An Ali Review: City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by AE Wasp

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Follow the money or follow your heart?

All Bryce Lowery knows how to do is play hockey. He’s been playing professionally since he was fifteen. Twenty years later, he’s rich, famous, tired, and alone. And possibly gay according to his ex-wife.

When a blown tire leads directly to mind-blowing sex with a motorcycle-riding white knight named Dakota, Bryce discovers he is most definitely gay. Now Bryce has a tough choice to make, follow the money to a new multimillion dollar contract, or follow his heart into the unknown?

All Dakota Ryan knows how to do is grow apples. Now at twenty-four, he faces losing both his home and his livelihood in one cruel twist of fate.

Then Bryce Lowery crashes into his life like the answer to all of Dakota’s prayers. He’s whispering promises to make all of Dakota’s wildest dreams come true. But Dakota knows better than to give his heart to someone who could leave, and if life has taught him anything, it’s that everyone leaves.

Dakota has a choice, sit back and wait for Bryce to decide his fate, or for the first time in his life, chose what he wants his future to be.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book.  This was a new author for me and I only picked this book up because it was about hockey (I’m a giant hockey fan) and I found it on Kindle Unlimited.  Once I started the story I couldn’t put it down.  I was immediately drawn into the world of these two wonderful characters.  I liked both of them from the very beginning and I couldn’t wait to see how things worked out.
Bryce is questioning his sexuality when he meets Dakota and has in fact been married to a woman in the past.  I thought the author did a very good job with this plot theme and she stayed away from drama and stereotypes.  I felt like the way things played out for Bryce were realistic and thoughtfully done.  These two were really sweet together and their chemistry jumped off of the page.  There are enough plot points to keep the story moving at a good pace and to keep it interesting but it was low angst.  
 
One of my favorite aspects of the story was how Bryce’s mother and ex-wife were portrayed.  So often in the m/m genre the women, especially exs and moms, are often portrayed in very negative manners.  The author didn’t go there which I can’t say enough positive things about.  The ex was a nice, kind woman who only wanted the best for Bryce.  His mother, and all his family actually, were open to him coming out and they welcomed Dakota in to the family with open arms.  It was all really well done in my opinion.
 
When  I had the chance to review book for this blog, in preparation for book two, I did a re-read of this story.  It ended up standing the test of time.  I ended up loving it just as much the second time through.  This is going to go on my “best of” list for this year and I highly encourage people to check this book out.
 

Cover Artist: Ana J. Phoenix:  I like the cover a lot.  The colors stand out and are eye catching and the models match the descriptions of the MC’s.  I think the cover is a good representation of the story.

Sales Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published June 29th 2017
ASIN B07339WG93
Edition Language English

An Ali Release Day Review: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z

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Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.
This was a unique take on the shifter world and I was engrossed in this story from beginning to end.  I read a lot of shifter books and I am always looking for something that I haven’t seen before and this book really fit the bill.  The world building was top notch and I felt the author did a very good job drawing the reader in to this hard scrabble world these werewolves live in.
In addition to the detailed and interesting world building. the author did a very complete job developing the characters.  I felt sorry for Ward right off and could understand his desperation to get to his daughter.  Henry was also well done and the two men were a great match for each other.  Their chemistry jumped off the pages and I was rooting for them the entire time.  There are a host of side characters and I also found them to be well done and their presence added to this plot.
If you’re looking for something creative and well written I would definitely recommend this story.  I’m not sure if this will be an ongoing series but I hope it is.  I would love to read more about these shifters.
This cover was done by Brooke Albrecht and I love it.  It fits the story perfectly and I think it’s visually gorgeous.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635338980
Edition Language English

An Ali Review: Wildflowers by Suki Fleet

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Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

WildflowersXavi doesn’t believe in love anymore. Love has never changed the outcome of anything. It has only hurt him.

Sam is sick, and he wants one last thing. He wants Xavi to be with him, to stay with him until the end. Xavi drops everything and promises Sam he will be there.

As they travel across the countryside in a stolen sea-green Cadillac, they search for something neither has the courage to admit he’s looking for. But as the days slip away, Xavi isn’t sure he can keep his promise; he isn’t sure about anything. He can’t help Sam do this. He can’t stand by and watch Sam suffer, can’t be content to let Sam give up.

Saving Sam becomes the only thing that makes any sense, the only thing Xavi wants. Loving Sam becomes the most important promise he will ever make. Now he just has to convince Sam that life—and love—are worth fighting for.

I’m not even sure I have the words to express how much I loved this book.  It’s told from Xavi’s point of view as he struggles to come to terms with, not only his relationship with Sam, but the many painful choices he’s made in his life.  The writing is haunting and melancholy throughout most of the story but it drew me in and I couldn’t put the book down once I had started it. whoI highlighted many passages that I thought were especially moving. It’s a short story (only 80 pages) but there is a lot of plot and even more emotion packed in to it.  The characters were richly done and the emotional pain Xavi is going through jumps off the pages at you.  I found myself empathizing so much with him.  Most of the story revolves around Xavi and Sam but there are a host of side characters that add to the plot and  who were also really well done.   It is an angsty story (but you knew that from the blurb) and I’m not going to lie, my eyes filled with tears more than once, but it is well worth every minute of the pain because there is beauty here too.
Cover art by Garrett Leigh. I like the cover and think it fits really well with the plot of the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:
ebook, 80 pages
Expected publication: July 13th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634774779 (ISBN13: 9781634774772)
Edition LanguageEnglish