Review Repost: A MelanieM Review: Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

romancing-the-wrong-twinHow tangled can a romantic web get?

When gruff mountaineer Dominic Hartington-George seeks sponsorship for his latest expedition, his London PA insists on a more media-friendly profile—like dating celebrity supermodel Zeb Z.

Zeb can’t make the date, so he asks his identical twin, Aidan, to stand in for just one evening. Aidan, a struggling playwright, shuns the limelight to the extent people don’t even know Zeb has a sibling, but he reluctantly agrees.

When the deception has to continue beyond the first date, Aidan fights to keep up the pretense. Dominic likes his sassy, intelligent companion, and Aidan starts falling for the forthright explorer. But how long can Aidan’s conscience cope as confusion abounds? Will coming clean as “the other twin” destroy the trust they’ve built?

I am so hooked on these Dreamspun Romances from Dreamspinner that I can’t wait to get my hands on them as the pop up.  Each one gives our old romance novels  (aka Silhouette or whatever brand you may have gobbled up)and their well used, often loved themes a LGBTQIA twist.

In Romancing the Wrong Twin, Clare London uses, yes, that delicious plot of switched identity and twins.    One twin?  A famous male model, fabulous, sexy,  and a serial dater.  His brother?  Quiet, in the theatre, a writer and director in need of money for his play.  The stage is definitely set for fun and romance and London makes the most of the format by adding in a bear of a mountaineer, Dom, in need of a backer for his climb up Mt. Eiger.  Why not have the famous mountaineer “date” the famous model? After all they share a ad agency…should be a cat walk.  Or not when one famous brother asks the not so famous one to be his Stand-in.

I had a bit of difficulty the first couple of pages.  A case of too much description of extraneous things getting in the way of connecting me to the characters but once I met the irascible Dom and his crew the story started to click.  It got better when Aidan and his theatre troupe came into the story.  You could see how much Aidan was struggling to make it and the affection that all his actors/friends had for him.  That background gave substance (as well as his feelings for his twin) to the reason behind the switch that was pulled.  It wasn’t a lark.  London established a foundation for her plot and it made the story viable.

Aidan and Dom made a great couple.  London gave them the right amount of chemistry and sexy scenes.  I adored them.  And there was just enough  anticipatory angst built into the plot to make you wonder close to the end of the story how the revelation would be handled.  Nicely done.

But one other thing surprised me.  Zeb, Aidan’s brother.  There’s a plot twist here.  I don’t know if I missed his story or if London (please say yes) has his story coming out.  We need to know Zeb’s story too.  How about a Romancing the Right Twin?  Surely that’s in the works?  I’ll be on the lookout, but in the meantime grab up Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London.  Its a fun, sweet romance in the Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner Press.  Its one I recommend.

Cover art by  Paul Richmond continues to work well to brand the series and the story.

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Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #21, 256 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRomancing the Wrong Twin
ISBN 1634773721 (ISBN13: 9781634773720)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

fish-stick-fridaysDeacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

I was all set to read the sequel to Fish Stick Fridays when I decided to revisit the first story in the series to reacquaint myself with the characters and the setting of Half Moon Bay.  It  didn’t take long to be swept under the spell of Zig, Deacon, Lang and a orange cat that Zig is determined to call Fred.  How I had missed them.

Writing children into stories is always a iffy proposition.  They can always go so wrong.  Come off sounding not like children at all with dialog so stilted and adult, the character lacking some childish element.  But Zig?  Precocious, profane, wounded, insanely intelligent Zig?  Rhys Ford just nailed her right down to her combat pants, boots and pink tutus!  There she was from the moment we meet Zig, cursing, dirty, wary,  and oh so wonderful.  If, as Deacon says, she’s bent on world domination, well, I’m going to pitch in and help her.  Connection made.

Of course, there’s so much more to this story.  There’s the romance and mystery. With Zig, comes Deacon, her uncle with his own troubled past, Harley and new auto shop in Half Moon Bay.  *Waves fan* Like Lang, the minute Deacon appears in Fish Stick Friday, you lean in a little closer, the magnetism that Ford builds into this character oozing off the pages in line after line.  From the glasses that perch on his nose to his intelligence, its clear that Deacon is so much more than his looks.  Its his interactions with his niece first and then with  Lang.  All those conversations, intriguing dialog, literary references and the care with which they treat each other.  It not only pulls you into the story but into the characters, their relationship and the evolving family unit as a whole.  I love it when relationships get the full adult treatment.  Issues get talked out, full disclosures, etc.  That happens here and I loved every second of it, and this couple.

There is, of course, some nasty characters and mysteries at work here.  Its Rhys Ford people!  Its played off nicely.  It kept me guessing as to where the explosions and danger was coming next.  The suspense and anticipation ratcheted up perfectly.  And that ending?  Just want I wanted to happen!

Lang’s twin brother makes a brief appearance here and sets in motion the second book in the series, Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) which I will be reviewing next.  I had forgotten about him honestly until I reread the story.  Didn’t really like him, to be honest. Now I’m chuckling with glee.  Yes, I’ve already read that sequel.  No, you will have to wait for the  review.  What will Rhys Ford deliver next in this series?  I can hardly wait.  I’m loving Half Moon Bay with all its wonderful characters, oddball twists, and great stories.  I hope my favorite couples and Zig (and cats) make appearances in each and everyone.

I absolutely recommend this series.  Its out now in audiobook.  Look for our review by Lila coming soon as will my review of the sequel.  Rhys Ford remains one of my favorite authors.  Fish Stick Fridays and Half Moon Bay is just one more reason why.  Pick it up and find out for yourself if you haven’t already done so.

Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  The only thing more perfect would be the addition of a sidecar for  Zig.  Love it.

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Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFish Stick Fridays
ISBN 1623809487 (ISBN13: 9781623809485)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesHalf Moon Bay #1 settingCalifornia (United States)

A Caryn Review: Sebastian & Owen (Storming Love: Tsunami #3) by Nic Starr

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

sebastian-owen-cover-200x300-pxThis is a sweet novella about an established couple, Owen and Sebastian, living and working together in Tasmania for the past 6 years.  After an injury leaves Owen, who is 6 years older, with chronic pain, disability, and depression, he starts to doubt his worthiness to be partnered with Sebastian.  It is a typical trope:  “I’m not good enough for you, so why would you want to be/stay with me?”  I usually see it written in the beginning of stories, when it hinders a couple from getting together in the first place.  This couple, however, has a very strong foundation, which makes it all that much harder for Sebastian to accept that Owen could possibly doubt his love and faithfulness.  And although it is a fairly tired theme, I liked how the author worked it into an established relationship, which actually made it more fresh and certainly more realistic.

With those misunderstandings in place, arguments ensue, and ultimately Sebastian ends up at their island house while Owen stays in their city apartment.  Owen has an epiphany about their relationship and wakes up determined to fix everything, and that is when he hears about the impending tsunami – about 75% of the way through the book!  Now he just has to get to Sebastian, and he races against the countdown for the wave to impact the island.

The story was predictable, but that did not lessen its sweetness.  It is always nice to see a couple facing the ups and downs that come with being together, and finding a way through them.  And of course they come through the tsunami closer than ever, as fear and danger make them see that loving each other is the most important thing, and everything else they can work through.  I also liked the description of the tsunami itself – not a monster wave crashing to shore, but a deceptively peaceful looking swell of the water that hides its destructive power.  If the author hasn’t seen one in person, she certainly did her research well!

The cover art by Kris Jacen is for all the novellas in the series, a picture of that monster wave that looks like something to make surfers salivate rather than devastate a shore, but it is pretty.  And very appropriate for the book.

Sales Links

MLR Press 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 79 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by MLR Press, LLC
Original TitleSebastian & Owen
ASINB01LZERZEJ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorming Love: Tsunami #3