Winter of the Owl by Iris Foxglove

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary: 

Sava has the best house in all of Lukos. He built it himself, dreaming of the day when he and Milan, the man he loved, could live there and brave the harsh winters of Lukos together—only to be devastated when Milan was found dead in the spring. Fraught with grief, Sava resigns himself to spending his winters alone.

Then a stranger appears on his doorstep, and everything changes.

Victor is a scholar from Gerakia, a land known for its long summers and vibrant history, and he has never been more unprepared in his life. Abandoned on the inhospitable island of Lukos after a disastrous relationship, Victor has to adapt quickly to survive. It helps, of course, that he’s taken in by Sava, who has the biggest heart of any man Victor has ever known. Victor and Sava start to make a home together, growing close as snow falls outside, but the true danger of a Lukos winter is closer than they suspect…
 

Review

So many tropes in this one! Forced proximity, opposites attract, share one bed, snowed in, strangers to lovers, chosen family.

My heart broke for Victor in the beginning. I had a legitimate what the actually fuck? kind of moment. He’s such a bright character and to see someone so willingly just throw that away? Oh it hurt my heart. I was so glad to see he landed somewhere like Lukos.

In an island of exiles, Victor found something beautiful, a home.

Sava had been living his winters alone since the loss of Milan. He has steadily been building a home that would be fit for a mate. Sava has got to be the kindest soul out there. He’s definitely something you would look for in a partner, no matter what world you live in.

There were light BDSM tones. In this world there are dominates and submissives, but it’s not on the extreme end of the spectrum. While there are the traditional roles, Sava and Victor didn’t hold stead fast to them. Victor was very much the scholar, not the best at the home tasks. I found that adorable, seeing Sava step in and explain and teach things to Victor. He did it in a way that was not at all condescending towards Victor. You could tell they cared about each other.

The romance scenes between the two of them weren’t so steamy. You can definitely feel the chemistry between the pair. There were some great kisses between the pair. If you’re looking for something extremely graphic, you definitely won’t get that here.

The suspense or conflict in this was an easy one for me to figure out. I had that figured out pretty early on, but I kept reading because I loved Victor and Sava’s interactions. I knew there was a lot of their relationship I wanted to read about.

Overall, did I enjoy this? Oh yes. Will I read future books in the series? Yes. I needed the fantasy fix and there were so many tropes in this that had mee excited.

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Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

Review

If you haven’t read this series, and you’re a fan of sports, college-aged, organized crime, then you’ll probably want to grab a copy. I had avoided reading this because I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. So many people fell in love with this series, I didn’t want to be the person who didn’t. I read this in four hours, then proceeded to buy the next two books in the series so I could read those too and figure out what the heck was going to happen. I have some mixed feelings about this series.

Neil has lived his life on the run. He gave himself one thing to enjoy, Exy. Exy is a combination of hockey and lacrosse. He plays well and enjoys the sport. When he’s scouted to play in college, even if it’s for the PSU Foxes, he isn’t sure if he should say yes or no. He has a history with the star player, Kevin, even if Kevin doesn’t recognize him.

Throughout the summer and the beginning of the fall semester, there are a lot of growing pains for the Foxes. Trust doesn’t come easily, for any of the players. They all have their trauma and their ways of coping. Neil definitely didn’t know what he was getting into accepting the scholarship.

This is a character driven story and there isn’t any romance in this book. The entire book is setting you up for a big reveal and it leaves you on a cliffhanger. I had a fondness for Andrew, I don’t know why, but I did. He and Neil, had this chemistry even when they detested each other in the beginning.

I’m hoping that in the next installment I’m able to connect a little more with the characters and I get some answers!

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