A MelanieM Release Day Review: Marriage of Inconvenience by M.J. O’Shea

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Rating: 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 stars out of 5

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Kerry Pickering has a problem. As a publicist for Hollywood bad boy Jericho Knox, it’s Kerry’s job to keep Jericho in the news. So far, Jericho’s partying and public escapades have made it easy. But Jericho has a secret, and when that secret is revealed in the most spectacularly disastrous way, it’s up to Kerry to spin it.

The team decides the best course of action is to make the public fall in love—with Jericho’s secret committed relationship. The one that doesn’t exist. Yet.

The team wants someone they can trust. Someone in the inner circle. That someone is Kerry. But what will happen when Kerry realizes that for him, the romance is no longer pretend? Can Jericho love him back, or is he just playing a role?

Marriage of Inconvenience by MJ O’Shea was another fun read in the Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner Press.  Who hasn’t seen those tabloids or TMZ? Right, expose’ city!  Here M.J. O’Shea uses it as the launching pad for the story and the romance of Marriage of Inconvenience.  Jericho Knox literally gets caught with his pants down by the paparazzi and now its up to his agents and publicists to put a spin on it that his followers will not only swallow but eat up and make him even more popular.  Hmmm.  What could that be?  Well how about a secret romance?  Now all they need is someone to fill the role.  Turns out the perfect person is the one who came up with the plan. Kerry Pickering.

Author O’Shea does a lovely job of defining her characters.  We get conflicted closeted Jericho risking his career in a seedy  bar, we understand shy driven Kerry trying to hold onto a job that isn’t the dream he hoped it would be.  Hollywood full of smashed hopes and fake imagery.  We get it.  Both Jericho and Kerry have to find their way through to their own reality about themselves and the possibility of a future together, if there’s even is one.   That’s both the fun and the drama of this story.

It moves along quickly, the romance builds nicely and the ending when it happens, although I felt it was a little rushed, was still the happy ending I expect from this series.

I happen to love the Dreamspun Desires Series.  Really its almost impossible to go wrong here.  The stories are quick reads, fun, wonderful romances.  The tropes usually recognizable and they translate well into M/M fiction.  What’s not to love?  I highly recommend you try them.  Why not start here?  Work your way through the series.  They make great summer reading or anytime of the year.

Cover art by Paul Richmond shows a brooding cover boy.  Not my favorite cover for the series.

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Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775287 (ISBN13: 9781634775281)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Coin of the Realm by Michael Murphy

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
 
Coin of the RealmTimothy is struggling to make ends meet as he tries to put himself through college. When one after the other jobs don’t pan out, Timothy ends up becoming an escort.
 
Then one day he gets called on to service a high profile guy. But just how powerful is this guy? Timothy is just about to find out how much…
 
Timothy finds himself in a fairy tale only to realise that every good fairy tale has behind it an equally evil villain.
 
Coin of the Realm is a pretty straightforward story. It is also quite predictable only because two-thirds of the book is revealed in the blurb itself. The first hundred plus pages of this book basically rehashes everything that you already know if you have read the blurb.
 
This book is extremely well written and well planned. Time is devoted to every aspect of the story but since a lot of the story progression is revealed in the blurb, it takes some time before the story becomes less predictable and more interesting.
 
What I liked about this book were its characters Jared, Timothy and Agent Robinson. The characters are fleshed out and since the story spends quite a bit of pages developing the main relationship, it doesn’t feel rushed or implausible. Personally the characters are the best part of this book.
 
Because of the circumstances most of Jared and Timothy’s relationship is mediated by way of Agent Robinson and Agent Robinson kind of out-shines the MCs at points in this story. I loved Robinson and I loved how hard he works to get Jared and Timothy’s relationship back on track and how he ran interference for these two.
 
I would have liked a bit more focus on the element of power which was introduced in this story. We are talking about the most powerful man in the free world and he never, even once, wonders if his lover loves him just because of his power. I mean you can view it from a million angles but you can’t just ignore the appeal of power, the fact that power makes people infinitely more desirable than they may be.
 
During their first encounter there is this palpable air of power that permeates the atmosphere but it is subsequently unrealistically toned down.  I mean I would have liked more awe, much more awe and it would have been nice to see people, kind of, making, a bit of, a fool of themselves around someone with that much power. I mean a little sycophantic behaviour was a definite requirement.
 
But for the most part of this book the power element is sorely lacking till the person in question ends up feeling just like everyone else, which I agree he is, but it would have been nice to see the reactions of new people meeting him contrasted with the reactions of those who were closer to him. Basically everyone ends up him treating him like just another person and not the most powerful man in the free world.
 
This absence of power would have been completely okay except for the fact that this book kind of hinges on Jared’s power. Also the fact that Jared is such an admirable human being maybe makes it harder for him to exercise such great power without appearing at least a bit evil. So in other words the author sacrifices power in lieu of Jared’s character development. But truthfully if this element had been explored more this book could have been one of a kind.
 
I feel like this book has a lot of elements and if justice had been done to at least a few crucial elements this book would have been amazing instead of the sweet one time read it turns out to be.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. It is a good cover that fits the story.

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Book Details:
ebook, 210 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775325 (ISBN13: 9781634775328)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Real World (Love is Blind #2) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4.75 stars rounding up to 5 out of 5

Real WorldDan White is trying to acclimate to civilian life after a long career in the military with multiple combat deployments.

Now he’s home in the Austin area, living with his brother Dixon, Dixon’s husband, Audie, and their two nine-year-olds. During the New Year celebration, Dan meets Abraham Weldon, and the connection is instant.

There’s a kiss. There’s a dance. There’s a proposition.

Then Dan finds out Weldon is bisexual.

And a dad.

With five kids. Five kids, one of whom is a blind fifteen-year-old.

Weldon has been in love twice in his life—with his high school best friend, Blake, and with his wife, Krista, who he met in a Dairy Queen as she was crying over a positive pregnancy test. Love number three hits Weldon like a hammer when he meets Dan.

But since Dan isn’t interested in a guy with kids, they might only get one night together.

When I read Ever the Same (Love is Blind #1), I fell in love with the families and characters that B.A. Tortuga created for that story.  I certainly couldn’t wait for this series to continue. Real World (Love is Blind #2) brings us back to those families and couples with Dan White, ex soldier adjusting to civilian life and brother to Dixon, blind musician who we met in the first story.  Dan’s not adjusting very well, but he’s living with Dix and his husband Audie and their kids so civilian life is up front and in his face every day.    So are the connections to Dix and Audie’s friends and the community which brings a meeting to Weldon and a “oh so hot we might combust” connection.  Until reality sets in when information is exchanged and Dan finds out that Weldon is a dad of five and bisexual, way more than a man who feels he’s not ready for commitment can handle, leaving a very disappointed Weldon in his wake.

How I love a story where a couple must over come obstacles, inner obstacles they create for themselves, in order to be together.  This story is chock full of those. Here in Real World those barriers feel so completely authentic and believable when it comes to the characters who are trying to work through their feelings and doubts about their relationship and walls they built up around themselves.  And no one here has walls higher than Dan White.  Walls against dating bisexual men, walls against men with families, and one by one…we watch those barriers fall…prey to the charm and love of Weldon and his brood of kids.  What a group of kids they are too.  Snarky, drama filled, lovable, not so lovable, crying, every adjective you want to throw in here.  In short, a very realistic family of children that will grab at your heart, especially the eldest who will have his own heartrending story thread to go through.

I haven’t forgotten Weldon.  That character…well, he’s a man that will tug at you all the way through the story.  He’s a loving father, a vulnerable man, who’s trying to balance his families needs with his own. You just end up aching for him when Dan turns away time and again.  Trust me…there are places you will want to shake that man!  Isn’t that great writing?  Yes, I say it is.

B.A. Tortuga has a way, whether its by her ear for the vernacular or locale or just knowing people and family dynamics, of being able to create characters that are so real, so believable that they pull you into their story and lives that you ache for them, get mad at them, yes, want to shake them and finally rejoice in their happiness at the end when they pull together and realize they can make it as a couple and as a family.  That happens here in Real World, a book I loved even better than the first story in the series.  That’s saying a lot.

Do I recommend this story?  Absolutely.  Grab it up and the first in the series too.  I can’t imagine what’s coming next but I know I can’t wait to see what develops.  There are more White boys although they are supposedly straight.  Hmmm.  We’ll see.

Cover art by Bree Archer. I love this cover.  Its just perfect for the story and its heartwarming too.

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Book Details

ebook, 290 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773748 (ISBN13: 9781634773744)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Love is Blind

Ever the Same
Real World

 

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Hell on Wheels by ZA Maxfield and Narrated by Nick J. Russo

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

HellOnWheels_Audiobook (1)Nash is the reliable one in the Holly family, the guy everyone counts on to keep things going. His genius twin brother is off at university, so Nash runs the family’s auto repair business and cares for his partially-paralyzed little sister while his crackpot father invents. His life seems mapped out for the foreseeable future, however much that might chafe.

 

So when Wolf’s Landing actor Spencer Kepler-Constantine lands in his life, Nash is ready for a diversion. Spencer is in the middle of a very painful, very public divorce and isn’t ready for a relationship—not that Nash wants one. But they both need a friend, especially one with benefits.

As they grow closer, Nash starts to see his family in a whole new light. Do they really need him so badly? Or does he simply need to be needed? Then Spencer’s ex reappears with a grand romantic gesture, and Nash has to figure out what he wants—and how to get it—before Spencer’s gone for good.

 

Nash is content if not happy with his life; he spends his days working on cars and helps his father raise his sister.  He has resigned himself to his reality and doesn’t look for anymore than what he has.  When he meets Spencer he doesn’t know who he is at first, but is instantly attracted to the man.

 

This story was told from both characters’ points of view, which made understanding their thoughts a bit easier.  Nash needs to be needed and when he finds that he really isn’t everything is thrown out of whack, but he learns there are different ways to be needed.  While Spencer has to get over his relationship with his ex before he can really have one with Nash.

 

Nick Russo once again did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I could connect with the characters through the voices and emotions he portrayed.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links:  Riptide | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 56 min
Published: July 20, 2016 (ebook first published December 1, 2014)
Edition Language: English

Series: A Bluewater Bay Story