Blog Tour for Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher (excerpt and giveaway)



Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher

Release Date: September 30, 2019

Subgenre: Contemporary LGBTQ+ romance (m/m)

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Synopsis for Love on the Hudson:

At historian David Webster left his childhood home of Saugerties, New York ten years ago and hasn’t looked back. Intelligent, successful, and proud of his sexuality, David has built a comfortable, if lonely, life in Chicago. But when he learns his father has suffered a debilitating stroke, he decides to leave his prestigious museum job and move home to care for his dad. Until now David has never questioned his devotion to academic and professional success. Suddenly he’s forced to confront and reevaluate his desires, chief among them, his former best friend Nick.

Nick Patras has spent his entire life trying to be the perfect Greek son. From devoting himself to football, to forgoing an athletic scholarship to work at his family’s diner, to denying his sexuality and getting married to his high school sweetheart, Nick got used to putting his family’s dreams ahead of his own. The facade shattered, however, when Nick divorced his wife and left the family business to follow his dream of starting an organic farm. Finally content with the life he’s built for himself, Nick is still haunted by the mistake that ended his friendship with David a decade earlier.

When David and Nick reunite their old feelings are undeniable, but can David trust Nick with his heart a second time around? As David embarks on a new career as an artist, he must decide whether or not Nick fits into this composition.


“Can you give me another chance?” The naked hope in Nick’s face sends a jolt of warmth right through my heart. “I know I don’t deserve it but I want to at least be your friend again. And if you’d be willing, I want to be with you for real.”

Excerpt :

Five hours later I find myself behind the wheel of a white rental sedan barreling up I-87 in the direction of Saugerties, a perfectly nice town I’d hoped never to see again. The sky is the same mottled gray as it was back in Chicago, the snow along the highway the same dirt-tinged pewter. The passing cars are spattered with white salt stains. I drive in silence, every radio station bothering me with shrill commercials or horrendous blends of the 80s, 90s, and today.

My mind falls into a chaotic tailspin. I want to call Marc and see how the meeting went. I want to call Jimmy again and see if there is any update on my dad’s condition. The doctors are worried his vision was compromised but needed to run another test. I want to call Anna to hear her soothing voice and ask the one question that absolutely shouldn’t be on my mind right now. Has she seen Nick recently? Again, his gray eyes and those dark lashes flit across my mind and I grip the wheel harder. I need to focus. Plus I won’t even see him. He moved across town when he got married. He doesn’t live in the house across the street anymore.

Author Bio:

KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaiʻi to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where she spends far too much time at the beach.

When KD isn’t writing, she can usually be found hiking with her overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. She loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.

Author links:









Win one of 3 packages of a signed physical copy + postcard of LOVE ON THE HUDSON by KD Fisher!

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An Alisa Review: In Safe Arms (My Truth #2) by Ann Grech


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


Will he risk it all to be in safe arms?


When a damaged man stumbles on a second chance, it’s all too easy to turn and run. It takes a determined photographer to convince him risk is worth it all.


People deserve a second chance, right? How about a third or fourth?


But what if I can’t even admit to myself who I am? I was truthful once before. I came out to one other person, and he left me broken and scarred. He destroyed the boy I was. I don’t even use the same name anymore; I go by Trent now. But I survived the streets. I got lucky and I made something of myself. I’m happy, sort of.


It’s Angelo who lights up my life. He’s my world. My rock and my family. He’s always there for me. But I keep hurting him. I say stupid things, and I always keep him at a distance. Still, he knows me better than anyone.


And I want him. But I can’t let myself go there. Not again.


I’ve lived in denial for so long and it’s killing me. In my weakest moments, I reach for Angelo and when he slips into my arms, I can breathe. He’s my solace. Selflessly, he’s there and he never expects anything in return. No judgment, not even an explanation. Having him in my arms is everything, and it’s getting harder to push him away. I’m not sure I want to anymore.


He doesn’t date, but he deserves to be loved. Cherished. Then he drops a bombshell—he’s found The One. I wish he’d fallen for me. I need that second chance to tell him. I need to risk it all because in his arms, I’m safe. I’m me.


I want to start off my review with a warning **this book contains scenes and talk of rape**, I didn’t expect it and I know that it can be a no-go for some readers.


This was such a good story and it really spanned a long time which really gave a sense of how Trent and Angelo came to be because there was so much missing in small glimpses we saw of them in the first book.  Trent can’t let himself be who he always wanted to be and has tried to convince himself that he’s straight even if he needs a little help in that department at times.  Angelo is such a sweet man and even as he had previously called himself asexual he goes through a bit of an awakening with his feelings for Trent.


Now okay, Trent acted like an ass at times and while as a reader I knew why he reacted that way it caused him to hurt some of his closest friends.  He was lucky that Angelo stayed by him through it all (but that’s love for you).  I loved seeing the journey these two went through together to reach their HEA and the soul searching that Trent had to go through.


I liked both of these characters though at times Trent made it hard but I knew he was struggling with himself just as much.  I was glad that we go to see both characters points of view as it really helped with understanding what they were feeling.  I wish Trent had never had to be violated by a man he trusted but, even as he puts it, he never would have met Angelo if he hadn’t left home and with Angelo’s support he even gains his family back in his life.  Angelo is such a great guy and I love that he knew who Trent was deep down and stood by him for years until he got his act together, I think it was his unwavering friendship and support that eventually helped Trent to let go of his past and embrace their future.


I like the cover art by Soxsational Cover Art and the glimpse of Tent and Angelo together.


Sales Link: Amazon | B&N


Book Details:

ebook, 303 pages

Published: September 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-925853-71-1

Edition Language: English

Series: My Truth #2


A Lucy Review: Snowed In: Jonah and Cooper by Kris T. Bethke


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Jonah Lyons is looking forward to spending a weekend at a cabin with his sister, Ellie. So the last thing he expects is for his ex-boyfriend to show up. 

Captain Adrian Cooper was once the love of his life, but Jonah thinks he’s moved past it. Getting trapped together because of a snowstorm wasn’t on the agenda, but it means they either have to talk or murder each other. 

When Cooper admits the reason he left, Jonah doesn’t know how to react. The depth of Cooper’s love has never waned, and Jonah realizes he still loves Cooper, too. Now he needs to decide if he can forgive Cooper. Can he give them both the second chance they deserve?

I have a feeling I am going to be in the minority on this one but it just wasn’t working for me.  I am a big fan of short stories (this one clocks in at 45 pages) but it has to have a “complete” feel and in this case the length worked against it.

Jonah is a wonderful little brother who can’t say no to spending time with his big sister, Ellie.  When she convinces him to spend a long weekend with her at her in-laws cabin, he knows he will agree.  Even when she asks for chicken Florentine for lunch, a meal he only made for the former love of his life, he figures she doesn’t realize the significance and agrees to that too.  Except, of course, she doesn’t show up but Adrian Cooper, the military man who loved Jonah and then broke his heart three years ago, does.

When Jonah (who had blocked Cooper’s number) doesn’t answer his calls, Cooper resorted to getting Ellie to help.  Again, Jonah is an awesome little brother because as under-handed and crappy as that move was, he forgives her right away.  Jonah is completely ready to throw Cooper out the way he came, except the snow storm that started when Jonah was driving is now in full force the roads are closed.  Oh, boy.

So Cooper’s reason for breaking up with Jonah, demolishing his spirit and leaving him without a backwards glance was selfish in my opinion. “When I broke things off, I thought I was doing the right thing.”  You know, because why talk to the one you love?   Add in that he’s so surprised that Jonah doesn’t want to be with him.  “Is it really so bad? Being stuck with me?”   A pet peeve of mine, when the one who hurt their love believes they can just show up and all will be magically forgiven.  That right there was my biggest issue with the story.  There is a quite explanation that was BS, no groveling, “I did it for you” and then on to sex.   I didn’t even feel that Cooper “did it for…” Jonah.  He finished his time and then went looking.

I am usually a fan of second chance stories but this needed more for me and perhaps due to the short length, it didn’t deliver as I had hoped.

Cover art showing two happy men hugging over a snowy cabin scene is very pretty, though didn’t fit the feel of the couple.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 41 pages
Published January 19th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ISBN 139781634867948
Edition Language English

J.P. Barnaby on a Conversation with her Character and her new novel Saving Hannah (author guest blog)


Saving Hannah by J.P. Barnaby

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Release Date:  December 18, 2018
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.P. Barnaby here today on tour for her latest novel, Saving Hannah.  Welcome, J.P.


A Chat with Hannah Aberthol

Saving Hannah, while a romantic suspense, is at its core—a love story. It’s a love story between two men and a little girl. Hannah has leukemia and her father, Thomas, will do anything to get her the medical care she needs. Aleks has loved Thomas since college and wants to help them both. Along with the suspenseful elements, there is a lot of love.

I thought it would be fun to sit down with little Hannah and talk about her role in the book, her relationship with her father, and how she feels about the developments in their relationship.

JP: Hi Hannah, thanks for sitting down with me today.

Hannah: Hello. It’s nice to see you again. Daddy said you helped us become a family.

JP: Well, I just wrote it down. That was all your daddy and Aleks.  They’re good guys.

Hannah: Meemaw said Daddy is a good man who did a bad thing. Aleks is a good man too. He helped me with the doctors and medicine and stuff.

JP: How are you feeling, Hannah?

Hannah: Way better. Daddy says I can go to school soon.

JP: That’s great! Are you looking forward to that?

Hannah: Yeah, I just wish my hair were longer. They’re gonna make fun of me.

JP: Tell them you were in a rock band and shaved your head.

Hannah: That’s silly. And a lie. Daddy said we’re only supposed to lie about certain things.

JP: That’s got to be a scary thing.

Hannah: Yeah. I’m scared I’m going to mess up and something bad will happen.

JP: Tell you what, if I don’t write it—it won’t happen. And I won’t write something bad happening to you. Does that make it better?

Hannah: You can do that?

JP: Yep.

Hannah: You’re the bestest ever! I’m gonna go tell Daddy and Aleks. See you later!


Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.

Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.

Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents… one that will change the course of both their lives.


About author J.P. Barnaby

JP Barnaby is an award-winning contemporary romance and romantic suspense novelist with over a dozen novels. Her heart and soul, the Survivor Series, has been heralded by USA Today as one of their favorites. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro (Jake) who didnít like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When sheís not working on her latest novel, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix with her husband and Jack Russell Terror, Chase.

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A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Boca Dreams by Scudder James Jr


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

You can’t correct the past.

Or can you?

Stephen’s not proud of who he was back in boarding school—spoiled and a player. Now, at the holiday reunion ten years later, he has a chance to show his former classmates who he really is: out and proud, devoted to helping others, and partnered with Victor.

Stephen understands why Victor, who grew up in a poor and abusive household, hates the rich kids at the reunion, but his attitude is ruining everything. Luckily Stephen bumps into Aaron, a former grunge rocker who has also changed. Stephen never forgot their one steamy night together.

With the help of three very unusual personifications of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, can Stephen revisit his mistakes and find the happiness that’s eluded him?

Boca Dreams is a non-traditional second chance story. More of a hope for a once missed opportunity; a what if with the one that got away.

I liked that Stephen was ready to show his classmates who he was but I’m not sure he went into it with the right mindset. It seems he had not changed much from that teen looking for acceptance. Victor read as a stereotype of a bitter man. It felt unnecessary to the story.

As someone that enjoyed high school. I love class reunion stories and I can see Stephen & Aaron as an item many years later. Unfortunately, their coming together didn’t feel feasible. The Scrooges part didn’t work for me. I  wanted a little less drama and a bit more reminiscence. The story does have a nice ending, though.

The cover by L.C. Chase follows the 2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes template. The picture within is pretty standard and I’m not sure if it is Stephen or Aaron.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

Book Details:
ebook, 42 pages
ASIN: 9781644050477
Published: December 1, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English


A Stella Review : A Love To Remember by Sarah Hadley Brook


RATING 2,75 out of 5 stars


Graham Hayes decided long ago he’d never be in a relationship. It was better to stay single than to fall in love only to be left alone, which he was certain would happen to him. He’d seen Alzheimer’s ravage his family members all his life, leaving their loved ones to deal with the fallout. Some of them stayed, but some didn’t. Graham isn’t going to risk it. When he hires nurse Sam Morgan to take care of his dad during the day, his pledge to stay single is put to the test. He soon finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance. Graham’s guarded his heart for so long, but his resolve is crumbling. Will he be able to conquer his fear to give himself a chance at love? Can he trust Sam to stick around for better or worse?

I chose to review A Love To Remember because I read some other titles by the same author and found them interesting, plus this new release treats a theme very dear to me and for a couple of reasons I knew I could relate to Graham. So of course I wanted to give the story a chance. The premises were there and were great. I have to say the plot was good, I liked the relationship between Graham and his dad, how he turned his life to stay with him. And then it was very sweet how the MCs met again, I adore when a couple seems destined to be together.

All of these caught my attention, but from a certain moment the story lost all its potential and became something I wasn’t expecting. What I didn’t like resides in the way the romance developed between Graham and Sam. I thought when they first met, they were pretty hot together, I felt the attraction they had for each other, I felt how both of them wanted more but it wasn’t possible. Then they got a second chance. And just there, things shifted for me. I couldn’t feel anymore the chemistry, they could have been easily friends because there wasn’t a difference. The author told me how much Sam wanted Graham but I actually see it. And moreover I found some behaviours they had too childish for grown up adults like them.

Although it didn’t truly convince me, I still appreciate A Love To Remember, especially cause the author was able to deliver a light story with an important theme like Alzheimer’s and this was a huge bonus to me since too many times, books that deal with diseases are too heavy to take.

The cover is lovely and full of light, I like it.

Sales Links:    Amazon |      Universal Buy Link


Kindle Edition, 85 pages

Published April 28th 2018 by JMS Books LLC


Edition Language English


An Alisa Release Day Review: Smitty’s Sheriff (Hope #3) by Cardeno C.


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.


Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.


It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.


When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?


This was a sweet story even if I was frustrated with some of the characters actions.  Richard is so sure that Todd isn’t the right man for him and doesn’t want to hold him back so he breaks off their relationship.  Todd has been so confused as to why Richard broke off their relationship that when they have to work together and watch Todd’s niece he is so scared of doing something wrong.


This story definitely had a d/s undertone to it, Todd is completely submissive to Richard’s dominate nature and that is where some of the problems lie with these characters.  Todd loves to be taken care of which makes sense considering what we learn about him in this story while Richard is afraid that he is making too many decisions for Todd and it isn’t what Todd wants.  However, I still can’t understand Todd’s thought process about having sex with other guys before that since Richard didn’t specifically say anything that he could sleep with whoever, that part just didn’t work for me.


This story is told from both characters’ points of view which gives a nice look into both of their thoughts.  It takes some work on Todd’s part but he finally gets Richard to talk about why their relationship fell apart and they are able to clear the air with each other.  Richard is breaking his own heart staying away from Todd while Todd can’t help but hope they will be able to work it all out.


Cover art is great and I love the sweet visual of these two characters together.


Sales Links: Amazon | PayHip


Book Details:

ebook, 33,297 words

Published: July 17, 2017
ISBN: 9781942184737

Edition Language: English

Series: A Hope Story

Release Blitz for Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding (excerpt and giveaway)



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 61,000 words

Confronting the past is never easy.

Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.

He never expected her father.

Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.

This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.


Time had done nothing to dull Cole’s memories of Zander Brooks, though he wished it had. His stomach rolled, and he had to lock his knees to keep upright. Breathe, Cole, you’re being dramatic. Of all the places for them to see each other after nearly two decades…. It was some consolation, a very small amount, that Zander appeared equally as shocked to see Cole. He stood in the doorway, unmoving and silent, his lips parted. Cole could feel Zander,s gaze on him like a physical touch. It made his skin prickle, his heart skip a beat. He was supposed to be over this.

Cole needed to find his words. He was a professional, and whatever personal history they’d had, it was just that. History. It was irrelevant in this room. He played pretend with his class sometimes. He could do that now. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit like a cat with a hairball. “Hello, Mr… Emerson?” It was less confident than he’d been going for, but it would have to do. Zander took a minute to noticeably reorient himself. He walked into the classroom slowly. His pace could even be considered hesitant. Cole tried to ignore the observation, the nagging surge of satisfaction that he wasn’t alone in being off kilter.

From behind him, Savanah snorted. Cole glommed onto the excuse to look away from Zander and turned to her. Savanah’s pert nose was scrunched. “Can I play outside?” she asked, gaze darting between Cole and her father.

Jesus. Zander was a father. Zander was the father who Cole had been wanting to meet. If Cole didn’t regulate his breathing, he was going to have a full blown panic attack. He’d been in love with one of his student’s fathers. He’d had his heart broken for the first time by him. Seventeen years later and it somehow still stung. “No, but you can use one of the stations,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound too strangled. He ran a hand over the back of his neck, damp from sweat. He thought it was possible he’d had a nightmare like this before.

Savanah pouted but went in silence to the reading corner. She made sure to scuff her shoes over the carpet on the way.

“It’s Mr. Brooks,” said Zander, sounding much closer. His voice was the same, deep and smooth like velvet. It sent parts of Cole’s insides fluttering in a way he hadn’t experienced in years.

Cole retreated under the guise of picking the workbook and pencil off the floor. Savanah had Goldfish crumbs littered around the legs of her desk. “Ah, I see. My apologies.” He aligned the book and pencil symmetrically on the scarred desktop. A few of the workbook’s pages were crinkled now, folding in on themselves. He tried to smooth them down and noticed in the process that Savanah had been working ahead. He made a mental note of it.

He was going to have to stop delaying and face Zander eventually. Could he play this off like he hadn’t recognized Zander or was that cat long out of the bag? “Why don’t you take a seat? I’ll be right with you.” He cupped his hand at the edge of Savanah’s desk and used his other to sweep eraser crumbs into his palm.

“Uh.” Zander coughed, shuffling his feet and rustling his jeans in the process. “Here?”

Cole managed to look at Zander at last. His lips even twitched into a half-smirk of their own accord at the picture of Zander squeezed into a child-sized seat. The smirk didn’t last long. Zander was too close. Cole could make out the nearly golden striations in his irises, could see the slow progression of his pupil taking over the brown. He had a scar at his temple now, a jagged slash from hairline to the arch of his eyebrow. Stress lines looked to be permanently etched in the dark brown skin at the corners of his eyes and mouth. If Cole didn’t know better, he’d have said he was staring at someone in their forties. The years they’d been apart had not been overly kind to Zander.

Strangely the realization left Cole with a hollow feeling, a tinge of… disappointment, maybe. He’d been angry with Zander with every fiber of his teenage being, but buried underneath had always been a quiet hope that Zander would figure out how to be happy.

Clearly he’d not.

Author Bio

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

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A Caryn Review: Urgent Care (Hearts & Health #3) by D.J. Jamison


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the third in the Hearts and Health series by this author, and once again characters from the previous two books appear in minor supporting roles, but it is basically a stand-alone.  I think this was my favorite of the series, and I enjoyed it, but still not a book I’d put on my re-read list.

Both of the MCs are in the medical profession in this book.  Xavier James is a nursing student, a little older and with a lot more life experience that most of his peers.  Dr. Trent Cavendish was Xavier’s high school boyfriend, but he went on to college, medical school, and ultimately a career as a successful but workaholic surgeon.  When Trent’s best friend and fellow surgeon cracked under the pressure, it served as a wake up call to Trent, who took a good look at his life and where it was going and saw that it really held little meaning.  So he decided to go back to the beginning, back to his hometown of Ashe, Kansas, and gave up surgery to work in an indigent care clinic.  He and Xavier had been in love, but that blew up dramatically when Trent left town to go to school and Xavier stayed home to care for his family.  Though the men hadn’t spoken in 12 years, Trent still hoped that Xavier might be available to give him a second chance.

I really enjoy second chance stories, when you have the chance to reconnect with “the one that got away”.  And I think this one was well done – both men certainly had changed quite a bit, and matured, and with that actually were able to recognize why it ended so badly all those years ago.  The path back together required not only that they face those old truths (through wiser eyes), but also that they re-evaluate where they wanted to be, and how they wanted to get there.  The character development was much stronger in this book than the others in the series, and I ended up liking these men quite a bit better as well.  I also found Trent to be a much more sympathetic doctor than Paul in Bedside Manner.  As in the other books in the series, the medical details were pretty authentic – I had to laugh about the process of granting emergency privileges to Trent in the rural hospital.  I guess it could happen, but I couldn’t help thinking that any non-medical readers were probably wondering what all the fuss was about.

Overall, a decent read.  I haven’t read the rest of the author’s books set in Ashe, but I am sure fans of that series would enjoy this one as well.

Cover art works for branding the series and is more eye-catching.

Sales Links 

Buy on Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published May 4th 2017
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Hearts & Health:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Take Two by Shira Anthony


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Take TwoShiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be-ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Take Two by Shira Anthony is a different sort of story then the ones we’ve been reading lately from this author.  Far from the action/adventure or fantasy epics of recent releases, this romance of lovers trying to find their way back (or at least one) to the magic that was once theirs brings me back to the tone of the Blue Notes series and the books where I found Shira Anthony.

Lovers reunited is a trope I adore, especially when its one lover trying to win back his true love.  That the lovers here are older makes this story just a tad sweeter and more perfect.  Sam knows he screwed up big time (how much he’s yet to realize) but he know he wants Wesley back.  The story is all about Sam’s doing what it takes, physically rearranging things like schedules, growing emotionally, whatever, to get Wesley back.  Things do not fall into place, although it seems as though its going to happen that way at first.  Life is never so accommodating and Anthony is well aware of life’s foibles and whimsy.

Wesley too has a bit of relationship blinders on, ones that anyone whose had relationship issues or problems will recognize.  Whether its with current relationships or ones in the past, the author realizes that the need to see what we want to see rather than what’s really occurring is a strong overriding emotion.  Its an authentic need and a thread that runs throughout the story.  And as we are pulled into Wesley’s turmoil of a life and his mixed-up inner emotions, we wonder what’s it going to take to bring Wesley to take his blinder’s off and …boom…we’ve fallen in love with both men and their problems.

Of course, it helps spectacularly that Shira Anthony has set her story on Bald Island, NC a place the author is intimately familiar with.  A lifelong sailor herself along with her husband, the scenes on the water, in and around as well as on Bald Island are vividly and lovingly described because she feels that way about the place.  It shows.  I wanted to grab a plane, car or boat and head there myself.  There’s a sea rescue too that’s as white knuckle as they come. Yes, that’s  authentic as well.

I think that’s why this story reminded me so of the Blue Notes story.  Where those were focused on the musical world that Anthony was a part of for so long, Take Two is surrounded by another element in Anthony’s life, that of sailing, the water, and North Carolina.  Her deep love and knowledge of all three shines bright here as music does in the Blue Notes series.  That made me hope that perhaps another series could be coming.  There is a secondary couple here.  I would love to see where their romance takes them. Plus the Barbary Pirates need exploring right?

Things I haven’t mentioned?  History and pirates!  Yes to both!  I loved learning about the pirates of North Carolina and definitely wanted more, along with the humor that the author threw in to go along with it.  There’s some wonderful giggling moments here, along with a few ‘laugh out loud’s too. Ah, me. Wonderful characters, lovers reunited, sexy scenes, sailboats, and pirates!  Argh, me hearties!  This romance was everything I wanted and more.


Cover art by L.C. Chase is missing several elements.  I like the script.  But where, oh where, is Bald Island, NC, the sailboats and the pirate ships?


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Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: September 9th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773853 (ISBN13: 9781634773850)
Edition LanguageEnglish