An Alisa Audio Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire (Romancing the… #3) by Clare London and Seb Yarick (narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?

Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.

Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.

While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

I continue to get these stories hoping that I will enjoy them more but continue to feel like they aren’t living up to my hopes, they aren’t bad but I’m not sure they are for me.  Alex is basically a spoiled playboy, with depths that no one knows, but is suddenly foisted from his lavish position with the company.  Tate works hard to keep control of his life and make sure that his employees are taken care of even if it works him to the bone.

I had trouble with how quickly Alex changes his tune when he goes undercover, he finds what he’s been missing down deep but it just seems uncharacteristic.  Tate was leery about the new intern but very quickly seems to get over his hesitation of dating an employee.  I thought Tate’s family was adorable and a bit over the top but they all loved each other.  I didn’t really connect with the two men all that well, I understood Tate’s life much more than Alex’s but all the interactions didn’t add up to me.

Seb Yarrick did a nice job narrating this story.  For the most part I was able to keep up with the story because of the different voices he used but they constantly seemed to get quieter as the story went on that I would have to focus more.

Cover art by Alexandria Corza is nice though the picture doesn’t connect with either character.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 15min
Published: February 14, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Romancing The …

An Ali Audio Review: Handle with Care by Cari Z and John Solo (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

I am always leery about reading books where a MC is a social worker. That’s the field I work in and I drive myself crazy when authors don’t get stuff right.  I decided to give it a try anyways because I’m a fan of this author’s and it includes two of my favorite tropes: friends to lovers and road trips. 
 
This was well done and I enjoyed it.  Aaron and his best friend take off for Kansas to go to a wedding.  Along the way Aaron has to deal with a variety of insecurities and unresolved issues from his childhood.  Tyler is there to be a support and as they go along they realize that they’re falling in love.
 
The book is fairly short so a lot of the issues were dealt with a bit more superficially than I would have preferred  (I want ALL the angst) but it was still entertaining.  Their romance was lovely and sweet and I really liked them together.  It was one of those book couples you are rooting for.
 
The audiobook is narrated by John Solo and I thought he did a very good job.  I have liked all of his narrations that I have listened to.  I think a good narrator can really add depth and emotion to a story which I feel was the case here.
 
Cover Art:  This cover was done by Alexandria Corza.  I don’t really care for it.  The Dreamspun series has had various formats for the books in it and this format was one of my least favorites. 
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible
Audio Details:
Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 16th 2018)
ASIN1644054906
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Release Day Review: Yes, Chef (Amuse Bouche #2) by T. Neilson

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

A savory slice of first love.

Simon’s dad died when he was young, leaving Simon to take the reins of the family restaurant business—and the responsibility for his mother and brothers. His commitment to his duty left Simon time for little else, least of all romance.

Argentinian celebrity chef Luke Ferreya has wanted Simon since their culinary-school days, but for Simon, family always came first. Now Luke’s back in Simon’s life—briefly before he returns to South America—and he’s determined to give Simon a sample of everything he’s missed out on.

Simon’s brothers are grown, and his mother is doing fine on her own, and Luke is offering a second chance for a future full of the pleasures of fine food, wine, and especially love. Without his obligations to hide behind, can Simon finally allow himself to say “Yes, Chef”?

Yes Chef was a lovely surprise by a new to me author, a sweet story that ends with the promise of love and a future together between two men who finally decided to give their lives a second chance, this time as a couple. Luke already knew he was in love with Simon, after ten years apart, he came to his friend’s restaurant to say goodbye and go back to his Argentina for good. But then Simon started to understand that he might be interested in men, or just in Luke. Their meeting were sweet and simple, although nothing happened till the very ending, it was clear how much they were connected and attracted to each other even after all the years they spent apart.

I think the story was well done, interesting, quick to read and well written. The main characters well done, plus there were some second characters I would love to know more about. Maybe I will get more of them when I will read the first book in the series. In fact, although Yes, Chef is part of the Amuse Bouche series, I haven’t read the first title and this new one still worked well as a standalone. Now that it’s clear I liked Yes, Chef, I will surely pick Sweet Nothings too. I’m a huge fan of stories about chef/food, I can’t miss it.

The cover art by Bree Archer is simple but I like it, especially the colors.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner

Amazon

Kobo

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 193 pages

Published April 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781640805217

Edition Language English

Series Amuse Bouche #2

T. Neilson on Food Connecting People and their new release Yes, Chef(Amuse Bouche #2)

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Yes, Chef (Amuse Bouche #2) by T. Neilson
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Bree Archer

Release Date: Apr 2, 2019

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner

Amazon

Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have T. Neilson here today on tour with the new release Yes, Chef.  Welcome to STRW!

 

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When I was working in the food industry as a coffee taster (truly, that’s a job. And a very enjoyable one too!) I saw the most remarkable love stories play out around me. There was the gentle giant, an apprentice coffee roaster, who fell head over heels for the quiet baker who came in and drank a cappuccino alone in the corner. There was the opera singer who decided to give it all up to marry the cafe owner. And there was the barista and the computer programmer who fell in love over the course of a year or more, and who suddenly emailed out of the blue to let us know they had gotten married — in Thailand. Food is one of those remarkable things that can be as social as it is satisfying. It’s a catalyst for conversation, for friendship building, and human connection. Maybe you could even call it alchemical, because sometimes it turns everyday interactions into romance gold.

And I mean that! After all, food and sex deeply connected. Don’t believe me? Well, there aren’t many things we hunger for, or that get put into the body, but food is definitely one of those things. And the other one, well, I’m sure you can fill in that blank.

The fine food industry takes this to all new highs. Fine dining in particular means much more than just physical satisfaction, it means theatre and passion. Great chefs take raw materials and transform them to please people. They create a complete experience that satisfies completely. Just like a good lover.

So where better to set a couple of romances than in the foodie world, where passionate people bump into other passionate people, and where people are spending a huge amount of time thinking about the pleasure and satisfaction of other people? And where I’ve seen a lot of romance happen? That was my thinking when I started writing the Amuse Bouche series, featuring a huge family in a small town in the middle of nowhere, who are all in each other’s businesses — literally and figuratively.

I’ve lived in small towns, and have a huge (extended) family, and I’ve seen a lot of real-life romances in the food industry so it wasn’t hard to imagine something wonderful if you blend all those things together and bake it at 350 till it’s nice and toasty. In an environment like a French bakery or a fine dining restaurant there are bound to be fireworks even if your family isn’t up in your business. Those fireworks might be with the work or the people. And when it’s with people, some of those fireworks turn into something sudden and sweet, like in Sweet Nothings. But some of them, like in Yes, Chef, burn with a slow heat, and completely change the way people see themselves.

Plus, in the food industry, people are exactly who they seem to be. The work is too hard and the hours too long for people to maintain any kind of mask. To paraphrase one of my mentors: When you’re in the kitchen, you can’t hide. Who you are and what you are comes out in everything you do, and if you don’t notice it, you can depend on your colleagues to let you know about it. That’s exactly what happens to Simon when an old culinary school friend reappears in his restaurant. It’s been years since Simon saw Luke, and where Simon went on to run a reasonable little fine dining establishment in the boondocks, Luke rocketed to fame and acclaim in New York. Luke is everything Simon thought he wanted to be, but now that Luke has reappeared in his life, Simon has to face the facts: It’s not that he wants to be Luke, it’s that he wants to be with Luke. And his staff won’t let him ignored that. 

At that moment, Simon has to face the fact that he’s spent a lot of his life pretending to be who he thinks he should be rather than being who he really is. For someone who’s been the patriarch of a sprawling family since he was young, and the person running the family restaurant, and someone who lives for his work, that makes matters kind of… complicated.

And for Luke, a Michelin-starred chef who’s burnt out and desperately trying to get out of the food industry, and who knows how hard it is to be anything but what you are, there is more than just fine dining expertise to share to Simon. He’s about to give Simon a lesson in passion, too.

Buy link: Dreamspinner Press https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/t-neilson-785

Back cover blurb:

A savory slice of first love.

Simon’s dad died when he was young, leaving Simon to take the reins of the family restaurant business—and the responsibility for his mother and brothers. His commitment to his duty left Simon time for little else, least of all romance.

Argentinian celebrity chef Luke Ferreya has wanted Simon since their culinary-school days, but for Simon, family always came first. Now Luke’s back in Simon’s life—briefly before he returns to South America—and he’s determined to give Simon a sample of everything he’s missed out on.

Simon’s brothers are grown, and his mother is doing fine on her own, and Luke is offering a second chance for a future full of the pleasures of fine food, wine, and especially love. Without his obligations to hide behind, can Simon finally allow himself to say “Yes, Chef”?

 

 

About the Author: T Neilson is a writer and foodie who lives on Vancouver Island where the bread, beer, and coffee scene is a thing to behold. A romance writer since 2015, and a food industry die-hard for over a decade, Neilson decided to get out of coffee tasting and get into writing for good. These days Neilson spends a lot of time chasing after a toddler, thinking about upcoming books, and working toward the perfect hand-pie crust. It’s not an easy life, but someone has to do it.

My Links:

https://www.tneilson.com/

https://twitter.com/TamMacNeil

Book Details:

Type: Novels

Words: 51,399

Pages: 200

ISBN-13 978-1-64080-521-7

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Love is hitting the slopes, and the competition is fierce.

It’s Gay Ski Week in Aspen, and blind sculptor Bleu Bridey and his ex-fiancé, Dan, are at the Leaning N Ranch to unveil Bleu’s latest commission.

Former Olympic snowboarder Ryan Shields is there too… and he’s Bleu’s true love who got away. Seeing Bleu again, Ryan remembers how they couldn’t get enough of each other in college.

Too bad it looks like Bleu is with Dan now, because Ryan would love to remind Bleu how good they were together, in and out of the sheets.

Between Ski Week parties, a bunch of exes, a private ski lesson, and one terrible accident that leaves Bleu stranded and Ryan in rescue mode, it’ll be a wonder if these two manage to survive, much less find a few seconds alone to remember how much love they have to keep them warm even in the worst of storms.

I am really enjoying the Leaning N series from BA Tortuga and this story especially checked a lot of my boxes for contemporary romances.  The first beingOK it’s author!  yes, I can never pass up a BA Tortuga story, and Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga has so many elements in it that I love to red about.  It has cowboys and kids in the family that owns the Leaning N (they are central to every story here.  It also has a wonderful second chance at love, lovers reunited aspect to the romance and main couple.  Plus the couple itself has two men whose characters and personalities are just so compelling that it makes for a story and romance that grabs you right from the start.

Told from both the perspectives of Bleu and Ryan, BA Tortuga manages to bring the reader inside the darkness of Bleu’s everyday life and give us a feel for the way in which he lives and manages his life, with the assistance of his service dog.  I’m not sure who was helping with this realistic portrait but I suspect they are close to the subject or know someone like Bleu given the cringeworthy moments and comments from  other characters and situations Bleu finds himself in, the authenticity rings true throughout the story.  Everything about Blue pulls you to him, and makes you want to shove Dan, his ex right off the next ski lift.  Dan is one of the less enjoyable characters there but has been a minor series character throughout the three stories so far.

Ryan the former Olympic snowboarder also has that personality down, as well as that of regret for the past and the real sense of loss when it comes to Bleu.  When it comes to writing chemistry, BA Tortuga can make two men and their connection seem almost organic, it’s that natural and mighty.  I really loved watching them reconnect, worth through their old issues, and current ones, including current exes that won’t go away.

There is adventure, huge drama, and a wonderful end to everything that I adored.  Plus the secondary cast of characters some of which …cough..Geoff. cough..I’m hoping which eventurally get his story.

While each book easily can be read as a standalone, it’s far more fun to read them as a series, a method I recommend.    I have fallen in love with the Leaning N and the family and crew that lives there.  I only hope we will be getting so many more romances and novels to come.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Handsome man, beautiful background.  Both in keeping with the series although I could wish for more from the story.  I just find it cute but lacking.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Dreamspun Desires #78, 181 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07NNLYLYG
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Leaning N :

Commitment Ranch

Finding Mr. Wright

Whiskey to Wine

Come Back Around coming out in July 2019

Amanda Meuwissen on the “Realness” of Characters, Writing, and her new release A Model Escort (author guest blog)

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A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer; Design by Paul Richmond

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Amanda Meuwissen

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  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue (or should I say Gary Stu) and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not really, because unless you’re literally creating a character to be exactly you, giving them some of your life experience (or details from someone else you know) isn’t going to translate to exactly you on the page.

I’m a geek, so I tend to make my main characters geeks too, liking some of my favorite movies and songs and books. Having a character like the book Good Omens in and of itself and having another love the movie The Fifth Element doesn’t make either of them me.

The trick is how those details relate to that character within their story and situation and letting it breathe unique life into them.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I did not read romances as a teenager—at least not novels. I did, however, devour fanfiction specifically about romance (or with heavy romantic subplots) since I was about thirteen, so really, I should say yes.

And I still do today—read fanfiction that is, mostly stories about falling in love and making it work through a series of obstacles. Those are always my favorite kinds of tales. I’d say usually I want more than just romance as the focus, same with my own writing, but at the end of the day, love stories are what make me smile.

With some heat in there too, of course.

  • How do you feel about the eBook format and where do you see it going?

eBooks are everything. My book sales are hugely reliant on eBook sales over paperback, and I think that’s going to remain true for years to come. I love it, because it’s easy for on-the-go people and voracious readers to take whole libraries with them in their pocket or purse.

Not to say I see paperbacks going away. I love going to conventions or author events and signing paperbacks for fans, and they still come to see me regularly to get hard copies of my books. But for the average reader, eBooks is where they turn for convenience and cost savings, and I think that’s great.

  • If you write contemporary romance, 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?

This is actually my first ‘normal’ contemporary romance, since I usually write more urban fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal stories, but even then, making characters real is what gives them life.

It’s all about balance though. Characters who are too perfect are boring, they need SOME flaws, but likewise, characters can be boring if they’re nothing but flaws. Even a villainous character needs something redeeming about them.

Real people are balanced, and characters should be too.

  • Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I think the best example of this is my duology Lovesick. It’s a very emotionally exhausting read because it focuses on mental health and dealing with past traumas and bipolar depression.

This was something I had faced and overcome for the most part when I started writing the story, but what I didn’t realize initially was how much it helped me deal with feelings I hadn’t yet worked through.

I was putting a large part of my soul into those characters and how they hit rock bottom and then healed, and that journey was very rewarding for me.

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Oh my, have I. One of my favorites was when I had taken an Ambien before bed, which is normal for me, but I didn’t go to bed right away like I should have. I hit that weird loopy level that can happen and started writing something out of the blue.

I proceeded to forget about it, found it on my desktop a day or two later, and was amazed at how good it was. I ended up finishing it as a short story that I later published online.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have another new release coming up very soon, also with Dreamspinner Press – Coming Up for Air. It’s available now for pre-order, with it’s official release on April 30, 2019.

It’s not easy being someone’s fairy tale.

Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.

Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.

Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.

But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/coming-up-for-air-by-amanda-meuwissen-10421-b

Blurb:

What’s the value of love?

Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex.

Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.

About the Author
Amanda Meuwissen is a primarily gay romance writer, as well as Marketing Operations Manager for the software company Outsell. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga, young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire, the novelette The Collector, and superhero duology Lovesick Gods and Lovesick Titans, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga, and can be found at www.amandameuwissen.com.
Social Media:

A Stella Release Day Review: A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

 

What’s the value of love? Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex. Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.

 

A Model Escort was the first book I read by Amanda Meuwissen and it won’t be the last. I fell into this beautiful story so easily I too soon was reading the last chapter and I so wanted to restart it again and again.

Sure, some of you can obviously think there’s nothing new in the plot, just an already seen plot, a “Pretty Woman” (or better say “Man”) retelling; and you’re right, I thought it too but that’s exactly why I picked it. Have no fear, there will be some surprises.

The reason why I loved A Model Escort so much stays in the main characters, I adored Cal and Owen deeply, their pasts, their futures together. The author did an amazing job with them, I was able to know so much, how they suffered from different and at the same time, similar reasons, how they were able to escape and be strong and build their new lives. Plus the author gave me many second characters, all of their friends, families, coworkers, bosses. And they were never too many, cause I felt them all supportive and positive.

I appreciated how Owen and Cal took their times, they were of course attracted to each other, but being things a little complicated, they waited and it was simply perfect. They were funny, sexy, cute. And although they were so different, they were open and never judgemental versus the other.

I feel to highly recommend this novel, I loved it from the start till the ending. I give up, I think I’m going to reread it right this second.

The cover art by Bree Archer is simple and fitting, but it’s not so eye catching as the covers I usually love

SALE LINKS   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 184 pages

Published March 5th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B07NND1YR8

Edition Language English

 

A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates and Colin Darcy (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll. 

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good. 

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Remy goes through a terrible event and it freezes his ability to write music or be in front of a crowd.  It is his manager, Buddy, who comes up with the idea of sending Remy to the ranch Buddy owns and his son, Jed, cares for.  Buddy couldn’t be less interested in the ranch but he is stubborn (and selfish) and won’t sell it to Jed.  So the idea of hosting a diva singer in exchange for Buddy selling Jed the ranch as well as showing up for Jed’s sister’s wedding and giving her away seems like a good one.

Remy definitely doesn’t seem like a spoiled pop star. He owns a mansion that he rarely spends any time in. He mentions things like his clothes and hair products as a must, but he doesn’t whine or throw a fit about anything. He’s more down to earth than the blurb made it seem.  He definitely isn’t used to not being admired, but he wants to earn Jed’s attention and respect.  He takes to the ranch life so well, learning to ride a horse and work around the place.

Jed is quiet, used to the isolation of the ranch and unwilling to admit that the desertion of his father for Hollywood has affected him so much.  At first he takes this out on Remy because Remy was Buddy’s big break, the boy who had the potential to be a big star.  Potential that was fulfilled and Buddy left the ranch to manage his star without looking back.  As the days go on, however, Jed sees what a good person Remy is and what stress he’s been under.  Jed starts to thaw and teach Remy the workings of the ranch.  TShe two become friends and then turn to more. 

Everything is under the cloud of Remy leaving.  Remy is an internationally famous pop star and his life and world is a million miles away from the isolated ranch in the mountains that Jed loves so much.  They know the time is limited and try to make the best of it.  The wedding of Jed’s sister will bring Buddy back to the ranch and Jed knows that will be the end. 

There is not a lot of angst here although there is that sense of “how can this work” throughout.  We do get Jed acting like a brat who won’t listen, Buddy acting like a major ass and pulling a stunt that proves how selfish he is (as if we didn’t know that from his conversation about Nicky, Remy’s horrible ex-boyfriend, before Remy goes to the ranch) and Remy being his lovely self.   I liked how this got worked out and especially that Remy was the strong one throughout. 

Narration by Colin Darcy had an odd nasal quality at times but mostly worked. This was my first audiobook with him as narrator and I would try another one.

This is a sweet, low key story of two opposites who want to make it work. 

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson. Eyecatching and in the style of sthe Dreamspun Desires series.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published January 3rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 21st 2018)
Original TitleRocking the Cowboy
ASINB07LB5XBH1
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingCalifornia (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4. 5 stars out of 5

KC Wells took an old classic—My Fair Lady—one of my all-time favorites—and created a Dreamspun Desires book that gave me all the feels I’d expect from a story with that theme done in the MM romance genre.

In this instance, Brady Donovan is the best PA any exec could hope for. He’s bright, cute, anal about being organized, and anticipates his boss’s every need. Jordan Wolf couldn’t ask for a better assistant, and the sweet, smart nerd with his dark-framed eyeglasses is cute too. When Brady is suddenly no longer there to meet his needs, it takes a few days, but Jordan finally goes to Brady’s place to check on the guy. There he finds a Brady so ill he can’t take care of himself and Jordan’s nurturing side comes out. Added to that, getting to know Brady in a different way tweaks something in Jordan’s heart and he no longer only sees his PA when he looks at the young man.

Not long after that, Jordan asks Brady if he’d be his plus one at a weekend party in the Hamptons, and when he agrees, Jordan treats him to a day at the spa followed by a shopping trip that awakens Jordan’s hidden desires and gives Brady hope that his attraction may not be one-sided after all. Get the picture? Of course, this is based on a well-worn trope, but KC Wells infuses it with new life, and I was transported to my happy place where the smile never leaves my face as I engage with two very nice men who needed a subtle push to get together. 

Are there angsty moments? Definitely, but they’re not overdone. And is there a nasty surprise over the weekend—a protagonist determined to break them up? Well, yes, but there are also friends who won’t let that happen, and there’s the bloom of new love and open communication which seals the foundation of their chance for love.

I totally enjoyed getting to know these characters and was caught up in their lives within the first 10% of the story. The long, slow love scenes were explicit and yet more romantic than a quick hop into bed. KC Wells does this so well. A host of secondary characters round out the cast and add enough to the story without taking it over.

All in all, a very satisfying and heartwarming read. MM romance at its best. 

The cover by Alexandria Corza features a handsome young man, wearing glasses, a button-up shirt and a bowtie. He’s the perfect representation of Brady and the bright colorful cover is very attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 226 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07NN5GSDX
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble

Standard

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Drunk on love.

Like a well-aged whiskey, master distiller and old-money entrepreneur Malone Kensington is elegant and refined. Unfortunately he’s also a perfectionist who is more dedicated to the success of his generations-old company than his own love life.

That company needs a public spokesman.

What Colton Hale lacks in sophistication, he more than makes up for with the charisma that’s allowed him to survive on the street from a young age and charm his way into the lucrative—if overwhelming—public position at the Kensington Distillery. When Mal takes Colt under his wing, hoping to polish off his rough edges, opposites attract and a passionate romance blossoms despite the differences in age and background. But can it survive a Kensington Board of Directors who believe Colt is nothing but a gold digger and a kidnapper determined to profit from the love of Mal’s life—dead or alive?

I enjoyed Whiskey and Moonshine, a Dreamspun Desires title by Elizabeth Noble as I do most of her romances.  She created two wonderful main characters in Colton Hale and Mal Kensington, as well as including a age difference/economic level advantage to make it interesting.  On top of that?  The basis and foundation of Whiskey and Moonshine is a famous family held whiskey/moonshine distillery along the line of Jack Daniels so the reader gets some fascinating inside details on how whiskey is cured and stored.  I really could have used a little more of that.  But what we get is enough to provide an authentic “flavor” and framework for Mal and the Kensington Distillery.

I actually found the novel the strongest when it had  Colton working in the janitorial department and scanning the company boards for jobs to work his way up in a company and place he was clearly meant to be.  Touching, real, and given his background, easy to connect with his struggles to move forward.  And delight in a company that continued to accept him.

When the company chooses Colton to be the ‘face” of the distillery, then the novel moves into several new stages.  The romance stage and changes in dynamics for many of the relationships here, including Colton and Mal. We lose that intimate connection Colton was having with the  distillery oddly enough as he becomes it’s spokesperson and it removes him from the actual jobs itself.  Colton keeps saying he wants to learn the business but that’s impossible when your job is public relations and “the road”.  That’s one hole that never gets completely filled in this story.

The warm, loving relationship between Mal and Colton is lovely and sweetly based on complete truths on Colton’s background.  A nice changeup from other novels.  But it’s also a bit of a reality bump for me in the story.  I didn’t have issues with their relationship, not the age difference or anything else for that matter.  Mine was more of a corporate common sense one.  Colton had lived on the  streets for years, turning tricks and doing what he had to survive.  He told Mal and the people who hired him.  Admirable and truthful.  Hire him for lots of things.  But not the very public “face” of Kensington Distillery who appears on The Tonight Show for all his former johns to see.  I really don’t see that happening in RL, nor that he didn’t have even one charge for soliciting after all those years on the streets in Toledo for someone to find.  So that all that strike me as realistic?  Uh, no,  not really.  That strikes me as a public relations nightmare.

Does it come up? No.  Other things yes, this huge one no.  So there are things here you either  just pretend to overlook or they don’t matter to begin with, because you are enjoying the romance so.

And that’s ok, it’s a really sweet romance with some angst and drama in the wings.  It all gets sorted out in time for a HEA in the Smokies.  If you like contemporary romance, Elizabeth Noble, and the Dreamspun Desires line, then Whiskey and Moonshine is another story you will want to grab up.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza has done a fine job with the cover and story elements.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 238 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640803824
Edition Language English