A Julia Review: Thaw (Seasons of Love #2) by Elyse Springer

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Abigail is content with her quiet life as a librarian. But when she’s invited to a high-profile charity auction, she finds herself dancing with one of the most beautiful women she’s ever met. Abby’s sure she’ll never see her again, but then Gabrielle calls and asks her on a date. And soon after, another.

Supermodel Gabrielle Levesque has a reputation as the Ice Queen—cold and untouchable—except she warms up whenever she’s with Abby. Only Abby isn’t interested in the heat between them; she’s asexual, and she’s worried that admitting as much to Gabrielle might spell the end of their blooming romance.

They’re two different women from two very different worlds, but Abby knows she can love Gabrielle. Her passion for books, travel, and theater prove there’s more to the Ice Queen than meets the eye.  But they’ll have to overcome Abby’s fears—and Gabrielle’s own threatening secrets—in order to find their way to love.

Despite Thaw by Elyse Springer being the second volume in the “Seasons of Love” series, it is still a complete standalone novel. Characters from the first volume “Whiteout” appear or are mentioned but it is not at all necessary to have read it to understand this entry. Although after getting to read this one, I am very tempted to pick up more from this series. The other two volumes are scheduled for release later this year with each one getting published in the respective season they represent.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the main protagonist, Abigail, and how endearing and relatable I found her to be. The story is told in third-person from her point of view and I could not help but smile at the way she interacted with the world and people around her. Despite being rather introverted sometimes, she watches the people around her with care and interest as she strives to uncover the unique story behind each person. I could immediately relate to her love for books and stories and it made my heart warm to read how she slowly came out of her shell of insecurity (which she hid herself in partly out of worry that people would react badly to her sexual orientations) also thanks to the support of her friends.

Gabrielle was also a very captivating character right from the beginning. Just like Abigail you wish to know what secret or truth lies behind the rumours of the cruel “Ice Queen” who seems perfectly amiable for the most part. I very much enjoyed the fact that I found myself rooting for their relationship for the sake of both women: I wanted Abigail to find the kind of connection with another person she was hoping for and I was convinced that Abigail would be a positive influence and just what Gabrielle needed to turn her current way of life (with which seemed rather unfulfilling to her) around.

The narrative was well-paced and there was never a moment that felt superfluous. The environment was also described in just the right amount of detail to get a feeling for the atmosphere without becoming tedious. A minor point of critique was that a couple of times the characters reacted a bit too “oblivious” to situations that seemed quite predictable to me (like Abigail being surprised when she learned that she got photographed on her date with a famous model).

Nevertheless, I found myself being genuinely drawn in the by the characters and the development of their relationship. I will certainly be looking forward to reading more from this author.

The cover design by Natasha Snow is quite lovely and very fitting for the story from the open book to the contrasting types of landscape. What I also appreciated were the painted spring flowers decorating the chapter headings within the book itself, a very nice touch.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages

Published April 24, 2017

by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-513-5

Edition Language: English

A Stella Release Day Review: Olive Juice by TJ Klune

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RATING 3 unsure stars out of 5

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

I really have no idea what to say in this review, I can’t talk about the plot, cause the blurb tells you pretty much nothing and the story really needs to surprise the reader. As it surprised me, in a good or bad way? I picked Olive Juice and I didn’t even read the blurb, it’s a TJ Klune story, one of my favorite author so I couldn’t miss his new release, no matter what the story was about. Now that I just finished reading this novella, I honestly can’t say if it was a good surprise. I don’t even know how to rate it. I simply don’t know.

Olive Juice left me with a sour taste in my mouth as every story like this one would have done. I actually wanted to DFN it because I understood what was happening and I couldn’t stand that kind of feeling, the book deeply hurt me and not even the ending, not a HEA because the impossible would have need to happen to have a HEA, satisfied me. It couldn’t satisfy me. I can’t even say I’m happy for David and Phillip to be together again.

And now that I read the whole story, I’m a little dubious about the initial part, I feel cheated by the author for introduce me to Matteo and let me like him a lot and then nothing more. I don’t want to ask for his own book because I don’t want it to be related in any way with Olive Juice. This is surely and probably the only book by this author I will never reread in the future, I can’t take it.

I think I will settle on three stars simply cause, although it’s not the kind of book I love to read and I would never have picked it if the blurb was more explicit, Olive Juice is well done, too emotional and powerful, beautifully written. The author was great at putting me on the edge from the beginning and it was brave for choosing this theme.

The cover art by Reese Dante is lovely, I like it a lot.

Sales Links

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 121 pages

Publication date: April 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635335027 (ISBN13: 9781635335026)

Edition Language English

A Kai Release Day Review: Kissing Lessons (Before… and After #2) by Susan Laine

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Merry and Boone have been best friends since kindergarten. Even though they were always together, they have differents personality. Boone was the experienced one and Merry was the socially awkward and inexperienced.In the end of the high school senior year, Merry had never been kissed and since he was going to the prom, he intended to kiss his prom date. The problem was: he didn’t know how to kiss and didn’t want to make a fool of himself. So it was better training it first, right? And who better than Boone to teach him how to kiss?
Although being surprised at first, Boone agreed to show Merry how to be a good kisser. They explored many styles of kisses and things became a little too good for them. What should be just a make-out lesson turned into something more intense and they just couldn’t forget about. A week later they decided to confront it and both admitted to wanting one more kissing lesson to see where it would take them. It turned out that how more they kissed more they realized what were there all along: They had feelings for each other.

Well, guys, I’m always up for a good and adorable male-male-young-adult, but this one was a disappointed to me. I couldn’t connect with the story. It was so limited and not developed. The main characters were the only character in the book. No one else really appeared and it bothered me that I couldn’t see them interacting with other people in other situations. We are talking about teenagers here; we should at least see a parent or a school interaction with friends, teachers or whatever.  The events in the entire book were almost the same and there was not a development at all.

Despite the sweetness, I had problems with the kissing lessons too. Actually, it was a bittersweet feeling. I mean, the beginner was really cute and adorable and I loved it, but then Boone needed to classify everything. Even when they were so carried away in the kiss, he would stop to classify it. I was bored after a while with this.

The only occasion they went out of Boone’s room, seems like they were alone even if they were at a prom. And even at the event, no one asked them anything. I mean, in a perfect place it wouldn’t be a surprise to see two guys together, but it was high school. It wouldn’t be strange to have, at least, a curious teenager asking about them or even just looking. After all, they were there as an out couple for the first time. Boone asked one little thing to one random girl and it was it: all the interaction with other people. And after that, it was like they were alone in the world. Felt so unrealistic.

Although I liked what I could see about the character’s personality, it wasn’t sufficiently developed to really connect and like them. There was no time or events in the story for it, unluckily.

The cover art by AngstyG is something I approved about this book. It’s a romantic and pretty cover with the two character represented in such a sweet moment. I really like it.

Sales Links

Book Details:

Kindle edition, 81 pages
Publication: April 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Series: Before… and After: Book Two

Characters
Merry, Boone

A Stella Release Day Review: Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary’s Boys #2) by Brandon Witt

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RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

I was so happy to have Vodka & Handcuffs in my hands, the previous book in the Mary’s Boy series, Nachos & Hash conquered me and I was so curious to see what I will get next. I’m sorry to say this new release was just an okay read and nothing more to me. And I am so used to have so much more from Brandon Witt books, that I’m disappointed.

It feels to me that everything I know about Vahin and Marlon I got it from the blurb, the story actually told me nothing else. And that’s the problem. It should have been more focused on the MCs together, how much they wanted each other, but I actually saw no connection between them, I wanted to know more about their past and the present they are living. Instead the story is focused on some nasty things that are happening with Marlon police partner, and even if this gave the story reality, it was at the expense of the main couple’s romance which was almost non-existent. And even the ending was just meh

As I said Vodka & Handcuffs was an okay reading, the book is well written like everything Brandon writes, there are some secondary characters I was so hoping to meet again, I saw Cody and was happy to know he was doing great. I saw ManDonna being fabulous as always. That’s why I gave the story 3,5 stars. Now, if I could have Zachary story right this second, I would be so happy.

The cover art by AngstyG follows the style of the cover of the previous book, it’s well done and fitting the story, I can easily picture Marlon and Vahin in the models on it, I like it.

Sales Links

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 112 pages

Expected publication: April 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635334330 (ISBN13: 9781635334333)

Edition Language English

Series Mary’s Boy #2

In the Spotlight: Thaw (Seasons of Love #2) by Elyse Springer (guest post and giveaway)

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Thaw (Seasons of Love #2) by Elyse Springer
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Natasha Snow

Read an Excerpt/Buy It at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Elyse Springer today. Welcome, Elyse!

✒︎

 

Hello and welcome to the blog tour for Thaw! This F/F romance is the second in my “Seasons of Love” quartet, but stands alone– though readers of Whiteout may recognize some familiar faces. Thaw features an asexual librarian from Brooklyn, who meets an ice-cold super model from Canada, and I hope you’ll read on to learn more about Abby and Gabrielle’s romance.

Of course, don’t forget to drop a comment on this post… one lucky winner will get a $10 Amazon gift card!

Identities and Labels

The main character of Thaw, Abby, identifies as a biromantic sex-neutral asexual woman.

So what does that actually mean?

Let’s start with a ten second lesson on sexual vs. romantic attraction: who you want to buy roses for and who you wanna bang aren’t always the same. Love and sex may go hand-in-hand for many people, but your sexual attraction and romantic attraction may not always line up.

Let’s start with the easy one:

Asexual: Abby doesn’t experience sexual attraction. (Some asexual people do, of course! Gray Aces may experience sexual attraction; demisexuals can experience sexual attraction after establishing a close friend/romantic bond… wait, did I say this was the easy one?)

Biromantic: For Abby, this means she is romantically attracted to people of any gender.

Sex-Neutral: Some asexuals are sex-positive (meaning they often don’t mind, and maybe even enjoy, having sex) while others are sex-repulsed. Abby doesn’t have particularly strong feelings on sex either way.

Why do these labels matter?

Abby is not the defining example of asexuality! She is only one facet of a complex orientation, and her experiences in Thaw do not (and should not!) be held as the standard by which to define “asexuality”. But by understanding the labels she uses for herself, hopefully people will better understand the asexual spectrum and how beautifully diverse it is!

(Curious to know more? Cass Lennox has a great post about this: http://adanramie.com/fiction-and-the-asexual-character-by-cass-lennox-part-1/ )

About Thaw

Abigail is content with her quiet life as a librarian. But when she’s invited to a high-profile charity auction, she finds herself dancing with one of the most beautiful women she’s ever met. Abby’s sure she’ll never see her again, but then Gabrielle calls and asks her on a date. And soon after, another.

Supermodel Gabrielle Levesque has a reputation as the Ice Queen—cold and untouchable—except she warms up whenever she’s with Abby. Only Abby isn’t interested in the heat between them; she’s asexual, and she’s worried that admitting as much to Gabrielle might spell the end of their blooming romance.

They’re two different women from two very different worlds, but Abby knows she can love Gabrielle. Her passion for books, travel, and theater prove there’s more to the Ice Queen than meets the eye.  But they’ll have to overcome Abby’s fears—and Gabrielle’s own threatening secrets—in order to find their way to love.

Available now at Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/thaw

About the Season of Love Universe

New York is the city that never sleeps: where everything can change in the blink of an eye, and where anything is possible—especially romance. In the bitter cold of winter or the impossible humidity of mid-summer, your own happily ever after might be right around the corner.

The people of New York come from all walks of life, and the relationships are just as diverse. So whether you’re a waiter or an aspiring actor, a banker or a model, falling in love can happen quicker than the seasons change.

Check out Seasons of Love! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/seasons-love

About Elyse Springer

Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.

She’s always happy to chat with other readers, and you can find her online at:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Thaw, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 29, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

This title is part of the Seasons of Love: The Complete Collection collection. Check out the collection discount!

Cover Reveal for Ellery Mountain 1,2 & 3 by RJ Scott (giveaway)

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Out May 10 

Covers Designed by Meredith Russell

 

Rescuing cop Finn Ryan from a burning precinct was easy; it’s keeping him alive Max Harrison finds difficult.

Firefighter, Max Harrison, is running from the city and finds peace in the sleepy Smoky Mountains town of Ellery. Finn Ryan is one of only three cops in Ellery, and someone is out to hurt him. Can Max find the arsonist, and keep Finn alive?


How can Daniel convince the man he loves, to stay with him in Ellery?

Luke Fitzgerald left Ellery Mountain for college and vowed never to return, but with his father murdered, he has no choice but to return. Luke only goes home to sell off his share of the Ellery Mountain Cabins, but everything changes when he meets the son of the other owner.

Daniel Skylar is an ex-soldier who lives every day to the limit and sees a future in Luke. It doesn’t matter what Daniel says, or how much he needs Luke; Luke isn’t staying once everything is sold off. Surely Daniel can understand that?

Jason McInnery, hounded by the paparazzi after his brother’s death, runs to the one place where he hopes people will not sell him out. The place where he was born.

Hiding in the tourist cabins at Ellery Mountain Resort out of season he thinks he finally has room to breathe.

If only Kieran Dexter, a man ten years his junior, would stop fixing stuff and causing ripples in Jason’s peaceful space.

 

 

Author Bio

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk

www.rjscott.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/author.rjscott?ref=ts&fref=ts
www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott
twitter.com/Rjscott_author
www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

 Giveaway

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Review Tour – Starting From Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Cover: Garrett Leigh


Length: 57,000 words


The Housemates Series is a collection of standalone stories set around a student house in Britain. Each book focuses on new characters, with themes of self-discovery and sexual awakening.



Helping Hand (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Like A Lover (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Practice Makes Perfect (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Watching and Wanting (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

 

 

Author Bio
 

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

www.jaynorthcote.com
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