Rough Terrain – Annabeth Albert

rought

starstarstarstar

Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #7

Pages: 384

contemporary_rommmsoldierstears

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

I did it!! I started a new saga in 2018 and I have ended it in 2019!! Barely a year and a half to fulfill such accomplishment. It is pretty huge for me. I usually get distracted by new and shiny sagas and I forget about the ones that I had already started. The Out of Uniform series deserves that honor, even though there have been some books that are not that great. But, the last one is a nice goodbye, although it could have been better.

This last time we follow Renzo, the SEAL known as Rooster, a gym junkie and a skydiving lover who has to deal with the hero complex his family is putting on him. On the other hand, we have Canaan; the former drummer and current nurse student who is way too fond of Renzo’s tight T-Shirts. A fake boyfriend favor turns into an adventure to save their lives and they both realize that life is too precious to waste…

My first impression of the story is not a good one. It takes too long to go forward and the first chapters are a bit awkward. The initial chemistry between Renzo and Canaan was pretty low and unremarkable,  which made me be afraid I was going to face another boring couple that leaves me feeling indifferent. Thankfully, that changes little by little. The book really starts when they travel to the Colorado Canyon and have the little adventure against the elements. That was fun (for the readers, I’m not a sadist!!) and was the perfect stage for some necessary bonding between the main characters. After that, it keeps a slow pace, but steady and always forward.

The fact that I couldn’t connect with the main characters during the first chapters could have meant being bored to death during the most emotional situations; but, by the time those moments happen, the couple had already grown on me and I felt the sweet discomfort of the bumpy ride. These guys deserve happiness and I’m glad they have found a version of it. I must admit I am not altogether convinced of their arrangement. I can’t shake the feeling that the path taken has been chosen to please more Renzo’s mother thatn Renzo himself. But that could be my jelousy talking!

The characters are OK, but I have had a harder time to get to like them than I was expecting. Renzo is not the guy I thought, he is somehow better; but at the same time he is lacking something. He is a good guy, loyal, polite… He is way too good. He needed some spice, some cockiness, some player attitude. He looks the part, but doesn’t behave like that. It’s a bit disconcerting, actually. Until the author lets us know him better, Renzo is even a boring character. And Canaan… that guy is too direct. No filter or anything similar with this guy. All day talking about sex gets old very fast. He didn’t rock my world as he did with Renzo’s, but I admit they are pretty great together.

And now I will have to hunt down another of Annabeth’s sagas, because I like her style. Out of Uniform has been a welcome surprise. A sweet and emotional jouney through seven books that have shown me that Military Romance can be awesome if done properly.

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

Advertisements

Stygian – Sherrilyn Kenyon

stygian

starstarstarstarstar

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #27
Pages: 670

paranormal_romwarriorsdemonsshiftersmagicgold_startearsboom

Born before man recorded time, I lived for thousands of years, believing myself to be something I’m not.
Someone I’m not.
Lied to and betrayed by gods, Daimons, and Dark-Hunters, I’ve struggled to find my way in a world where I’ve been cursed since the moment a vengeful goddess prematurely ripped me from my mother and planted me into the womb of an innocent woman who thought me her son.
Trained as a slayer and predator, I’ve learned to fit in and stay low. To become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill the one woman I couldn’t. My hesitation cost her, her life.
Or so I thought. In an act of betrayal that makes all the others pale in comparison, I’ve learned that things are not what they seem in this world and that my Phoebe still lives.
Now I will have to travel into the very pits of Hades to try and save her, even as everyone around me attempts to steal what little soul I have left. There’s only one person at my back and I’m not sure I can trust her either, for she was born of an enemy race. Yet sometimes the road to redemption is one that singes us to our very core. And if I fail to find the answers I need to save Phoebe, more than just my wife will die.
We will lose the world. Both human and Daimon.
~Urian of the House of Aricles

I did it!! I did it!! I’m up-to-date with the Dark-Hunters saga!! *happy dance*. Only 33 more sagas to tackle! Sadly, I start much more than I finish, so it’s an impossible race against my To Be Read list. Well, sure steps and small victories. That’s the trick for a happy reader. I will start with the review now, before I lose myself into the metaphysical concepts of reading goals.

This is the book of Urian. Enough said! We follow the character through more than 11 thousand years. Since his weird birth, to the present time where he has to deal with the truth about Phoebe. A story about family, loss, survival and immortal love. A biography of one of the most charismatic characters of this saga!

This is a milestone book, like Acheron or Styxx; so is much longer than other Dark-Hunters books. But, while the other two were made for lovers of the saga, Stygian’s focus on lovers of Urian. If you don’t like the character, you won’t like the book. Story wise, there is not much to tell. All the focus of the book is on the former Daimon and his lengthy life. Yes, there is still a bit of the epic craziness we love; but if you think that is going to be the main course, you are meant to be disappointed. Even though Urian’s story is a lot of fun, I guess that could not be enough for some readers.

Gladly, it’s not my case. I love the character, so I have enjoyed every single page of this book. After the dragon trilogy that left me with a sour aftertaste, I needed something like this to boost my love for this saga. I have laughed, cried, bitten my nails, jumped in the bed, yelled at it… All the emotions you can imagine. I was eager to finish my work day to reunite with Urian and all the amazing characters that wander around his life. I’ve been team Urian 100%, to the point that I considered the Dark-Hunters my mortal enemies as well. It’s one of the things I have loved the most about Stygian. Getting to know a much deeper point of view of Apollite and Daimon life has made me more empathetic towards them. I know I shouldn’t give the time of day to people like Stryker, Urian, Davyn and the others, but I can’t help thinking they were the true heroes of the book.

I’m extremely happy with this book, but I must point out some of the weakest elements of it. Once we reach the present time, the story becomes a retelling of previous books. Not as heavy as with Illarion’s book; but there is a nice hunk invested in telling us again Wulf’s, Acheron’s, Styxx’s and Falcyn’s books. Thankfully, the author drops some “deleted scenes” and different points of view to tell us again the same thing; so it’s much more bearable than expected. And let’s be honest, those books are important to undertsand Urian’s story, so I guess some readers will be glad for the refresher.

The other part that makes me frown a little is the ending. I have a love/hate realtionship with it. On one hand, it’s a new dawn for the Dark-Hunters and the Daimons. One I’m eager to devour as soon as the next book is published. On the other hand, the part of the story about Phoebe feels a little too short. After the ending of Falcyn’s book, I was breathless with the revelation that Phoebe was still alive. I needed to know Urian’s reaction. But it takes 90% of this book to just reach the same point in the timeline where the previous book left us. It took so long, that I was afraid the resolution of that plot twist was going to be weak and easy. And, sadly, I wasn’t wrong. I don’t mean it was horrible, far from it! I just think it hasn’t made any justice to the cliffhanger we had after Dragonsworn.

I can’t finish without mentioning my recently discovered love towards a character that has been there for a while but never caught my attention that badly. I’m talking about Davyn. If I could make a wish related to this saga, that would be to get his book sooner rather than later. Or maybe the longer wait will make his story sweeter. Ugh! Sometimes being a reader feels like a constant fight against myself…

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

Axios – Jaclyn Osborn

ax

starstarstarstar

Author: Jaclyn Osborn
Pages: 334

historical_rommmwarriorsfirst_persongoresweetboomtearsteachgold_star

I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.

But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have.

Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.

However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.

I rarely read Historical books. For some weird reason I don’t enjoy that genre as much as any other. I’m capable of immersing myself in a contemporary book, or in a fantasy world or maybe in a far galaxy full of wonders. But when I have to surround myself with historical events I usually get dizzy and lose the North. So, in order to pick a Historical book, I need a carrot. In this case the carrot was a M/M Spartan tale.

The book is written from the point of view of Axios, a spartan boy who is forced to start his training to become a warrior as every other male in that city. He is different from the rest, though. He is not bloodthirsty and has dreams beyond the so-called glory of battle. The other side of the coin is represented by Eryx, who excels at everything during their training and is a firm believer of the Spartan way. The unlikely friendship between the two of them blooms into sexual attraction and later into deep love. We, the readers, are invited to follow that journey through serveral years.

First of all, I must congratulate the author on the perfect guide tour for that period of time. It is far from being a History lesson, but the readers will get tons of fun facts about the life in the ancient Sparta. And by fun I mean the mostly bloody, cruel and desensitize life they have to follow to a T. Before reading this book, my interest in Sparta was non-existent; but now I know it is much richer and surprsing than what movies have shown us. The fact that this book has made me curious about it is already a huge accomplishment. Thumbs up for teacher Osborn!!

The book has two main weak points that are greatly surpassed by the good ones. One of them is the beginning. The pace at first feels too slow. In order to easy the reader into the way of things of Sparta, the story of the characters has to start when they are pretty young. After that, we have time jumps of two years until they reach their early twenties. Those first chapters felt much longer than they actually are. I understand the need of them, but a faster pace for them would have been great. The other weak aspect of the book is the action or, better said, the lack of it. We are being told the tale of some Spartan warriors, but there are barely any fight scene in the book. The ones we get are usually rushed and just long enough to deliver some emotional blow. I guess I was expecting much more action from a book based on that period of time. With those two complaints it could look like the book could be boring, but nothing would be further from reality. The hard truth is that Axios is not a book about warriors from Sparta. It is a book about love between two people who shouldn’t be involved with each other.

So, when you embrace the truth about this story, you are up fro a treat. This is one of the most beautful love stories I have ever read. It is unexpectedly sweet and full of heart-melting gestures. Every time Eryx looked for Axios’s hand to reassure him before a big event, the butterflies in my stomach would perform several summersaults to applaud that simple gesture brimmig over with true love. The whole book is cramped with those. I will forever be grateful for having been given the chance of witnessing their story through several years. From their initial shy encounters to the full power of their passion during adulthood. From friendship to unbreakable loyalty to each other. I have enjoyed every moment of it: the happy moments, the storytelling, the games, the constant support, the doubts, the fights, the sad moments, the extremely sad moments, the please-kill-me-now moments (yes, the one that will leave you crying like a baby for hours…). All of it!!

It is not perfect, but I will treasure the memory of this book until the end of my days. Even now some tears are threatening to come out just remembering the whole story again. This is the first book by Jaclyn Osborn I have ever read, buy I’m going to make sure that it won’t be the last.

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie

lastargument

starstarstarstarstar

Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: The First Law #3

Pages: 670

epic_fantasywarriorsgorefrenzyboomtearsgold_star

The end is coming. Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him but it’s going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the King of the Northmen still stands firm, and there’s only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy. It’s past time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.

With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. His days with a sword are far behind him. It’s a good thing blackmail, threats and torture still work well enough.

Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is far too painful, and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too, and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.

While the King of the Union lies on his deathbead, the peasants revolt and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No one believes that the shadow of war is falling across the very heart of the Union. The First of the Magi has a plan to save the world, as he always does. But there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, after all, than to break the First Law…

Last book of the trilogy of The First Law, which I have taken my sweet time to read it and enjoy it. Thankfully, the author has written much more books based on that world. And, after the earth-shattering ending of this one, they are more than needed. I know they don’t follow the same story per se, but I’m hoping for enough winks and nods to put my mind at rest. Fingers crossed! By the way, this review will have heavy spoilers, because I can’t truly write about my feelings without them.

After the disappointment of ending their epic quest empty handed, the group go back home. Bayaz, Quai, Logen, Jezal, Ferro and Longfoot go to the capital of the Union and, from there, they say their goodbyes. Logen travels to the North to meet their friends and help them in the fight against Bethod. The rest stay in Adua with different objectives in mind. Meanwhile, the Gurkish Empire decides it has been in the background of the plot for far too long…

This last book is divided in two big chunks: the war against Bethod and the North and the war against the Gurkish Empire in the capital of the Union. I have enjoyed the later much more than the first one, but that doesn’t mean the brutish Northmen lack the abilty of hooking me up. I was just a bit sad while reading it. In the previous book, Logen blossomed as a character. I really wanted for him to be happy and I thought his going back home could be a first step. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Ninefingers is miserable among his people. I wanted to take him back to Adua and Ferro and let him be happy, but it seems his honor demanded to see the war against Bethod handled. It’s pretty hard to read how his so-called friends turn on him little by little. Even the congratulations after the much needed victory feel empty (which is totally on point taking into account the very final chapter of the book…). The best moments of the plot in the North are those with the focus on West. The soldier shows a lot of cunning and leadership skills that I dind’t know he was capable of. My opinion of this character has improved greatly since the first book.

But the mamia is mostly in the capital of the Union. There stay most of the original team fulfilling diverse roles. Glokta is balancing his many masters in order toi keep his head. Jezal is being catapulted to the top of the noble life thanks to Bayaz. Ferro is Ferro, so she is looking for new ways to get her revenge on the Gurkish Empire. And Bayaz… I will talk about him later (do NOT expect nice words). Jezal is the subject of one of the most shocking and unexpected moments of the book. It made me smile from ear to ear. I was salivating thinking about the reaction of Glokta, so prone to jelousy when the former Captain is involved. Sadly, there is not much time to enjoy the new era due to the massive Gurkish armada attacking the Union. Unexpected allies and returns just in time are two of the main ingredients that save (barely) the situation…

The most important role in the events that are into play during the battle is the one conducted by Bayaz. He could be mistaken as the hero who stopped the dreadful Eaters of the Gurkish Empire. by far the most formidable adversaries. But it is also during the first days after the victory that all pretenses are dropped. Bayaz is bad news. Very bad news. He is a liar, a murderer, a tyrant, a master manipulator. Everything that happens was to enhance his glory, no matter if the puny mortals that surround him are oblitarated. He put all the pieces together to create and solve the issue, as if it were a simple game for him. The cruelty, the coldness, the emotional impact that he provokes in every character… I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was fuming with pure anger. The real bad guy of the books was walking free… I was so invested in the story that I truly felt his traitorous backstabbing. I hate him with a passion. I can’t think of another character in any other book that I would like to see suffer as much as Bayaz deserves.

If Bayaz getting away with his crimes wasn’t bad enough, he leaves his “friends” in a sorry state. Ferro has been touched by the Other Side. She is hearing voices, but the First of the Magi doesn’t care at all. He has used her as a kleenex. Use once and drop it. Yulwei is trapped or dead in the Tower, after being left there by his supposed friend. Another one who has outlived his usefulness. West… man… that one is hard. After all he has done to get the North back and save the capital, he is affected by a weird illness that has transformed him in little more than a corpse. A disease released by Bayaz experiments. And it wasn’t an accident. He knew about it and he didn”t care. Even wrose, I bet he could do something to cure it… but he just shrugs and turns around. He despises everyone who is not Bayaz. Disgusting fella… Jezal’s situation is not better. He has been placed as King thanks to the lies of Bayaz, but the Magi expect full obedience. When he doesn’t agree with his methods, Bayaz uses his power to submit Jezal thorugh pain in a really cruel exchange that left me speechless and trembling. And I could keep going with Glokta, Logen and more.

I must congratulate the author on the mastery of the plot. He creates a fully character driven story through the first two books to make the reader at home with them. To make the reader feel like part of the group. Like a friuend to them if you get into books as much as I do. And then he drops the bomb and the reader is too close to avoid collateral damage. I have had a knot in my throat while writing this review. I don’t know when I will recover. I just wish that we will see Bayaz fail in the future books sooner or later. I am like Ferro now. Only driven by vengeance.

Well played, Mr Abercrombie. Well played. These books are going to be amongst the most special ones I have ever read.

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

Squared Away – Annabeth Albert

squared

starstarstarstarstar

Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #5

Pages: 320

contemporary_rommmsoldierstearshotgold_star

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

The previous book of the Out of Uniform saga left me cold and with an uneasy feeling. I was actaully scared that the series was going down a path of mediocrity pretty fast. But, I’m always glad to be wrong. The fifth book is awesome. It’s up there with the first one or the third one. A true pleasure for a reader like me.

This time the story focuses on Mark, a.k.a. Wizard, a medic SEAL who is too used to take charge in every crisis. He is about to face the biggest crisis yet: the death of his sister and brother-in-law leaving behind three little kids… He rushes home to take care of them, but he finds Isaiah, another uncle of the kids, managing everything just fine (as fine as it can be in that situation…). They already knew each other, but the relationship is pretty strained. They have to get passed their differences to put their best faces for the kids and that’s the first step of their unlikely romance…

This is maybe the hardest story so far in the saga. It’s so unfair to see the life of those kids rattle so badly and yet getting used to their new reality so fast and stoically. Reading how Isaiah and Mark jump to claim the guardianship of the kids even though they had almost zero experience with them, when it would have been easier for them to let them be processed by the system, was an emotionally rewarding experience. It was really heart-warming and an example to follow. I would lie if I’d say I didn’t cry more than once (I kind of love crying with books. That means they have something especial). I was even a bit angry with the behaviour of the legal system and the social workers that were so worry about the well-being of the kids that, in order to protect them, their well-being and happiness were actually the first things to be in jeopardy. I have no idea how that works in Spain, so even more clueless about that in the United States, but what I read in this book… It’s crazy that the uncles were constantly questioned about their intentions when it was pretty obvious they cared for the kids.

If that drama wasn’t enough, there are obviously romantic issues to add to the mix. As in previous books, those are mainly fear to be open about the sexuality of one or more of the characters. In this case, the one having doubts was Mark. When the book gets its hands dirty explaining Mark’s sexualty I wasn’t down for it. Too much terms being thrown at the reader in a short amount of time: pansexual, demisexual, asexual, gray ace… I couldn’t follow the author. I even had to stop reading to look for the meaning of gray ace, only to discover that it was explained in the book. But, as if a mage herself, the unintended misdirection of the juggling of terms made me miss the proper explanation for the proper term… Once the first impression is passed, I’m glad Annabeth took that path in the book. Mark’s sexuality grants the hard cuddling scenes a level of eroticism I haven’t found in a book in a really long time. I tend to consider sex the boring, or the least interesting, part in a romance book, but in this case it adds so much to the story.

The characters were also a surprised. I barely remembered Wizard from other books and Isaiah was just a cameo in the Ben’s and Maddox’s book, so I wasn’s expecting to like them so much so fast. I love everything about them when they are apart and together, except the luck of trust on each other during the first weeks. If they would have talked, really talk, about the guardianship of the kids, they would have spared themselves of pretty hurtful situations. Although, in that case, I think the book would have been less enjoyable. Am I a bad person for wishing hard times for characters I love? Sometimes it’s hard to balance morals and reading passions.

In any other book I would have hated the classic end of a Romance book, but this time I will have to admit that is perfect. Yes, rushed; but utterly logic. It needed to be done for the sake of the kids and I have zero doubts in my mids that those kids are even happier now than with their real parents. How the system could doubt that is beyond my comprehension… I hope we know more about this couple in future books. I would love to check on them to see if everything is going fine.

I started this saga about a year ago and I do not regret one single momento of it, even though there have been some down times. I will always trust this author to deliver awesome stories and characters. I should start looking at her other works more seriously now. I’m almost at the end of the Out of Uniform series (just two more if the author doesn’t publish any more).

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

All The Right Moves – Becca Taylor

rightmoves

starstarstar

Author: Becca Taylor
Pages: 233

contemporary_romfriendstoloversfirst_persontearshotweak

Being called the worst boyfriend can do a number on a man’s ego.
But I handled it the way any full-grown adult male would—by eating copious amounts of carbs and wallowing over whether I was good enough.
I admit, it wasn’t the best of moments, but it made me realize I needed answers to the question, what are women looking for inside and out of the bedroom?
After I researched the subject, I compiled my data into a solution.

Thirty days.
Thirty right moves.

But I needed to test out my newfound theories, and my best friend, Tenley, was going to help.
It was a foolproof plan.
We would date and act like a real couple, all in the name of research. And when the thirty days were up, we would go back to being just friends.
Piece of cake, right?
Only, I forgot to take into consideration the multiple outcomes. Specifically, the one where it left me wanting more and refusing to go back to what we were… ever again.

What is the main thing I expect from a Romantic Comedy novel? To have some good laughs along the romance. Witty banter and funny situations. Some belly ache due to a really bad joke. Sense of humor in general. So, let me be disappointed if a so-called Romantic Comedy is anything except comedic. It’s harsh, but it is the truth. Nonetheless, it’s a nice reading that I have enjoyed.

The story is mostly told from the point of view of Preston, a 25-yearl-old guy whose girlfriend has just dumped him. That same girlfriend wrote a list about the worst attributes of Preston and that made the guy to apply his statistical skills to forge his own list with the steps to become the perfect date. On the other hand we have Tenñey, the best friend forever of said guy who has always been in love with him but has neves got the guts to say something fearing it could destroy their friendship. Lucky for her, Preston decides that she would be the perfect guinea pig for his recently minted list to become a mind-blowing lover.

When I read the blurb I was so down for this. I thought that Preston was going to be kind of a crappy guy whose cockiness would let him believe he could make a list to be irresistible to any girl. I was expecting the sweet erosion of the macho male realizing little by little that what he has is not what women want. The typical case of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A path that should be ridden with lots of funny situations and banter. But the truth is far from that and it’s the main issue I have with this book. All the plot is based on Chanel breaking up with Preston because he sucks at everything surrounding a romantic couple. But since the beginning we take notice that Chanel’s opinion doesn’t hold any weight. She is stuck in her teenage years and all her comments in the book are petty and utterly immature. So… why the hell Preston takes it so seriously??? He makes the list to become a better boyfriend, but he doesn’t really need one and he barely uses it during the book. What I was sold as the foundation of the story is just a passing moment that doesn’t make any sense…

For the sake of the story, I tried to believe that Preston needed the list and I was ready to enjoy his application of said ways to improve himself. Here comes the second issue. He picks his best friend, Tenley, to test it out. I don’t know if it was meant to be a funny situation, but for me was very awkward and not enjoyable at all. So yes, the beginning of this book wasn’t working for me. I had too many issues with it and none of the humor I was promised. Thankfully, once the first barrier is passed; it is pretty easy to start getting along with the main characters.

The main strength, and I dare to say the only one, is the cast of the book. Alone, Preston and Tenley are nothing out of the extraordinary, but together… There is nothing better in a Romance book that a couple you totally believe in. The author sold me the purest love she could come up with and I bought it!! They are so sweet together that the sex scenes, even when falling in the light espectrum, are really hot. I also have to thank the author for using Preston point of view during some of those scenes. In many M/F books with dual point of view, the sexy times are always related from the woman point of view; so this has been a welcome change.

The peak moment is almost at the end, when their love story is beautifully summarized with just one word: right. That is how it felt and I approve that the author didn’t try to overexplain their feelings. It wasn’t needed. It’s one of those cases where the love is so obvious that trying to rationalize it would ruin it. I even cried a little bit, becasue I felt truly happy for them. Yes, the couple won me over and I was totally invested.

It’s an uneventful book that I would never label it as Romantic Comedy with a misleading blurb and really sloppy beginning, but it compensates some of those weaknesses with a great couple. This is a standalone book, but it seems the author has created a Universe where all her books take place; so the characters could appear in other works. I’m curious. I’m a sucker for interconnected stories. I wasn’t impressed with the book, but learning about that has made me check more of Becca’s books.

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

Wheels Up – Annabeth Albert

wheel

starstarstarstar

Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #4

Pages: 320

contemporary_rommmsoldiershottearsweak

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

I have never struggled so much in my life to give a mark to a book. I usually know the number of points it gets as soon as I finish them. This time it took me a while. I like the book, no doubt about that. It’s just… I don’t know. The other books of this saga felt more substantial.

This time we meet Dustin, Dylan’s brother, who is a closeted bisexual army guy having a rough time dealing with himself. And on the other hand we have Wes, a gay SEAL who doesn’t like being the focus of attention… so he hides himself from the world. They met using an app with the self-explanatory name of Joe4Joe and their love relationship starts to blossom. Too bad Wes ends in Dustin’s team and military regulations frown upon that kind of things…

The main trait of the Out of Uniform books is the well written and well handle drama. In this case the main characters have to deal with the crazy army regulations against fraternization. I could understand that a love interest in the same team could mean a distraction, so they have to avoid them. But in this case we are told the XO can’t even show friendship of any kind to any of the people below him. I’m an ignorant without any family or friend even closed to the military lifestyle, but that seems a bit too much. Such cold environment in the line of command would drive me crazy! I wonder how so many people can take that path in life with so many human restrictions. It doesn’t feel natural, but that’s not the point of the review.

What I wanted to say before starting babbling is that Dustin and Wes had enough drama with the military. There was no need of adding the sexual identity drama to the mix. Any other time with any other set of characters I would have welcomed it, but in this case… it’s a nonsense. Dustin’s family and firends are very tolerant, so I don’t know where the fear to reveal himself comes from. Almost all of his friends are gay!! If you can be open with them… no one can. So yeah, I couldn’t believe Dustin’s turmoil in that aspect (which he recognizes at then end…). A little more believable is Wes’ closet situation. Even though he could totally be opened with his friends, he is just some kind of emotional masochist.

And talking about Wes and emotions… His sister part of the plot almost killed me. I felt it pretty deeply, even though there are barely five pages total about it. I would have loved something else about Sam and a lot less sex scenes. That story thread isn’t properly finished and that pissed me off a little bit.

I have a love-hate relationship with the sex scenes in this book. The first ones are really good. Plenty of eroticism to feed anyone’s fantasies for a long time. But soon they feel a bit too much. Most of the book is a loop of Dustin and Wes meeting when they shouldn’t, having sex and regretting it the day after. Over and over again. The book gets stuck so badly that I got fed up of its adult parts pretty quickly. Annabeth was so much better balancing the plot and the sex in the previous books…

I liked the book, yes; but I have more issues with it than with the other ones I have read of this saga. I still love the authr’s style and the lovely characters she creates, so I will keep reading more of the Out of Uniform saga!

paragraph1

2018 – Book Gallery