A Free Dreamer Review: The Prince’s Consort (Chronicles of Tournai #1) by Antonia Aquilante

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The Prince's ConsortLegends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.
 
Or have they?
 
Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

Okay, this book was very much not for me. The blurb sounded interesting and seemed to promise a fair bit of drama and angst. Well, there was a bit of both, I guess, but somewhere buried amidst an avalanche fluffy fluff so cute I think it gave me diabetes.

The world building was essentially non-existent. Yes, I am starting to feel like a broken record. It seems like I have to complain about lacking world building in every second fantasy/sci-fi review I write. It’s sad, but true. Really, the fantasy was extremely low-key here.

I’d expected the large cats mentioned in the blurb to actually somehow matter for the plot, but they didn’t. They were mentioned on occasion and there were a couple of scenes involving them, but nothing really important happened.

It was hard to form a connection to the MCs and the things that happened to them. It felt like the author only ever told us what happened, but never showed anything. At times that made for a rather boring story, to be honest. Not even the wedding was narrated in any detail. I just didn’t care about anybody in this story.

The whole story as such felt a little too easy for me. There was insta-love on both sides and the rest just fell into place somehow. Sure, there were those who tried everything to keep the two of them apart, but that part seemed very predictable to me. And since I just couldn’t form a connection to the MCs, I probably wouldn’t even have cared too much if one of them had died.

The thing that bothered me the most, though, was the sudden Mpreg. I do NOT like Mpreg. There’s no hint whatsoever anywhere in the blurb that there’d be Mpreg. If I had known about that, I wouldn’t have picked up this book. I know there are plenty of people out there who like this, but since it’s also something a lot of people absolutely can’t stand, a little warning would definitely be appropriate. It didn’t help that I got the feeling that the author only used the fantasy elements as an excuse for the Mpreg.

Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. Too much fluff, sudden Mpreg, and I just couldn’t relate to the MCs. While reading this book, I felt a kind of annoyed boredom. If you like Mpreg, enjoy tons of fluff and don’t care too much about world-building, give it a shot. Chances are, you’ll love it.

I didn’t, however, and I won’t bother with the rest of the series. And before I pick up anything by this author ever again, I’ll make sure to scan the reviews for some unmentioned Mpreg first.

Cover: The cover by Anne Cain shows Amory and Philip in a loving embrace. I like it, the colours are all very pretty.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 303 pages
Published October 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB016ATZM9I
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesChronicles of Tournai #1

Series:

The Prince’s Consort (Chronicles of Tournai, #1)

The Artist’s Masquerade (Chronicles of Tournai, #2

The Scholar’s Heart (Chronicles of Tournai, #3  coming soon

A Jeri Review: Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3) by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Close To YouIt’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.

I read the first book in this series, somehow missed the second and now this is the third. I definitely want to go back and read the second to fill in some of the blanks.
Marc and Tomas had very different upbringing, but they became unlikely friends. When Tomas realizes the abuse going on in Marc’s home he broke his friends trust by asking his grandfather for help. But he ended up betraying his only friend and losing him.
Although they lost touch for years, they never forgot each other. As an adult, Tomas seeks Marc out. To explain what happened and to hopefully get his friend back. They become roommates and tentative friends, but Marc can’t forget what happened. In a half hearted attempt to spare Marc’s feelings, Tomas moves out. But with mutual friends, they often see each other. And the feelings between them grow.
This story broke my heart. I could feel and understand how betrayed Marc felt, but I could also completely understand how Tomas was trying to help.
The closeness and connection between them was evident. From Tomas immediately calling Marc for help and Marc dropping what he was doing to offer that help.
One man with a very religious background and one man with little understanding of love, trust and loyalty. As adults they begin to evolve and grow together. And they finally understand and accept what happened when they were teens.
The author does an excellent job of maintaining side characters so that you want to read the next story to see what happens with them.
Although the story needed the background of their childhoods, I would have liked it more if the childhood story was told all at once and not in a series of flash backs. This created a bit of a disconnect for me and I would have been more invested in the story if I knew the whole background up front instead of thinking Marc being a jerk and then finding out why. Or that Tomas was tentative and stand offish without knowing his whole story.
Still a good book, but I would recommend starting with book 1 and reading in order.
Cover art by AngstyG. Love the beach background on the cover, but the models were a bit too generic and similar.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 248 pages
Published March 28th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634771362 (ISBN13: 9781634771368)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeries Sunshine and Happiness

A Stella Review: Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn

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RATING  5  out of 5 stars

PatchworkParadise_600x900Oliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.

The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.

When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house—Sam’s house—and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.

Indra Vaughn continues to amazed me. After the christmas story, The Winter Spirit , I was curious about this new one. I’ll be honest and say I chose to read Patchwork Paradise because from the blurb it reminded me of one of my all time favorite mm book, Second Chance by TA Webb. In fact they have some elements in common, so it was really no surprise I loved this one so much too. From the blurb I understood it had all the things I need to have in a story.

This book is an emotional story, so heartbroken because the author let me meet and briefly fall in love with Sam, and then she took him away from Ollie and me.

I began following Ollie in the great pain that losing the person he shared his life for the last ten years can give. He needed to relearn the daily habits alone and start living again.  Also Ollie had to deal with the attachment to the house he shared with his Sam and the fear of losing it by  the persons he considered his family and are now acting like strangers.

He broke my heart but knowing there was going to be so much more to come, made me fully enjoy even the very bad times. At the end Patchwork Paradise is a second chance at love story and Ollie will heal with the support of amazing friends and an unexpected new love.

The words flew easily, it was a pleasure to read. I loved the story was focused not just on the MCs, it made easy to know the secondary ones pretty well too, even the not so likable ones. Moreover to me the timing was perfect, I think the author did great at balance everything at the right time, it’s a story with no pause, it kept me hooked from the start, still there was no rushing, the events were all very considerate of Ollie life and his grieving.

I really couldn’t find a reason to give Patchwork Paradise less than five stars. I liked all the characters, especially Ollie. I laughed and cried a lot with him. His was a beautiful journey among love, friendships, loss, hurt and love again.

Indra Vaughn wrote another success. Sweet, emotional, developed in time and characters, well written and simply complete in every detail. It’s one of that stories I don’t need to wonder what is going to happen at the end. It truly satisfied me and I’m sure my MCs are living their HEA beautifully.

The COVER ART by Lou Harper won me over in the lower half with the toys and the crib but there is something in the models, I don’t know, maybe the sweaters or their faces. With a story like this, the cover should have been so much better.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 275 pages

Expected publication: March 28th 2016 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN 1626493804 (ISBN13: 9781626493803)

Edition Language English

Love Can Find Its Way Again with a Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn (giveaway)

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PatchworkParadise_600x900

Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by Lou Harper

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here At Riptide Publishing

About Patchwork Paradise

Oliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.

The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.

When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house—Sam’s house—and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.

About Indra Vaughn

After living in Michigan, USA for seven wonderful years, Indra Vaughn returned back to her Belgian roots. There she will continue to consume herbal tea, do yoga wherever the mat fits, and devour books while single parenting a little boy and working as a nurse.

The stories of boys and their unrequited love will no doubt keep finding their way onto the page—and hopefully into readers hands—even if it takes a little more time.

And if she gleefully posts pictures of snow-free streets in winter, you’ll have to forgive her. Those Michigan blizzards won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Connect with Indra:

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Giveaway

To celebrate, Indra is giving away an ebook from her backlist at EVERY BLOG STOP! She’ll also be giving out a grand prize of $25 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 2, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!