A MelanieM Review: City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by A.E. Wasp


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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.

City Boy is a first time gay, fish out of water, May/December love story with a happy ending. It features snarky siblings, a dirty-talking farmer, lots of food, and big choices. (No poultry was harmed in the making of this book.)

Because I made a vow to go through STRW’s Hockey Romance list and read all the stories I missed and also because It’s now hockey season once more, I’ve started to read AE Wasp’s Hot Off the Ice series and I’ll tell you I’m loving it. City Boy (Hot Off the Ice #1) by A.E. Wasp is our introduction to the  boys of Thunder, the Seattle NHL Hockey team.  Actually, one of them who is in flux. That would be hockey all star Bryce Lowery, currently on the injured reserve list until he recuperates from his recent leg injury. But he’s fighting more than just a injury, and a  deceased relative, a will, and a road trip to Colorado might give him the change of direction he needs.

Dakota is a farmer, orchard farmer to be exact, one in danger of losing everything due to mislaid trust, naivete, and a crushing loss   .  And now he faces an uncertain future and nowhere to go.

This is one of those many trope story’s.  We have age gap, coming out, sexual discovery, as well as HEA.  And it all works because of Wasp’s wonderful charizations that allows us into the mindsets of each man as they make their journey towards each other and work their way through their individual issues.  City Boy is relatively low on angst, high on sweetness.  There are great dogs, wonderful sisters (on both sides), friends that appear, and, of course, teammates to gather round at Thanksgiving…all that start to form a “found family”.

Characters that form a foundation for the rest of the series.

This story is sweet, engaging, and really sets the stage for the rest of the series.  I love it and recommend it .

Cover art is perfect with the orchard at the bottom and Bryce at the top.  Love it.

Sales: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Published June 29th 2017
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review:A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label #1) by Ann Lister


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


Blade: As the lead singer of Hard Core, I’ve been taught several key life lessons. Unfortunately, I’ve also ignored many of them in the last twenty minutes alone, which is why I’m now being chased by a hoard of crazed fans.

But my worst misjudgment today? Going outside in public without security or a backup plan. Screaming fans come with the job and the fame is as much of a blessing as it is a curse, but I still couldn’t imagine doing any other line of work.

Music owns me and I am happy to be her bitch.

Nico: I knew who he was as soon as he burst through the front door of my store and I was absolutely starstruck and speechless. Yes, me with my own hardened attitude and jaded outlook on life had lost the ability to talk in the presence of Blade.

I’m an ex-con. I paid my debt to society, and I have my own brand of scars to show from the time I spent behind bars. My life’s regrets stain my soul as much as the ink of my tattoos color my skin. Solace for me came with ownership of a bookstore. It was a peaceful place to work until a certain rockstar blew in from the street like a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricane Blade was about to make landfall and I wasn’t sure I’d survive the storm.

A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label #1) by Ann Lister is the first in a new series by this author featuring a series of bands that play together and if this novel is any indication, it’s going to be a winner.  Ann Lister has her rock n’ rock cred having run her own video production company and worked within the music industry and it shows in her writing and the world building in this story.  We see not just the “Rock Gods” but their many layers of support from the fleet of eighteen wheelers and busses that carry them from venue to venue to the men and women that provide the setup for the productions and everyday security.  We see them in the recording studios, racing to hotels, interviews, green rooms, and even the parties.  It’s truly the good, the bad, and the ugly here.  Raw, gritty , and the golden…. all energized and hauled out and then folded into a romance.

Told in alternating pov, we start with Blade on the run…a fit thrown during practice and an ill advised flight for fresh air lead to a stampede of fans after him down the streets of New York City, His thoughts are bratty, funny, and actually realistically full of fear as he searches for refuge and coming up short with the screaming women hot on his heels.

From running fear filled star to Nico, that’s the next turn.  Talk about opposites attract trope.  This is it.  Nico is a rough around the edges, bookstore own.  He’s a man who has done time in prison, working to maintain his sobriety, and keep the legacy and his livelihood that is the bookstore his father left him running.  He has restricted his life after his father’s death down to the store and a tight schedule.  And now a rock star has crashed through his front door at closing.

There are many elements at play here in this story.  Most of them focus on Nico and not Blade.  Nico’s questioning of his sexuality (prison has a  lot to do with that), his realistic struggle to maintain sobriety when certain aspects of Blade’s lifestyle screams otherwise and I (honestly I don’t know why) kept expecting these issues to get a maybe less adult treatment or some GFY tag.  But Lister went for honesty here and I admire that.

Nico admitted his doubts and the manner in which he was introduced to sexual acts but also his attraction.  I believed it. And him.  As for the sobriety? Communication, some arguments, asking if he needed to call his sponsors (recognition of AA), all the right measures for someone who is an alcoholic and conscious of their sobriety.  It was a realistic part of the romance, not outside of it, astonishingly adult and wonderful.

If I thought the ending was a little rushed (and I did), well what went before was amazing.  The author was clearly setting up the universe for other stories to come with  some of the other bands and band members.  Hopefully we will also get to check up on Blade and Nico and see where they stand in their relationship as well.

Love opposites attract?  Rockers and their lovers?  Contemporary romance? How about all three?  Then pick up A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label #1) by Ann Lister and get in on the beginning of what looks like a wonderful new series.  I loved it and think you will too.

Cover art:  It’s perfect for Blade.  Hot, sexy, and rocking.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 347 pages
Published July 29th 2019 by Rock Gods, Inc.
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Rock Gods: East Coast Label #1