An Alisa Review: Alex’s Law by Jayce Ellis

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

alex's lawAlex Corrigan is in love with his boss, Judge Lawson Daniels, and thinks those feelings are returned. That assumption is sorely tested two days before the court holiday party they’re organizing together, when the venue calls and cancels, followed by a snafu with the caterer. Alex could handle that, but after an intimate dinner followed by a decidedly unromantic e-mail, he’s left wondering about the future of his employment as well as his relationship with the debonair older man.

Law can’t wait to see his clerk again. But Alex is cold and distant in the light of day, and Law doesn’t understand. The party looms in the background, but Law’s excitement is turning to dread. On top of that, someone is sabotaging them, trying to get Alex fired and drive Law off the bench. If there’s any chance for a happy holiday for Alex and Law, they’ll have to find out who.

Alex and Law have worked seamlessly together since Alex was hired as Law’s clerk. When they hit a road block in organizing the holiday party they work even closer together than usual. Then Alex is hit with something to make him doubt Law’s feelings and faith in him.

I liked both of these characters. Alex is a very earnest young man who will do anything to help Law and Law just thinks the sun rises and sets by Alex. I could feel how heartbroken Alex becomes when he receives the email from Law changing some court record and reports he had completed. Law’s confusion in Alex’s behavior is evident in how he closes himself off. Seeing them figure out the puzzle together while also making the party a success was wonderful.

Cover art by TL Bland is nice and brings attention to the book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 53 pages
Published: July 23, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN-13: 9781634770101
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Second Half: A Gay American Football Story by Scott D. Pomfret

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Second HalfPeyton Stone, former star quarterback, is now an offensive line college football coach. And he’s totally in love with his quarterback, Brady Winter. Brady is older than the other students, having completed a tour of duty with the Army, and Peyton knows that even though he worships the ground Brady walks on, it’s inappropriate to start something with a student, and to top it all off, he’s not even sure Brady is gay.

An accidental locker room conversation nixes the latter worry and the two head out to demonstrate how much they want each other. Of course, things like that can’t be kept quiet, and Peyton eventually is outed, shamed, and kicked off the coaching squad. But it’s when Brady turns his back on him that he’s really rocked out of his complacent world.

Is there any chance for them at all? And what happens when Peyton finally stops running away from his problems and decides to stand and face them like a man?

I eventually liked the story itself because it follows Peyton’s path to self-discovery and subsequent maturity, but I didn’t care for the writing style. Sentences were short and choppy and the whole story was told from Peyton’s POV, whereas I would have liked to get Brady’s perspective on some things. Peyton was a bit of an “ass hat” and not a likeable character, IMHO. The world as he knew it revolved around him so he was constantly questioning why things weren’t going his way.

After a while, I started to think the story may have been written to come across as a satirical look at a bumbling, indecisive, egocentric, gay college coach and his lover—a strong, brave, and decisive Iraq war vet. Add to that the fact that the situations and secondary characters were not realistic or likeable and the story appeared to be a farcical poke at campus football, its players, and coaches, so I concluded that maybe that’s what the author intended. I really don’t know. It’s just not a style I normally enjoy.

In this case, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. If you are looking for something fluffy that pokes fun at college football, its players and coaches, this would be a good choice. Just don’t plan to take it seriously.

Cover art by Inkspiral Design features a very large, imposing football player—shirtless, pants slung low on his hips, but wearing his shoulder pads. It’s attention-getting due to the colors and the model used.

Sales Links:

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 234 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Lethe Press
Original TitleThe Second Half: A Gay American Football Story
ASINB01H4232J2
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Falling for Santa Claus by CJ Anthony

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Falling for Santa ClausWhen Jack Frost’s aunt dies and leaves him her house in the tiny town of Great Falls, Jack seizes the opportunity to escape the rat race of Chicago for the quaint village he loved as a child. On his first night he’s welcomed by a baseball bat and a trespassing warning from Nick St. James—longtime Great Falls resident and infamous curmudgeon.

 

Jack wants to give Nick the benefit of the doubt—he can’t deny his attraction to the big man—but after several run-ins with Nick’s grumpiness and closed-off heart, he’s ready to give up. Only after discovering the secret Nick’s been covering up for years does he vow to break through Nick’s walls to find the loving man hiding behind them.

 

I love holiday stories and Christmas in July just gives me more opportunities to read them.  I enjoyed this book and the characters.  Jack is happy to move to Great Falls and has wonderful memories of his childhood there.  It takes a little getting used to, but he loves the town’s residents and the slow pace of life.

 

Seeing everything through Jack’s eyes made it a bit hard to understand the “ornery and stubborn” Nick.  Through glimpses you could see that Nick isn’t quite as bad as he wants everyone to think.  Jack’s determination to get to know Nick and the person beneath his grumpy exterior is endearing and learning Nick’s secret can make you see him in a different light.
Cover art by Paul Richmond is adorable and catches your eye.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 52 pages

Published: July 24, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634770125

Edition Language: English

A Lila Audiobook Review: The President’s Husband by Michael Murphy and Randy Fuller (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

the-presidents-husband audioWhen an assassin’s bullet strikes his predecessor, Grayson Alexander becomes the first openly gay President of the United States and his husband, David Hammond, becomes the first openly gay First Husband. With their world turned upside down, David relies on his career as a medical school professor and ER doctor to keep him grounded. But his decision to keep working ruffles feathers from day one.

Gray throws himself into learning everything he needs to know to be President, especially a liberal president surrounded by a conservative cabinet and staff. Even though he puts in outrageous hours working and traveling seven days a week month after month, he’s happy. But David has trouble coping with Gray’s new job requirements. He can’t help but feel abandoned by his husband of ten years.

When Gray asks for his help with a public-health crisis, David obliges, but he is furious about what happens once the emergency passes. When they learn that the President’s staff has manipulated them both, they wonder if their relationship can survive the White House.

The President’s Husband is a remarkable read. If you’re looking for a political thriller, a steamy romance, or a drama, this is not it. This story is solely about the relationship between the newly appointed President of the United States and his husband of ten years.

We get to meet David and Gray during the Presidential Inauguration. The author gave us a hint of their relationship and how comfortable they are with each other. After ten years of marriage, they knew each other well and respected their individual careers and their dedication to them.

David and Gray have a great chemistry that it’s easy to feel during the entire story, even when they weren’t together. They have an active sex life, which the reader gets to hear more about than actually be witness to, but it works with the focus on their marriage. The on-page sex isn’t there to arouse the reader but to complement the couple’s relationship.

The political discussions are minimal since we only get David’s POV. There’s enough to set the stage for the book, but mostly, everything seems separate from the main plot. Yes, politics kept them apart, but the policies and procedures aren’t the main reason for it.

I think they are more medical references and information in the story than politics. The medical crisis David helps Gray with is the main point of content between them. There are a lot of details about what happens during this time, and some parts may be a little monotonous.

There’s a lot of drama involve in this novel, and David takes the center stage. We pass a significant amount of time in his head, making it difficult to get to know Gray. In reality, David is the main character and Gray is just his husband. We don’t get to see the antagonist doing his bidding, just mentions of him. It isn’t until the climax that we get to see the extent of his involvement.

David and Gray interact with a high amount of characters, but we only get to learn the names of a handful. David’s experiences are more important than how he gets them. Gray’s not a strong character, but he’s likable enough. I like David and how he took life by the horns, but he was a bit whiny in certain areas.

In order to enjoy this story, you need to be in the right frame of mind. You have to forget about everything you know about the President and how his family is handled. There aren’t meddling family members or best friends. David takes all his decisions using logic and tries to retain the status quo instead of rocking the boat. And this cost them both deeply.

Overall, this is a story about marriage and how communication is essential in a relationship. They could have solved a lot of problems with a simple conversation, but the rest of the drama is just an added bonus. I’m surprised by the lower rating in this story, but I think is more of a case of expecting a different story.

Personally, I’d had them get a divorce and become friends instead, but that’s just me. I enjoyed their courting and how they fought to be back together. I think Gray’s POV was needed. Plus, I think they were too young for their level of accomplishments.

This is my first story narrated by Randy Fuller. He did an excellent job, not only with the characters’ voices but with the feelings behind their exchanges. Also, I love how mature his voice is. It made it easier to visualize the main characters as older men with established careers instead of young men trying to figure out life. He also incorporated the omniscient narrator and gave it its own tone.

The cover by L.C. Chase goes with the story, but it’s hard to see the two men like David and Gray. There weren’t enough details in the story to have a clear picture of what they look like.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Randy Fuller
Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Published: May 24, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01G2IUW38
Edition Language: English