A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey

Standard

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The setup for this story was engaging with a flirty meetup between Sullivan and Duane. Sullivan, a blond long-haired dancer, was overheated and soaked with sweat, hair in a messy bun, as he lounged on a bench after a run with his pitbull, Princess Pizazz. Duane, biracial, tall and muscular, jogged past with his adorable Yorkie, Tiberius. Tongue-tied and stunned by an immediate attraction to a man, Duane left without a commitment to meet again—a perfect setup for my kind of story.

But my expectations were not achieved. I never bonded with either character, possibly because they didn’t interact—with dialogue—to seal their relationship and give us backstory. The backstory was there, but it was done in narrative and there were pages and pages of narrative on my e-reader that filled the screen without a paragraph break. And the last 30% of the story was so far out in left field that I felt like I was watching a campy soap opera. Neither MC was especially likeable by that point, and I still didn’t feel the love between them.

The dogs were both precocious, which wasn’t bad but was a bit overdone at some points. And some of the scenarios in the story felt contrived. Also, I should have known at the beginning, when the bitch girlfriend walked out on Duane in the middle of the night and took all his furniture, that I was going to have to really streeeeeeetch my imagination to get into believability. That scene was too trite and overused. Then the very next day is when he spots Sullivan at the park and is tongue-tied and knocked over by how beautiful he is. Now this is a man who has yet to admit his sexual attraction to men, except (of course), for one brief encounter when younger, and he’s not even 24 hours away from having been ditched by his girl. So no, not a good start.

Both men spent a lot of time hating their jobs and dealing with nasty coworkers and bosses. I didn’t care for any of Duane’s interactions at his job and Sullivan’s boss was so OTT that their scenes came across as farcical. The man was obese, obnoxious, and sexually demanding. And yet, when he did finally touch (kiss) Sully, Sully chose not to press charges. What a disservice to those who are sexually discriminated against or abused in the workplace! I won’t even mention his hot and cold interactions with his wealthy artistic roommate. Between his interactions with her and Duane’s ex-girlfriend, one wonders why the authors only portrayed women as harpies.

The good parts? There were certainly some nice scenes, but the story could have been so much more engaging if Sullivan’s character had remained fun and flirty as he was in the beginning. Less negativity and more dialogue would have helped build the dynamic between the two and made the story better. If you are a fan of stories with an HEA, have no fear, you’ll get one here.

The cover by Meredith Russell is a black-and-white photo or charcoal drawing of two men’s legs with a Yorkie looking straight at us between them. The word love in the title and the & sign between the authors’ names is in red, the balance of the print in white. The dog would attract my attention but the overall effect is dull and gray like a cloudy day so I can’t call this appealing at all.

Sales Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 143 pages
Published April 24th 2019 by Gone Writing Publishing LLC
ASINB07PVSQFS1

Gina Harris and Anne Key on Writing, Characters, and their new story Lone Star in Jersey (author guest interview)

Standard

Lone Star in Jersey by Gina Harris and Anne Key

Harmony Ink Press

Published April 30th 2019
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Links: Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Gina Harris and Anne Key

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Anne: When I was a teenager, I devoured every horror novel I could find. I grew up in the 70s and 80s when the horror genre was exploding, and there was a foil decorated novel waiting on every corner. I don’t write a lot of horror now (but when I do, it’s SCARY, y’all), but what I learned from all those books is to be true to your voice. Then you can tell the story you need to.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Anne: I am a HEA girl, all the way. I believe, you know? I believe in miracles and magic and happily ever after and in forever. It’s my job to build a place where other people can believe too.

Is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Gina: We’re all human and every one of us is flawed, but no one is too flawed to be loved! I guess a character could seem “too real” but It’s my job as an author to make sure that the reader sees the good in that person. If it’s not obvious, or if they start the story kind of unlikeable, then I have to show their intention or their growth, something so the reader can see they are capable of loving and being loved.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

Gina: Take me to the beach! I don’t even need a private getaway, I like people watching on the beach. Just sit me somewhere that I won’t get sand in my laptop and my iced tea won’t get cold and I’ll be good. I’m so inspired by the sound and the energy of the waves and the sunshine. I even love the beach in a storm.

Blurb

Lone Star in Jersey

After his transition, Eli Green is stoked to finally have a body that matches the boy he’s always been. Freshman year was rough, so he’s moving to a new school a town over, where no one has ever known him as Elizabeth.

Samantha Moore has always been one of the bright and beautiful in her Texas high school: varsity cheer and advanced math. But when her momma dies out of the blue, Sammy’s familiar world dies too. Suddenly she’s living in New Jersey with a father she barely knows, thousands of miles from everything she understands.

After running into each other (literally) on the first day of school, Eli is fascinated by Sammy, who sparkles brighter than the bling on her jeans, but as their relationship deepens he knows he has to be honest with her, but he doesn’t know whether he can trust her with his secret. Sammy’s still grieving, the boy she likes is hiding something, and she isn’t sure she gets that. If that’s not enough, secrets her family has kept for years are rising to the surface, and she’s about to lose herself in all the drama.

Buy Links

About the Authors

Gina Harris: is caffeinated. When she’s not drinking coffee, she is on the beach or in a boat. Occasionally she can even be found writing. Gina holds a Bachelors in Theater Arts from Rutgers University so, as an author, her strength lies in creating relatable, human characters who are flawed, but step up when you need them most. That unassuming but brilliant girl in your math class. The shy boy who is fantastic on his skateboard. The best friend that doesn’t need to ask because he just gets you, and the new friend that wants to be something more.

Gina is the author of I Kiss Girls, a sweet YA romance about a lesbian girl in a small, suburban town whose best friend, a straight guy, always gets the girl — until one day, he doesn’t. Gina lives in the suburbs of New York City with her wife and children.

Anne Key: Anne Key recently left her beloved Texas and now lives with her amazing wife in the New Mexico mountains, spending her time writing the kinds of books she wants to read, playing with her basset hounds, and making stuff that wants to be art when it grows up. She’s been writing and illustrating for decades, exploring media from poetry to sculpture, from romance novels to weaving.

She believes in ghosts, in cowboys, in forgiveness, in happily ever after, in magic, and in love at first sight. Mostly, she believes in experiencing your own personal joy wherever you can.

 

Social media

Gina and Anne share a website at: http://www.eastmeetswestya.com/

Gina

Twitter https://twitter.com/ginaharrisya

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ginaharriswrites

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6438158.Gina_Harris

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ginaharrisya

Tumblr https://eastmeetswestya.tumblr.com/

Anne

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/blog/annekeywrites-blog