A MelanieM Review: He’s Behind You (Treading The Boards #3) by Rebecca Cohen

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

84cd6-hesbehindyoufsIt’s panto season for the Sarky Players, an amateur dramatics society based in Greenwich, South London. With the traditional Christmas play around the corner, it’s time to get ready for more larger than life performances—on and off stage.

While Craig Rosen is happy with his quiet life playing Warhammer and working in a university lab, a new colleague thinks he needs more excitement and drags Craig along to an audition for the Christmas pantomime, Aladdin.

Corporate lawyer Jason Carter accepted he’s gay a little later in life than most, but now divorced and in his late thirties, he’s ready to embrace who he really is. He can’t believe his luck when he runs into Craig at the audition and the cute younger man agrees to help him navigate his new life. There’s no doubting the attraction between Craig and Jason, but with Craig’s insecurities and Jason still finding his way, they’ll need to make sure they don’t veer off script.

He’s Behind You by Rebecca Cohen is the third book in the wonderful Treading the Boards series which follows the lives and romances of the actors of the Sarky Players, an amateur drama group outside of London.  I loved each one because I’ve not only connected with the couples, each quirky and adorable, but because the author has brought something to my attention that I’ve never known about before in each story.  In the last one, it was a magnificent amphitheater in Cornwall.   Here, in He’s Behind You?  Its the British tradition of Pantomine.  And no, its not what us Americans are thinking of.

Pantomine,  not that silent man or woman trying to get out of a box we normally think of here in the US, is a British tradition started around Restoration England.  A part of Christmas there, “with family audiences, British pantomime… incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, in-jokes, audience participation, and mildaboutpantomime innuendo. There are a number of traditional story lines, and also a fairly well-defined set of performance conventions…”. I had no idea!  And now I want to see one performed!   And Rebecca Cohen works it so well into the storyline complete with scripts and costumes!

The characters complement the storyline too.  Jason Carter is a lawyer who was married with a lovely family for over 20 years.  Problem is that Jason is gay.  He was discovering that fact when his gf became pregnant when they were young. Both did the traditional thing and married.  Now Jason, with his ex-wife’s and children’s blessing is ready to discover what being an out gay man means.  And how I loved this part of the story.  Jason has the complete backing of his family, a delightful family we get to know and love.  They support him in every way, believably.  Realistic teenagers with messy rooms and geek hero worship, and a ex-wife full of layers and the ability to move on with love.  Jason has doubts and plenty of flaws accumulated with age and the life he’s lived.  Great job with character building here.

Craig Rosen is also beautifully done, with a heartbreaking background thats filled in bit by bit, intelligent and surprising in his qualities.  I fell in love with him too.  Together, quietly, these two men, making adjustments and finding each other?  Its not explosive, its subtle and it has a wonderful aspect all its own that’s hard to describe.  It will startle you in how much you enjoy them and their relationship, especially thinking back on it.

Finally, it introduced me to Warhammer!  And I thought I had my geek flag flying. Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop,  is set in a dystopian science fantasy universe.  So cool that I had to start my investigation into that as well.  That’s as fully a part of this story and Craig as the Panto.  And it provides an important link to Jason.

So…what a story!  Its chock full of so many wonderful elements and a quiet romance full of discovery for two men in need of love and each other.

I loved it.  And recommend it and its previous stories.  If like me, you love discovering new things, new places to go with your romances, these books are for you.  Happy Reading!

 

Cover by Paul Richmond is as funny and pertinent as all the others.  Wonderful.

Sales Links

 Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | AllRomance | B&N | KOBO 

Book Details:

ebook, 140 pages
Published December 2nd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleHe’s Behind You
ISBN 1623805228 (ISBN13: 9781623805227)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTreading the Boards #3

A Stella Review: The ‘True Love’ Solution by Julie Bozza

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

the-true-love-solutionJules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.

I discovered Julie Bozza in the Butterfly Hunter series and fell in love with her style. That’s the reason I soon jumped into the chance at reading The ‘True Love’ Solution. What I particularly like  of this author is her way with words, she can always bring me into real and at the same time dreamy worlds. This is exactly what I felt with this last story.

I have to say Jules was my favorite, he has passion and a lot of love and care to spread around. How he loves his dad and his sister was deep and unconditional and this feeling flew easily to me thorught all the story. And he’s a greedy reader of romance, especially by his favorite author. And just this passion will lead him to be fraud, meet the cute Leonard and the same author in person. 

Although I quite enjoyed the characters and the writing a lot, I’m not a fan of love triangle and that’s the reason why I’m not giving The ‘True Love’ Solution a higher rating. Even if the interest between Jules and Ewan never actually evolved and Jules and Leonard weren’t together yet, it still felt to me like he was betraying Leonard and the potential HEA I was waiting for.

The cover art by Natalia Bratslavsky is well done, I have to say I like all the covers by Manifold Press, plus I love flowers.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

Word Count: 45,000

Publication Date Feb 01, 2016 by Manifold Press
ISBN 9781908312372

Edition Language English

A Lila Review: Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office #2) by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

enemy-of-my-enemy-by-tal-bauerFifteen years from now, an affair rocks the world.
Two men commit to their impossible love.
One general is determined to destroy them both.

President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.

In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.

But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.

He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.

And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…

Enemy of My Enemy will leave you with a book hangover and withdraws as soon as you reach the last sentence. It’s the type of book I’d have waited to read when all the installments were published. But, I’m too much of a fan to wait, and Tal’s delivery didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to review every part of this story without spoiling the book, so I’m going by segments.

Opening: Just like with Enemies of the State, it took me a minute to get used to the POV changes, but it was easier to follow in this case since we already knew most of the characters. I do appreciate the cast list at the beginning of the book. I did use it as a reference a couple of times.

Suspension of disbelief: One thing you need to be clear when reading this series is the need to put aside your presidential knowledge and the current timetable. I did read the story before Election Day, that’s not what I referring to. I’m talking about the names of current cabinet members, government officials, and foreign leaders. It’s almost like watching a contemporary political thriller.

Some of the events in the story, the main players, and the world reactions are far-fetched but relevant to the story and its alternate universe. If you want political correctness in all senses, this might not be your story. You have to read it with an open mind, submerge in it, and let the author guide you.

Characters: Jack & Ethan are once again the main couple in the story. We get to see them starting a life together in the White House, and responding to the country’s uncertainty due to their relationship. It doesn’t take long for Ethan to take a more active role than Jack’s partner, having something to do other than taking care of the First Gentleman’s office worked well for him. There are a lot of up and downs during the story, and I have to admit that some parts made me lose faith in them, but in the end, everything came back together.

Sergey & Sasha were a lovely surprise. I think I have a crush on Sergey and I wish Sasha becomes his boy. Sergey reminds me of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister. And Sasha deserves all the happiness he can get. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book to learn more about them and any possible future they might have.

Cooper & Prince Faisal have a heartbreaking, but mostly, complicated relationship. I like how much Faisal loves Cooper and how much he’s willing to risk because of it. They worked well together, and I love the little stories about their past–of how they fall in love. There’s more about them, but I’m not going to spoil the fun.

Madigan & Cook were the ever omnipresent villains. We get to see the extent of their plans and what they are willing to do to obtain it. Again, there’s a nice background tying them, and others, together. We haven’t seen the end of them, but I’m sure they will be an even bigger part of the next book.

The rest of the supporting characters had a purpose to the story. We get to see good and bad guys. Plus, one or two surprises. Everyone has a story that has an impact on the overall story arc. The amount of names can be overwhelming at times, but the cast list helps. The more you read, the more you will remember the characters and their roles. Even what they ate became significant.

Settings: Everything, from the White House to every single country visited by one of the characters is well-researched and described. The amount of detail is perfect to give the reader and sense of place, to get them engaged in the story. It’s almost a guide to the areas that played an important part of the book.

Writing & Pacing: The story does start slow. The author brings us back into the Executive Office world and lets us get reacquired with it. The book is long, with multiple points of view, and some short passages, but overall, everything works. The writing is fantastic and as readers, we can’t ask for a more detailed tale. Another thing, don’t try to read the book before bedtime, it’s impossible to put down unless you want to wake up in the middle of the night to read some more.

Ending: The story ends with a strong HFN for two of the three couples we followed through the story. I don’t consider it a cliffhanger, but some might. My only objection comes to a small information reveal that happened near the end. I guess it was done to connect the next book, but for me, it was an unnecessary tidbit. I wish it was part of the start of the next book and not the last twist in this one.

Natasha Snow did an excellent job showing all the couples taking part of this story. Having the White House and the Capitol included was an extra bonus. The cover matches the one from the previous book, and keeps the continuity of events.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | ARe

Book Details: 

ebook, 444 pages
Published: October 24, 2016, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781911153962
Edition Language: English

Series: The Executive Office
Book #1: Enemies of the State
Book #2: Enemy of My Enemy

 

A Stella Release Day Review: Where We Belong (States of Love) by Tia Fielding

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

where-we-belong-by-tia-fieldingIt all starts at a concert at the Red Rock Amphitheater in 2004. Blake just finished high school, Dusty is a college sophomore, and as soon as they meet, they know—they belong together. With Blake living in Nebraska and Dusty in Colorado, distance does its best to keep them apart.

For two years, it succeeds.

Then Blake flees his bigoted—and even dangerous—hometown.

Two years later, Blake and Dusty are getting their lives off the ground, with Blake trying to grow his computer repair business and Dusty working with kindergarteners. Dusty thinks there’s room in their hearts and their lives for their family to grow… he just has to figure out how to express that to Blake.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Where We Belong was perfect to me, it fits in it every little thing I love to find in my books. I’m a fan of these kind of stories, where the author bring me along in a beautiful journey through the  MCs lives during a long timeframe. In this new release by Tia Fielding, I followed Dusty and Blake throught twelve years and I learned to love them and their faimily year after year a little more.

Plus I love stories with children.

I saw Dusty the first time he laid eyes on the shy Blake, when both of them were forced to accompain one his best friend Holly, the other his wonderful mum Julia, to an Incubus concert.

The same day they took a hike together and discovered they had the same fierce passion for nature. That same day they discovered they were made for each other.

I saw Julia being forced to throw out of her home his own son, begging him among the tears to leave her, just to save Blake from the homophobic town they were living in. I saw Blake found a new home in Dusty arms with a simplicity lovely to watch.

And then I saw Dusty and Blake slowly working on building a future together, a real one, because there wasn’t a moment when they just for an instant doubted of having a future together. And later the idea of having a child became reality in the little and too smart Molly.

To me Where We Belong was a huge success, it’s exactly what I like to read, there was no drama, no mistakes to amend, everything went smoothly and I’d like to believe sometimes life can be easy and beautiful  like that.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is perfect, adorable and cute as the book.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 77 pages

Publication Date: November 30th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1634777972 (ISBN13: 9781634777971)

Edition Language English

He’s Behind You from Series Recap Tour – Treading The Boards Series – Rebecca Cohen (giveaway)

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He’s Behind You (Treading The Boards #3) 

 Rebecca Cohen

Length: 43,212

 
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | AllRomance | B&N | KOBO 
 
 
Series 
 
Overly Dramatic (Treading The Boards #1)
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | AllRomance | B&N | KOBO 
Summer Season (Treading The Boards #2) 
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | AllRomance | B&N | KOBO  
Received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Rainbow Awards.  
Blurb

A trip down to Cornwall is just what Ryan Penniford needs to recover from the daily grind of London life. Ryan and his amateur dramatics society, the Sarky Players, are traveling to Porthcurno to perform at the stunning Minack Theatre.

Stuart Box has returned to Cornwall after earning his PhD, and is killing time as he looks for a job back in London. Spending time with Ryan from the Sarky Players is a great way to take his mind off things.

During their first meeting, sparks fly, but not in a good way, and they must work to get past their initial hostilities to discover they have great off-stage chemistry. Stuart soon learns Ryan is not the superficial man people assume he is, and Stuart likes what he sees. The feeling is entirely mutual.

Pity Ryan is only visiting for two weeks, but both men want to see where this holiday romance might take them.

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here . We recommend it!

 
Author Bio

REBECCA COHEN is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Contacts:
Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710
Twitter: http://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

 Giveaway

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Riptide Tour: Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell (giveaway)

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Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell
R
iptide Publishing
Cover  art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

 

About Angel Voices

One frigid winter night a week before Christmas, college student Will stumbles into a church during choir practice, bruised by his own father’s hands. He’s out of the closet now—there’s no going back since his fundamentalist father learned the truth—but he’s also out of a home, a family, and a future. Will has nowhere to turn. No one to care.

Except . . . Will’s roommate, Quinn, cares. Maybe too much. He’s been attracted to Will since they moved in together, but never dreamed his crush was gay. With Will’s life in pieces, Quinn doesn’t want to push. He also knows he has more experience than Will, who’s never even been kissed.

Then Will’s father makes a reappearance, and Will has to learn to trust his heart more than the voices of his past. But it’s the season of miracles, faith, and hope, and Quinn is determined to teach Will how to love and be loved.

Available from Riptide Publishing. 

About Rowan Speedwell

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . .  Hmm.  Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math.  She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry.  She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.

Connect with Rowan:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Angel Voices, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with a thoughtful question and your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review Tour and Giveaway: Julie Bozza’s The ‘True Love’ Solution

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The “True Love” Solution – Julie Bozza

Author: Julie Bozza
 
Length: 45,000 words
 
Publisher: Manifold Press
 
Blurb
 

Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.


Author Bio
 

Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with John Keats.

 

 Giveaway

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