A Lucy Review : Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Elden Richland didn’t want to waste money on an office. Instead, he worked from home, or, when he needed a change of scenery, from The Cure All, a local bar. Staring at Cabe Donovan, the bar owner, may not help Elden get any work done, but it was well worth it. 

Cabe had been watching Elden come into The Cure All for months now. Elden might not be his normal type of date, but Cabe didn’t want typical, he wanted forever. He wanted Elden. 

But what did a hot bar owner and a computer nerd, who didn’t like the taste of alcohol, have in common? Fireworks. 

Warning: Alcohol consumption not only occurs in this book, it is encouraged, over-consumed and, ends with praying to the Porcelain God. Oh, and being naked. Don’t want to forget that. Although, maybe not in the way Cabe hoped. 

This book made me laugh.  Cabe is the owner of The Cure All, a bar in Dahlonia. He’s very interested in the computer nerd, Elden, who comes into the Cure All to work sometimes.  Does he have a crush on Cabe?  You bet.  Is he way too shy to do anything about it?  Again, you bet.  Elden can’t imagine why anyone would be interested in him, let alone a smokin’ hot guy like Cabe.  But a boy can dream.

Elden is so sweet and so cute.  “No way was he letting anyone see his Star Wars boxers  That would only get him named President of the Nerd Hall of Fame.”  His clothes don’t fit well, he can’t wear contacts so has to use glasses and his mother has brow beaten him into a self-loathing mess.  I can’t even begin to say how awful his mother is. 

“From the moment Elden had entered The Cure All four months ago, he’d (Cabe) been obsessed with the sweet, yet extremely shy, man.”   Cabe likes the glasses, the smile, the awkwardness, everything about Elden just as he is. Elden doesn’t believe it though. So we get to experience Cabe showing Elden just how serious he is.  I loved that.

I did have one WTF moment in the book.  We get to see Shine and Montague (from Shine, Uncorked #4).  Shine brings moonshine to the Cure All and it is mentioned, “With Shine’s new partner, Montague, their flavors had improved dramatically, but that didn’t mean it would stay that way.”  What??  The flavors were remarkable already (hence how Shine got Montague and on the tour) so for Shine’s sake I was incensed.

It is funny that Elden has odd sayings “Duck water” like Shine, but his are so random even Shine is speechless.  Cabe is so awesome about it, “One day, I really hope you’ll tell me what that means.”  Again, unconditionally accepting of all of Elden.

Elden’s mother, however,  is not.  She is so awful I couldn’t fathom why Elden continued to have dinner with her or even talk to her.  She insults him, cuts him down, makes fun of him, the works.  And when we get her reason for it, I didn’t buy it. Thank pete for Cabe, who not only stands up for Elden but allows Elden to be confident enough to stand up for himself.  She is supposedly getting better but honestly she is poison.

I loved when Elden goes to a New Year’s Party Cabe invited him to and ends up drinking with Shine and Montague, David and Mac.  A drunken Elden is funny, the hangover Elden more so.  Even when Elden freaks out, Cabe is calm and there.  We get some aww moments for Shine and Montague too, that happen in typical Shine fashion.

There were a few editing issues with this one, and a name error (Jess for Jeff) but they were minor.  This was a great addition to the series.  Now I still want Andrew and Brogan’s story but I also would like Jaivon’s story as well.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve read all the books in a series, so this was something special for me!

Cover art shows Elden and Cabe and this is the first book in the series that I thought the men on the cover were the men in the book. Well done!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published February 4th 2019
Series Uncorked #5

Series Uncorked :


Full Bodied




A Lucy Review: Full Bodied (Uncorked #2) by Shea Balik


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

For Nolan Woods, life had been a miserable existence that had left him lonely and depressed. Nothing had ever seemed to go his way. It was his own fault for being such a loser, but it would still be nice if just once he had something end up in his favor. Unfortunately, for that to happen he’d have to put down the food he loved so much. 

West Baxter led a charmed life. In college, he and his friends had decided to open a winery, allowing him to travel and meet new people. It had been a playboy lifestyle but when he met Nolan Woods, he found himself longing to settle down instead. Too bad their new winery needed him out on the road to sell their wines it they ever hoped of being the success they had dreamed about. 

Nolan’s misery had him taking drastic action to change himself. He never thought in a million years anyone would like him as he was. But before he could go under the knife, West had finally had enough of life on the road and seduced Nolan. 

Suddenly Nolan no longer knew what to do. He didn’t believe West would ever be able to love him as he was, but if he told West his plans West just might realize what a loser Nolan was and leave him even sooner. Either way, Nolan had to pray that West would understand that Nolan could no longer be Full Bodied. 

I was so excited to read Nolan’s story after getting to meet him in Mac and David’s story.   He is an imperfect character – not because of his heavy body, but because of his emotional state.  He’s an insecure mess.  With a crush on the Twisted Vines salesman, he struggles at times with his job there as an accountant.  He turns tongue tied and stressed when West is around to the point that people were afraid he was having a stroke when he was around West.

West is described as a playboy but we don’t get to see that.  The book starts with West being ready to settle down from traveling all over in order to be with Nolan.  Nolan, who doesn’t even know West wants him yet.  I would have liked to see West fall in love with Nolan because West is a man who sees the person, the one inside.  “Oh, sweet Nolan.  When it involves you, I notice everything.”  To be seen?  That is priceless for someone like Nolan, who has literally no self esteem and is always waiting for the “when I lose weight” for his life to start.  He wasn’t even aware his friends were his friends (except for Kayden) because he was so sure they just tolerated him. 

My heart was breaking for this shy, gentle man. His issues with food were so real, so relatable.  That negative self talk.  The mentality of having one last binge because tomorrow  we diet.  The feeling of being invisible or trying to make yourself invisible because of your weight.  “Nolan, on the other hand, had been called nerd, geek, chubby, dweeb and fatty.  There had been other names…”  Even gentle teasing by a friend, Tucker, brings up feelings of inadequacy and doubt.  The numbing of your feelings with food and turning to food anytime an emotion threatens to break free.  It was all so well done and you can’t help but feel for Nolan.

West is fit, gorgeous and a kind man.  He loves Nolan, loves him as is but will support anything Nolan needs to do.  While he doesn’t know about Nolan’s upcoming surgery, he knows Nolan is dieting and makes it so easy for him.  Nolan having a shake for lunch? West will bring it to him.  Nolan needs plain chicken and salad?  That’s what West will have.  And West is determined that Nolan understand he is it for West.   He is so considerate and I found thinking of him as a playboy wasn’t even possible for me.

This is insta-love in a way, because they haven’t been together for even a week.  But it really isn’t because they’ve known each other at work for a few years.  West is honest enough to admit he didn’t approach Nolan before now because he wasn’t ready.  Now he is and it’s lovely.   Nolan has some very staunch friends on his side and that helps.  His best friend, Kayden, is an absolute joy.  Everyone needs a Kayden.

I had a squicky moment when West sees someone at work with Nolan and “stakes a claim” right there, which I felt was very unprofessional but it was quick and I got past it.

So what kept this from being 5 stars?  I have relatives and friends who have had gastric bypass surgery and I know that Nolan’s attitude about himself, his body and food would have required meeting with a psychologist and dietician at best, being denied surgery at worst.   They want to make sure your relationship with food is healthy in your head before it is addressed with your body.  That being said, I loved this book and the MCs.  We get a quick glimpse of the next book, which will be Kayden and Valor, in a scene.

This was a great addition to the series and I hope that we get to see West and Nolan in future books.

Cover art shows West and Nolan.  It didn’t fit what I thought about Nolan, looking too thin and not “shy” enough.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 124 pages
Published November 14th 2017 (first published August 2017)
Edition Language English
Series Uncorked #2