June Recent Reads

Hi All!

The last couple of months have been pretty hectic for me. Between finishing work on my new book ‘Following His Bliss’ to getting back into the swing of things at my day job, there hasn’t been a lot of time recently for writing up my monthly reading recommendations.

But I’m back now and I’ve got some new reads for you to check out. I’ll try to be more consistent in the future. In the meantime, I hope you have all been keeping safe and healthy!

“Ben’s Boss” by K.C. Wells

From the Blurb:

“Pearson’s a common name.”

“It can’t be him.”

“God wouldn’t be that cruel.”

A painful history

Walking into the job interview confirms Ben White’s worst fears. It’s been eight years since high school, yet he can still recall Wade Pearson’s taunts.

There’s always a chance Wade isn’t the same homophobic asshole Ben knew. Yeah right.

Except the boy Ben remembers has grown into one seriously hot, brooding man. In another life, Ben would have climbed him like a tree. Wade’s gaze still makes Ben shiver – although now for entirely different reasons.

A secret longing

As soon as Wade read Ben’s application, he knew he had to see him. Ben’s still as gorgeous as Wade remembers. It’s obvious he doesn’t expect to get the job, given their history.

But Wade has an agenda. He has to make it up to Ben for treating him so badly – not that Ben will ever know why he acted like he did. Seeing him every day only heightens Wade’s regret. If he’d had more courage back then, maybe he and Ben could have been something.

The least he can do is show Ben he’s changed.

There’s no way Wade can get what he really wants – Ben’s heart.

My Thoughts:

TW: School Bullying

K.C. Wells has the touch when it comes to taking difficult subject matter and making it the basis for an opposites attract / enemies to lovers romance. While the set up is a little contrived, it’s easily forgiven considering just how delightful this book is. The main characters are complex but easy to relate to, and the side characters are a hoot.

The topic of bullying is treated seriously and respectfully, but Wells wisely balances the weighty subject matter with a nice vein of humour and heartwarming moments. Overall, an enjoyable weekend read.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

“Freed” by E.L. James

From the Blurb:

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the decade, when Christian Grey will make Anastasia Steele his wife. But is he really husband material? His dad is unsure, his brother wants to organise one helluva bachelor party, and his fiancée won’t vow to obey . . .

And marriage brings its own challenges. Their passion for each other burns hotter and deeper than ever, but Ana’s defiant spirit continues to stir Christian’s darkest fears and tests his need for control. As old rivalries and resentments endanger them both, one misjudgement threatens to tear them apart.

Can Christian overcome the nightmares of his childhood and the torments of his youth, and save himself? And once he’s discovered the truth of his origins, can he find forgiveness and accept Ana’s unconditional love?

Can Christian finally be freed?

My Thoughts:

Normally, I only review M/M romance here, but Freed is probably one of the biggest book releases of the year and it’s got everyone talking. As a fan of the original Fifty Shades series, I have anticipated the release of Freed for quite some time.

It’s predecessor, Fifty Shades Freed, was a problematic novel. It’s non-linear chronology, awkward time skips and rushed, garbled plot garnered it the reputation of being the weakest book of the original trilogy. So I was keen to see if E.L. James would be able to correct these faults with the Christian-perspective version. And remarkably, she has.

Freed dumps the back and forth time jumps in favour of a more traditional chronology. The plot is better fleshed out and the reader is given significantly more insight into the inner thoughts of Christian, which helps to explain (if not forgive) some of his more bizarre behaviour.

Overall, Freed wraps up Christian and Ana’s story nicely, smooths some of the more rough edges from its predecessor and delivers some excellent insights into a controversial and complex character. It was worth the long wait!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

“All Kinds Of Tied Down” by Mary Calmes (Marshals Book 1)

From the Blurb:

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they’ve gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.

As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn’t working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted being all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn’t work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn’t being tied down at all.

My Thoughts:

As a long time fan of Mary Calmes’ body of work, it’s always a joy to revisit her stories. It’s been a few years since I last read through the Marshals series, but it’s always wonderful to revisit.

While each book has its own specific plot, when read back to back, the books feel like one long flowing story. Calmes has a habit of breaking up the main plots with delightful slice of life vignettes that allow for great character moments and personality development.

Miro and Ian’s story is slow burning, taking us on the journey from work partners and best friends, to lovers and more. Both characters are flawed, gritty, have interesting backstories and are guaranteed to capture your heart. If you like tough guys, romance, mystery and a little bit of kink, this is the series for you. Highly recommended!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

My new book ‘Following His Bliss’ is now available for Preorder!

Release Date: August 13 2021

Universal Amazon Link: http://mybook.to/FollowingHisBliss

Other Retailers (Apple, Kobo, Nook and more!): https://books2read.com/u/3GvKxa

Employee of the Month:

Nemesis – for keeping me on my toes!

Well, that’s all for this month. I hope you found something interesting to read. Please feel free to leave your own reading recommendations in the comments below. Until next month, be good, stay safe and play nice!

Lots of Love

Alex Leslie

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