Tuesday 31 August 2021

Summer of Love 2021 - Vino & Veritas Mini-Reviews

In May, I did the covers reveal of five Vino and Veritas titles: Stronghold by Ana Ashley, Limelight by E. Davies, Showstopper by Regina Kyle, Unforgettable by Marley Valentine and Undone by Leslie McAdam (link to the cover reveal is here). And after doing the cover reveals, I treated myself to a few pre-orders (originally, it was meant to be one or two, and once I got my feet more firmly into this series, buy some more and do some experimenting with MM romances). I preordered Leslie McAdams's Undone and Marley Valentine's Unforgettable. Then, a few days later, Ana Ashley's Stronghold (I had, I think, finished Ana's How To Catch A Prince and went "Oh, I need this!"). 

And when I finally got the preorders on my kindle, it was a few days before I started my new Real Life job so I had to do some planning over how was going to read this. I, finished Stronghold over a course of several days and then started Unforgettable almost immediately afterwards. I wanted to read/include Undone here but due to blogging commitments, I will have to save for another day (which is sad as a side character in Unforgettable is the lead and I liked him hugely!). So, here we are with Stronghold and Unforgettable

In Stronghold, Skyler and Judson used to be best friends. Then something happened and Judson vanished from Skyler's life and he has no idea why. When, ten years later, Skyler is shocked to discover Judson is back in town. Skyler never forgot his former best friend, but he can't forgive him for leaving without saying a word. But he can't understand, when they meet, why Judson acts so coldly to him? 

Meanwhile, Judson doesn't want to be in the family home, but where else do you go when your life falls apart? He used to be a world class chef, but now... now he's in town, working as a bartending, trying to get over the events that happened in Paris which weren't his fault and trying to figure out how to get away. But when he sees Skyler, he wonders if he could forgive Skyler for what happened ten years ago and if they can be friends again? 

In Unforgettable, Reeve and Oz meet up on a dating app for a one night stand. Which will work well for them both as Oz doesn't do relationship and Reeve is only in Vermont for the summer. But after one unforgettable night, both are shocked that they're now working together as Reeve is a summer temp. While the two have a strong insta-lust and can't seem to keep their hands off each other while trying to be friends, when Oz asks Reeve for a favour: pretend to be his boyfriend for his sister's wedding. Reeve, surprisingly, says yes and as the two spend more time together, it's obvious that the lines between what's fake and what's real become very blurred. 

I read both of these quite quick. Stronghold was only four or five days while Unforgettable took just over a week. So, these are both fast, fun MM romances with a nice amount of steamy, angst and Happily Ever After-ness. 

Both surprised me as, while being light and fun romances, had an undercurrent to them. In Stronghold, both Judson and Skyler are hugely likeable but both have their issues: Skyler's father has a gambling addiction which bubbles in the background and Judson has huge self-esteem and body confidence issues. And in Unforgettable, both Oz and Reeve have issues with their parents (though Oz's issues are very much on the page while Reeve's are more off page) and again, Reeve does has self-confidence issues. 

I'm not sure what to write in this write-up and I liked them both though, I think, I prefer Stronghold over Unforgettable (though I do love Oz and one of the side characters, Murph, is the lead in Undone and I can't wait to read his story when I have time!). I wonder if it's because I have read Ana Ashley before while Marley Valentine is very new to me and I was taking my time more with this rather than Ana's. 

But both are solid instalments in the Vino and Veritas series and I am very intrigued over Undone and one or two other instalments in the series that I might buy/treat self to before the end of the year. 

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