Cookie Crumbles), some I wish I hadn’t finished (There’s Something About Ari), some just didn’t gel with me (Lone Wolf), some which were solid three-star romances (The Burnt Toast B+B, Hell on Wheels), and some which were absolutely brilliant (Starstruck, Rain Shadow). No Small Parts was definitely in the final category, in fact, was the best Bluewater Bay novel I’ve read since Starstruck, which is no faint praise!

Why did this one beat out all others? I loved the writing, I found it really engaging (which sometimes can be hard to do in romances) and the characters relatable, flawed, adorable, interesting, and found myself rooting for them.

Nat Horn is a werewolf extra on Wolf’s Landing, the supernatural show that runs through the whole series of books. He’s got a crush on the female star, Solari, but she hasn’t noticed him. Instead, they become friends and he ends up seeing Rafael; caring, funny, cute Rafael, and they tentatively get together. Rafael is Solari’s assistant, comes from Hollywood and has dreams of become a director.

Their relationship, and how it was written, was gorgeous. More so than some romances, where characters are just ciphers, or names, I felt like I got to know Nat, with all of his bloke-ish reserve and problems with his pill-addicted father, and Rafael, optimistic, charming, sometimes interfering. The supporting character of Solari is well fleshed out, and regular character Anna is featured quite a bit, and there’s a good few cameos from other characters in the series.

Oh, and did I mention that this book is sexy. Something about the way that Blue describes Nat, I could picture him perfectly, and I could see, and feel, the growing attraction between him and Rafael, and the resulting sex scenes between him and Nat were perfect; hot, descriptive, not too long, or frequent, with a real connection forming.

In short, if you like m/m romance, I heartily recommend this and congratulate Ally Blue on a wonderful book – I’m already looking forward to her next Bluewater Bay novel!

—–

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Advertisements

Static by L. A. Witt

static lawitt.jpg

Well, as premises for a book goes, this is definitely something that I’ve never read before. Alex has been with Damon for two years but has never told him that he’s a shifter: he can switch genders at will. Damon has only ever known Alex as a girl but Alex’s staunchly religious parents have forced Alex to get an implant that will make him static, and unable to shift. Such implants are not only incredibly costly to remove but are also major surgery, with serious health risks.

There’s a lot of great ideas going on in this book. The parallels between shifters and trans* people is something that is explored (but also differentiated with, at times, which is nice) as is the hatred that such people get in everyday life.

Really like the supporting cast, such as Tabby, Alex’s employer, owner of bar The Welcome Mat, who is trans* and saving up for the operation – there is a gorgeous set of parallels when Alex has lost his ability to shift genders and he realises that such an ability is something that Tabby would kill for.

His boyfriend, Damon, is incredibly supportive and I liked their relationship. I felt though that when Alex in his male form and Damon and Alex get physical that its ease was a little unbelievable – I know that Damon loves Alex but he’s never even thought of being with another guy before. I would’ve like a bit more buildup with that BUT that said, I really liked the book and that was only a minor quibble.

An enjoyable, easy read that I read rather quickly, this is one of Witt’s better books.

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: The Photographer’s Truth by Ralph Josiah Bardsley

o-the-photographers-truth

The first thing that strikes me upon finishing this book, which I did over lunch yesterday, is how perfect, and important, telling it in a reflective past tense is.

Ian, a computer programmer from San Francisco with a wife and two teenage boys, gets sent to Paris to work on a long project; setting up a digital museum and corresponding storage for the sprawling collections of famous French fashion house, Môti. He starts to investigate the city and slowly becomes friends with Luca Sparks, who he later finds is one of the most famous fashion photographers in Paris, who shot not only for Môti but all over the world, and has since given up taking pictures. Pictures that Ian keeps coming across in his work each day.

I really liked this, a lot. It’s very different from Brothers – which I also loved (and why I was delighted to get this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review) – as its tinged with sadness throughout. You are aware for this romance to have the ending you think, that Ian has to completly overhaul and rethink his life, and this from a man who’s had only one homosexual encounter in his youth that he’s very carefully buried away.

Things I really liked about this book:

– the characters are older. They’re not in their early twenties. I think it’s specified (I can’t recall) but I pitch them in their late 30’s/early 40’s. And the cover is lovely; classic and gallic, and it represents some that age/close to that age, instead of most romances where the characters are that age and the cover is represented by models in their early twenties (this BUGS THE HELL OUT OF ME).

– I really liked the slow burn of their relationship. How it seems like a friendship and you realise that not only are they slowly falling in love, but that their outlook on the world is being changed too, Ian’s in particular.

– This is a book in love with Paris and photography, a love that is skilfully brought alive by the author. I’ve been to Paris twice and I could feel myself walking the streets with Ian and Luca easily.

– That the book is from Ian’s POV and that has interesting ramifications later in the book (it’s just a minor thing – not a huge difference in the POV – but simple things like Ian having misunderstood something and it being explained to him later, were nice little suprises/friction).

– The supporting characters were well drawn and interesting, in particular Ian’s teenage boys, and Luca’s friend Michele.

– The ending, how it’s done, the last couple of pages and the last paragraph. I won’t spoil it.

These are men in love, with all of the beauty, and seriousness, and disruption it can sometimes bring. In short, another absolute winner from Bardsley! I must also get a review organised for Brothers too.

Also, for those that it’s important to you (it’s not to me, although it’s a nice change from some romance which can be very sex heavy, something which can turn me off at times) – there’s no explicit sex in this book (same with Brothers) and it suits the prose really well.

[Postscript: The book appears to be released exclusively on Bold Strokes Books today, with all other retailers following on the 12th July]

You can reserve a copy of The Photographer’s Truth online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here, and a copy of Brothers by the same author here.

A Simple Romance by J.H. Knight

simple romance

Never has a title been so fitting.

Skip’s partner of nearly a decade, Monty, leaves him and stuck in the house they shared, he decides to upsticks and move back in with his mother to lick his wounds. It’s through doing that that he ends up teaching at his old high school, where a guy who came onto him in the locker room, Paul, is now the Physics teacher and their mothers are friends and have decided that they’d be good together.

What follows is a sweet romance where they fall for each other. It’s quite tender and touching at times, and quite steamy in places too (which is a nice contrast). There’s little big external forces at play here, mainly a man trying to move on from the hurt his ex caused him and learn to trust the man who’s clearly the one.

Nicely plotted and paced, JH Knight has a great way with words and both novels I’ve read from her have been surefire hits (although I preferred The Last Thing He Needs, purely because the cast was bigger and the book was longer).  Recommended.