LAST YEAR I WAS READING…(September 14, 2022)

Here are the rules:

Take your current read and compare it to what you reading this exact time last year. Which one do you like better? What is different about the books? Any special facts/things you want to make note of or bring attention to?

This meme was created by Reading Marie. It’s a great meme because it’s nice and easy to do.

This Year I Am Reading…

Murder, trauma, and raising children – who said love was easy?

Mac and Tony thought the hard part was over. They’re together openly as a couple, sharing a home and building a life with their two kids. It’s what they dreamed of.

But daughter Anna struggles with the changes, Ben is haunted by old secrets, Mac’s job in Homicide still demands too much of his time, and Tony is caught in the middle. It’ll take everything these men can give to create a viable balance between home and work. Especially when life refuses to give them a break.

(This suspenseful mystery-romance is a lightly edited rerelease of the 2011 original.)

Bookshop: UK
Amazon Buy Links: KindleAudiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook

This series is very compelling. It has a lot of elements that I’m not too keen on, but with good writing and JF Harding’s powerful delivery, there’s a good chance I’ll finish.

Last Year I Was Reading…

Two men on opposite sides of the law: will they be able to set aside their differences and trust love?

Danylo Peters has issues, lots of them. He’s not on Piedras Island by accident, he’s not a nice guy, and Peters isn’t his real name. Dany’s in hiding, trying to escape his family’s influence and start a new life. But Dany must have been born under a bad sign because the very man he’s really running from is one of the first he runs into.

A new life in a new town seemed like the right decision for Soren Jorgensen, especially after a difficult case left him recovering from a gunshot wound and lonely as he’d ever been. Finding Dany living on Piedras brings back all the feelings he’d tried to lock away. He’s angry and bitter and Dany is not going to continue to get away with his old tricks. Too bad Dany is just as compelling as he ever was.

The two men find themselves on opposite sides of Soren’s first case on Piedras, but neither is able to deny the attraction between them. They keep finding themselves in compromising situations; if they’re found out there will be Real Trouble.

Real Trouble is set in the Veiled Intentions world, while familiar characters appear Real Trouble can be read as a standalone. Real Trouble is a dual POV following Soren Jorgensen and Danylo Peters as they fight their way to their HEA and is the first in the new West Coast Forensics series.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: Kindle | Audiobook
Amazon UK Buy Links: Paperback | Audiobook

Real Trouble is a great police procedural in that I don’t care about uncovering the criminal’s identity, I just enjoyed tagging along with the detective because the author made it fun to do so.

My 4-star review here.

Today we have two similar police procedurals investigating murder. The current is in a big town and features an established couple moving their relationship forward, while last year’s is in a small island town and features a second chance romance. Both couples have an opposite attracts dynamics with a big, tough, and gruff law enforcement love interest. The current read has a police detective and a teacher. Last year’s has a deputy and a chef with secrets.

The current case deals with the deaths of young men involved in the BDSM scene. The MC is the partner and subordinate of the lead detective, and the story frequently shows the teamwork involved in the investigation. Last year’s case is about the death of an island local, plus some isolated arson incidents. The deputy usually works alone. The sheriff’s department being understaffed is a running thread in the series.

The current book is Home Work, the 3rd book in the contemporary mystery romance, Life Lessons. It’s a very apt title with a high school teacher, Tony Hart, and his boyfriend, Jared MacLean, moving in with their respective kids, Ben and Anna, trying to make it all work. Soon after, they decided to make it official and set a date.

Here’s hoping the overworked workaholic Mac makes it to his own wedding, especially with an investigation currently underway. A homeless, drug-addicted young man was found dead. Marks on the victim showed he might have participated in BDSM. This took Mac to a world of barely legal boys and hulking doms who love to see them bleed. A scene Mac found distasteful.

Life Lessons has some pretty tough parts to go through, particularly the homophobia and religious bigotry. Book 2 was especially hard, but this 3rd book has a significantly lighter feel. Mac and Tony are in a good place, and Mac is now out of the closet. The way the weight was lifted off Mac’s shoulders was palpable, and I loved how the this book reflected that. It also showed how religion could be more inclusive and how it could positively affect the life of a queer person. I’m happy I stuck with this series. It’s quite a rewarding journey and there more to come!

Real Trouble is the series opener of West Coast Forensics set in Piedras Island. A local was murdered, and it’s up to Deputy Sheriff Soren Jorgenson to investigate. Then there was a fire in a landmark hotel. To Soren’s shock, he saw the last person he expected to see, his ex Danylo Peters, working as the new chef. Dany has a sordid past he’s running away from, and has moved to the island under an assumed name. He and Soren had a thing way back, but Dany ghosted after his cousin shot Soren. 

As their paths crossed again, they found the flames still burned hot, even with the old hurts, the anger, and the bitterness. Their shared past already gave them an insta-connection that made their second chance believable even if they were apart majority of the time.

The investigation was the most fun part. It took me around Piedras. I have already read several related books, and the island was familiar and comfortable. Many of the people there felt like old friends I’d love catching up with. The small-town camaraderie made the island feel like a home you always return to. It’s why I keep going back to Elle Keaton‘s books.

Between detectives and deputies, home is worth the trouble and work one puts into it.

I’m ending the post with a book I’m looking forward to reading.

When paintings for an artist who disappeared roughly fifty years ago suddenly surface, Charlie and his friends decide it might be worth looking into what really happened. Besides, who isn’t up for adventure and fun in Buenos Aires?

But things go horribly sideways when Charlie stumbles across Dr. William freaking Monroe—the only man to claim and then destroy Charlie’s heart.

Now they’re on the run, dodging bullets and digging for the truth. Charlie wants nothing to do with Will. It’s his heart that’s screaming for a second chance.

Is it too late to get past years of anger and misunderstandings to grab the love that still burns between them?

Charlie’s Doctor is the first full-length novel in the Shadow Elite mercenary series and features stubborn men with poor communication skills, second chances, meddling brothers, explosions, and love on the run in Argentina.

Bookshop: US
Amazon Buy Links: US | UK

After Exit Strategy, I miss Jocelynn Drake‘s mercenary romance stories. This one’s looks super fun!

What were you reading this time last year?

(I hope it’s as riveting as Morticia’s book)

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