A Stella Review: Happy by Chris Scully

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RATING  4,5 out of 5 stars

HappyGrowing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.

When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.

As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.

Are you happy?”

It was a simple question. Should have been a simple answer. So why was it still rattling around in Peter’s head an hour after Adam had asked it? And why did his insides squirm uncomfortably every time he thought about it? Of course he was happy. Wasn’t he?

He rinsed his hands under the bathroom faucet and chanced a final glance in the mirror. The man staring back at him certainly didn’t look happy.

I remember when the author first posted (maybe a couple of years ago, I’m not sure) the idea for this story. I was soon curious about it and my enthusiasm when I saw it finally published was huge. I read the Inseparable series some time ago and Until September last month. I can say Chris Scully is one of my favorite authors. I like her style a lot and her books are always a pleasure to read.

Happy is the story of Peter, a thirty-something guy in the closet, oppressed by his Greek parents who expect him to marry a nice Greek girl and make his own family. Two years ago he quit his job after his dad had an heart attack and started helping his parents’ restaurant. Now in a relationship with Demetra, of course recommended by his mum, he can’t take this life anymore, especially now that his two best friends, Adam and Joe,  had finally found happiness in each others arms.

Moving to Vancouver after college was the only way to not embarrass his family with his sexuality but now Louie has come back home, Toronto, and he is recovering from a bad relationship with a deep in the closet guy. He needs to mend his broken heart but it’s hard to be home again after so many years away. He’s feeling lonely and with no friends to hang with. Then he meets Peter, his sister’s new boyfriend. Peter and Louie basically grew up together same greek neighborhood, same school. Peter was the hottest boy and of course Louie has a huge crush on him. Fifteen years later a lot of things have changed but some are still the same.

Peter seems to not be ready to come out of his closet and Louie can’t settle for anything less than a full disclosure. Can they be happy together?

I loved this book a lot, it was light and deep at the same time, easy to read and all the characters were enjoyable and real. I liked watching Peter and Louie become first friends then start to feel more, even if the attraction is clear since their first meeting. Although nothing really happens between the MCs till over the 70% of the story, I appreciated the slow burn, because Peter is still in the closet and Louie is not ready for a new relationship yet.

Finally I want to thank the author for giving me  a little more about Adam and Joe from the Inseparable series, I liked this couple so much years ago and to meet and follow them to a truly HEA was perfect.

I’m conflicted about the cover art by Bree Archer. I like it but it’s not really a winner and forgettable. I would have preferred something different.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages
Expected publication: March 30th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634771397 (ISBN13: 9781634771399)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Fish and Ghosts (Hellsinger #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fish and GhostsWhen his Uncle Mortimer died and left him Hoxne Grange, the family’s Gilded Age estate, Tristan Pryce knew he wasn’t going to have an easy time of it. He was to be the second generation of Pryces to serve as a caretaker for the estate, a way station for spirits on their final steps to the afterlife. The ghosts were the simple part. He’d been seeing boo-wigglies since he was a child. No, the difficult part was his own family. Determined to establish Tristan’s insanity, his loving relatives hire Dr. Wolf Kincaid and his paranormal researchers, Hellsinger Investigations, to prove the Grange is not haunted.

Skeptic Wolf Kincaid has made it his life’s work to debunk the supernatural. After years of cons and fakes, he can’t wait to reveal the Grange’s ghostly activity is just badly leveled floorboards and a drafty old house. The Grange has more than a few surprises for him, including its prickly, reclusive owner. Tristan Pryce is much less insane and much more attractive than Wolf wants to admit and when his Hellsinger team unwittingly release a ghostly serial killer on the Grange, Wolf is torn between his skepticism and protecting the man he’d been sent to discredit.

Goodness know I love a good ghost story and author Rhys Ford, so I was pretty much a happy reviewer when I saw the blurb for Fish and Ghosts by Rhys Ford.  And it delivered but it some unexpected ways given the previous series I’ve come to love and associate with this author.

Honestly, its more lighthearted, its quirky and funny.  Sure it has ghosts but some of them are of the four-legged type.  Tristan has seen a ghost giraffe and a ghostly elephant roam the estate and there’s a certain animal toy that will have you in giggles. Why? Because of who it belongs to. And yes, it has a Irish Wolfhound as well in the tale, a straight arrow to my heart for any story.  The pathos surrounding the ghosts is there as well, Ford knows not to leave that out.  The aura of mystery, sadness, hope, loss, death… everything we associate with ghosts is present here but presented in enough different ways that might make you sniffle, giggle, and pull back in horror.  Yep, Ford ran the gamut here, changing up the pace to keep it  interesting, the narrative swift, and the next supernatural blockade their relationship just around the next balustrade.

I loved the characters of Tristan Pryce and Wolf Kincaid.  They are well fleshed out, charming in their vulnerabilities and past histories, and so entertaining that I can’t wait for more.  In fact I felt that way about most of the secondary characters with the exception of Wolf’s assistants, Gidget and Matt who were more one note, and the least interesting of the bunch. Screechworthy kept coming to mind as it seems that was all the one thing (fighting, I mean, that they did, other than have sex).  When you don’t mind if a ghost kills characters, than perhaps you aren’t all that connected to them.

Luckily, I loved everyone else, from Mara to Wolf’s mom.  Those are keepers and I hope to see them in the next installments.  Surely Tristan’s greedy relatives won’t give up so easily.

Love Rhys Ford, or ghost stories?  Love romances with humor and a supernatural element or five?  Check out Fish and Ghosts, the first in a new series by Rhys Ford. I recommend it and the author.  Its out in a number of formats, from ebook to audiobook.  You choose your addiction.

Cover art by Reese Notley.  This cover really doesn’t do it for me, especially the representation of Tristan, who is supposed to have long golden hair, thin.  Just no, a surprising miss from this author.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published December 30th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 29th 2013)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesHellsinger #1

 

 

 

 

A Mika Review: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Will & Patrick Meet the MobFollow Will & Patrick in this fifth installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Though just what those plans are have as yet to be determined. As far as Will and Patrick can tell, they consist of blowing through town, wreaking small havoc, and turning the Patterson family’s lives on end.

Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode 5 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.

Of course we leave off in another cliffhanger! GAH!!!! Patrick was on the edge of opening up to Will. So many things happen in this story. I am positively in lurve with this series. We start right off from book 4 with Will & Patrick meeting Tony on the street with two of his associates. You know those associates **Coughs Enforcers**. I’ve seen Goodfellas so many times. Right off the bad, Tony comes off as this sweet guy with dry humor. I mean it’s not everyday you get to meet your husband’s mob daddy, right? Patrick was freaking hysterical in this book. Goodness the amount of time he spends thinking about food is so inhumane.

Okay we are on the final leg of the race and both guys openly agree to other people their feelings about one another. Sure they openly admit to falling in love. Patrick has finally come to terms with it. Oh my heart be still, he needed to think things through, and figure out why he was in love with Will. Will, damnit, he was being serious when he said those words. Why didn’t you think that? I still don’t care for Kimberly. Ugh she will never be on my good side. I’m so happy and anxious for this last book to come out. I’m on pins and needles waiting on it.

Cover Art by: Dar Albert; I really like the colors of this series. Love the presumptions about Tony on the cover.

Sales Links:   Goodreads | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 147 pages
Published March 2nd 2016 by Leta Blake Books
ASINB01A08JUNE
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWake Up Married #5

Will & Patrick Are Back In Will & Patrick Meet the Mob (Wake Up Married #5) by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths (excerpt and giveaway)

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Will & Patrick Meet the Mob

Will & Patrick Meet the Mob (Wake Up Married #5)

by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

 Publisher: Leta Blake Books
Release Date: 2/29/16

Book/Buy Links:  Goodreads | Amazon

Find the entire series on Amazon

Synopsis

Follow Will & Patrick in this fifth installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Though just what those plans are have as yet to be determined. As far as Will and Patrick can tell, they consist of blowing through town, wreaking small havoc, and turning the Patterson family’s lives on end. 

Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode 5 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.
Genre: Romantic Comedy M/M Romance
Tags: gay, woke up married, tropes, rom-com, mafia, forced marriage, disabled heroes
Heat Level: 5
Pairing: M/M
Length: 42,000 words

Excerpt

The next morning, Will’s romantic musings feel like the product of overwrought exhaustion when Patrick wakes up cranky as a cat dunked in water.
“Turn off the alarm,” he snarls. “Make it stop.” Then, sitting up and glaring at Will like he’s going to kill him with the power of his mind, he demands, “Did you test yet? Did you eat? What’s your BG number?”
Will’s not even out of bed. Only fifteen seconds ago he’d had one hundred and seventy pounds of Patrick spread out on top of him. Of course he hasn’t tested yet. “I just woke up.”
“Don’t make me test you myself.” Patrick flings back the covers and stalks to the bathroom in his underwear. Will rolls his eyes but grabs his kit and quickly tests. Over the sound of piss hitting water, Patrick calls out, “Well? What’s the number?”
“Ninety-eight. Calm your tits.”
Patrick comes out, arms crossed over his chest and his hair sticking up everywhere. “Calm my tits? Calm your tits.”
Will indicates his nipples. “What? Check ’em out. Not even a little bit pointy.”
Patrick narrows his gaze but a reluctant smirk tweaks up the corner of his mouth.
“Let me guess.” Will laughs. “You know how to change that.” The knot of worry loosens in his chest. “Maybe later. I have to eat first.”
While they wait for room service, they shower and shave, and Will endures Patrick making a solid pitch for him to consider a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System.
“I’ll ask Dr. Anastasia about it,” Will compromises.
“And a pump.”
“Don’t push your luck.”
They throw on robes to greet Perry and his cart of warm, delicious-smelling goodies. Conversation is cut dead at that point as Patrick devours his bacon, muffins, doughnuts, and strawberries with fresh cream. Will’s healthier breakfast of cottage cheese, whole-wheat toast, and a small slice of quiche Lorraine isn’t nearly as exciting, but he doesn’t know how Patrick stays so slim eating like he does. If he tried it, he’d be the size of a house.
Once they finish breakfast, Will broaches the topic. “We’re going to need to talk about my dad eventually.”
“What happened to pretending he’s dead?”
“Unfortunately, he’s not.”
“Point.”
“And he’s staying in this building, so we’re bound to run into him sooner rather than later.”
“Better point.”
Will lets a wry grin spread on his lips. “But I’m not going to just sit back and let him run the show this time. I need find out why he’s in town and then get him to leave again. As soon as possible.” He stands up and brings the chess set over to the table, clearing away their plates. “If we can play ahead of his game, we can at least capture his queen. And then maybe even his king. Especially since he won’t be expecting us to be playing at all.”
“If by queen you’re referring to Kimberly, I don’t know about that. She’s a slippery one.”
“You think Tony’s back because of my mother?”
“Historically, her milkshake has brought him to the yard.”
Will sighs as he sets up the board. “She’s only been dating Jason a few weeks. Tony usually waits for her to get serious before he drops in to ruin her chance at happiness.”
“Maybe Jason proposed.”
“That’d be on The Hurting Times forums ten minutes after it happened. Have you seen it there?”
“Nope.”
“And Caitlin would have called threatening to jump off a bridge or shave her head or something drastic in protest.”
“So he hasn’t put a ring on it yet.”
Will moves his pawn forward. “It’s still a starting place.”
Patrick shoves one of his pawns out to an empty square. “Before surgery, I have to know what I’m dealing with. I can’t just cut into someone’s noggin without knowing if I’m going in to repair damage or to cut out a tumor. Same here. We need more information. What’s your dad’s sign?”
Will’s lips flatten. “Seriously?”
Patrick lifts his brows.
“Sagittarius.”
“I knew it!” Patrick shakes his head. “Never trust a Sagittarius.”
Will sighs and ignores this. “Even though the award ceremony isn’t until March, word is getting around now that I won the Healing Hero Award. I hope to God he’s not planning to stick around for that.”
“A congratulatory phone call from Mobster Daddy would have sufficed.”
Will moves a pawn in front of the right bishop. “You’ve been slapped with that stupid malpractice suit. That might have raised his hackles too, if he’s not sure of your intentions toward me.”
“I have zero honorable intentions toward you. So, he’d be onto something there.”
Will snorts. “You made an honest man of me.”
“For now.”
“Yeah.” Will smiles softly as gentle warmth blooms in his chest. “For now.” He bites his lip. “Do you think sex will be even dirtier once we’re divorced?”
Patrick looks up from contemplating the chessboard. “Are you planning on sleeping with me after we’re divorced?”
Will’s ears burn. “Would we have to stop?”
Patrick swallows, his blue eyes shading darker. “Not unless we want to stop.”
Heat zings in the air between them. Will clears his throat. “That’s a long time from now. Who knows when we’ll even have to think about it? You’ll probably be tired of sleeping with me by the time a loophole opens up for us.”
“I’ll never get tired of fucking you.”
Patrick sounds so certain that Will’s dick stirs and he has to look away, focusing his attention back on the chessboard. He’s not sure whose move it is now. “Anyway, there are plenty of reasons for Tony to make the trip from Minneapolis. I’m surprised I didn’t see it coming.”

About the Authors

Leta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her online:
On the web: http://letablake.wordpress.com/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letablake
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetaBlake

Alice Griffiths

A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can find out more about her by following her online:
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alice_Author
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alice.griffiths.7169

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Giveaway

1 eBook copy of any Will & Patrick episode. 2 winners will be selected. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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