Book Review – First Impressions by Jay Hogan

Auckland Med #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 257
Characters: Michael/Josh, Cam, Sasha, Paris
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Series

Two years ago I made a mistake, a big one and then I threw in a couple more just for good measure. I screwed up my life big time but I made it through. I was lucky.

Then I was given the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in Auckland, NZ, ‘The City of Sails’. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to get my life back together.

I grabbed it and packed my new set of golden rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

The only thing I know for certain about Dr. Michael Oliver is the guy is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I’d barely survived the last one of those in my life. Once was more than enough.

The man might be gorgeous but my eleven-year-old daughter takes number one priority and I won’t risk her being hurt, again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop and a son to pain in the arse, bigoted parents.

I don’t have time for games.
I don’t have time for taking chances.
I don’t have time for more complications in my life.

And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is.

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I love the opening description. It pulled me right in and hooked me from the beginning. Although I’ve read this story after the next one in the series, reading out of order didn’t detract from my reading enjoyment. In fact, it was the opposite as I’d wanted to read Michael and Josh’s story, and I also loved seeing Cam in this story and was very happy that he has a decent sized role. He’s just as fabulous as he is in Crossing the Touchline.

An added bonus for me is that this story is set in New Zealand. I always get a kick out of Kiwi references in stories.

I loved the characters. Michael and Josh are both easy to relate to, and I became invested in their story very quickly. I liked how, although the physical attraction between them is instant, they both fight their feelings, and that it does take a while for them to build a relationship and friendship. I also liked how Josh’s daughter comes first in his life, and how his actions reflect that. I thought the misunderstandings were well written, and came across realistically rather than as a plot device.

The supporting cast add to the story, and besides Cam, I loved Josh’s sister, Katie, and his daughter Sasha. Their relationships with Michael and Josh feel very real. Paris needs a special mention too, and I loved Scout. I liked that Michael and Josh’s previous relationships ended for different reasons, and that Michael’s ex is a good guy. I’d like to read his story. Ditto for Mark, Josh’s friend at work. On the flip side, Josh is definitely better off without his ex boyfriend, although I did like the progression of the storyline with Sasha’s mother.

I thought Michael’s PTSD after losing a patient felt very realistic, as did his turning to alcohol in an attempt to drown out the memories and nightmares. I also thought the homophobia in the story was handled well.

I enjoyed the suspense side of the plot, and how that unfolds. The action scenes are well written, and in the moment. The author does a great job in ramping up the tension and plans for an early night dissolved quickly as I had to keep reading the find out what happened next.

I found the ending very satisfying, and sweet. It made me happy. I hope to see more of these guys in future and catch up with them further on in their life together.

I’d recommend this story to readers who enjoy contemporary romance with a good dollop of suspense and action, realistic characters, and a plot that keeps you turning pages. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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