A Stella Review: Falling for Him by CL Mustafic

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Doctor Gavin Addison’s marriage didn’t end on the friendliest of terms, and his estranged wife’s continual harassment has the local police visiting his home so often they’ve started calling him “the doc.” One of those cops, Officer Lex Turner, has a crush on the handsome doc, even though he knows there’s no chance the doc would ever consider dating a man.

A chance encounter on a crowded dance floor ends with both men in the same bed with the same woman—but with questionable results. When the doc wants to try that again, Lex becomes more involved than he’d dreamed possible as he helps his new friend navigate the kinkier side of sex. Knowing it’s just sex for Gavin, Lex finds it hard to keep his feelings hidden. But when Gavin finally figures out he has feelings for Lex that go beyond what a guy should feel for his buddy, will he let Lex convince him to take a chance with him—even if it turns both their lives upside down?

I’m so happy I got to review Falling For Him and discover a new author, especially when I find myself in a story well written and engaging like this one. I wasn’t so sure of reading it cause mfm scenes are not for me, but the blurb was too good to pass.

Infact I want to make a little premise. I tried and failed at reading the mfm scenes, I had to skip them so I actually had no clue what and if something really happened between Lex and Gavin (apart from the obvious). It’s my limit and I had not considered them in my rating, cause it’s my fault since I knew the scenes would have been there and I still decided to pick the book.

I love stories like Falling For Him. As you can understand from the blurb, Gavin is going through a very bad time and things will become impossible to live if it had not be for an incredible and well developed second characters cast. Sheila and Riley are the friends all of us should have, supporting and ready for fight for Gavin. And then there is Lex’s mum, Jean, a mother to whom life has taken a daughter and she is surviving a grief so deep just for the love of Lex. All these were real characters, persons I could identify with. Especially with Lex and how much he, and then Gavin, cares for him mum.

I’m very impressed by this new author, in my opinion she developed a solid novel, in the plot, in the cast, in the writing. Falling for Him is a story about love, friendship, it’s sweet and warm. I’ll keep my eyes open for more release from C.L. Mustafic.

I love everything Natasha Snow designs and this cover is no exception, it’s simple, fitting and the font and colors are amazing.

Sales Links

NineStar Press

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 289 pages

Published April 17th 2017 by NineStar Press

ISBN13 9781945952890

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Idlewild by Jude Sierra

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RATING 4,25 out of 5 stars

idlewildIn a last ditch effort to bring the downtown Detroit gastro pub he started with his late husband back to life, Asher Schenck fires everyone and hires a completely new staff. Among them is Tyler Heyward, a 23-year-old recent college graduate in need of funds to pay for med school. As their relationship shifts from business to friendship, Tyler falls for Asher and finds himself caught between the things he thought he wanted and the things he hasn’t allowed himself to dream about. Working together, they get to know each other’s dreams. Set in the backdrop of Detroit’s revival, Idlewild is a story about love and healing.

Asher is reopening Idlewild, the restaurant he neglected during the last difficult years, years where after losing his husband, he let himself be swallowed by the grief and overlooked his business. Asher is hiring new people, Tyler is one of waiters. He has decided to take a break from med school and work doing something he actually like. What both of them aren’t expecting is  the strong friendship that born between them.

Idlewild by Jude Sierra is a very good story, it packs a lot of feelings, real ones, the emotions come out through the pages so clearly. I liked how it is paced and I adored how I was able to see the love Tyler and Asher had for each other even before they realized it.

This is a book relation focused, there are some second characters, well defined too, but they don’t play huge roles in the plot, the focus remained spotted on the MCs and their initial friendship and it follows them in the discovery of a new unexpected love later. We see them deal with life, with their fears and the happiness found in each other arms.

I liked how John and Malik were presented and often mentioned, as it could have been in real life; because ex boyfriends and dead husbands can’t be forgotten in the span of a moment like  too often happens in books, while in RL you hurt, suffer and recover with time and the help of your beloved ones. And I saw exactly this in Idlewild, although maybe Asher isn’t really ready yet to go on, but he’s there, and Tyler is just waiting for him.

The only little negative note I want to make and the reason why I didn’t give the novel the five full stars, is the use of the present tense as verbal form, I’m usually not a fan of it but in this particular case it bothered me quite a lot because it seems it clashed with the writing. I can assure you the book is very well written but to me it wasn’t perfect just for the verbal form.

I feel to recommend Idlewild, especially if you are looking for a real story, with real characters and a real setting. I quite enjoyed it and I’m now interested in reading more by Jude Sierra.

The cover art by CB Messer caught my eyes at first sight, it’s well done and fits the story.

Sales Links

Interlude Press

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BOOK DETAILS

Published December 1st 2016 by Interlude Press

Kindle Edition, 250 pages

ASIN B01MAXJFMU

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: The ‘True Love’ Solution by Julie Bozza

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

the-true-love-solutionJules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.

I discovered Julie Bozza in the Butterfly Hunter series and fell in love with her style. That’s the reason I soon jumped into the chance at reading The ‘True Love’ Solution. What I particularly like  of this author is her way with words, she can always bring me into real and at the same time dreamy worlds. This is exactly what I felt with this last story.

I have to say Jules was my favorite, he has passion and a lot of love and care to spread around. How he loves his dad and his sister was deep and unconditional and this feeling flew easily to me thorught all the story. And he’s a greedy reader of romance, especially by his favorite author. And just this passion will lead him to be fraud, meet the cute Leonard and the same author in person. 

Although I quite enjoyed the characters and the writing a lot, I’m not a fan of love triangle and that’s the reason why I’m not giving The ‘True Love’ Solution a higher rating. Even if the interest between Jules and Ewan never actually evolved and Jules and Leonard weren’t together yet, it still felt to me like he was betraying Leonard and the potential HEA I was waiting for.

The cover art by Natalia Bratslavsky is well done, I have to say I like all the covers by Manifold Press, plus I love flowers.

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BOOK DETAILS

Word Count: 45,000

Publication Date Feb 01, 2016 by Manifold Press
ISBN 9781908312372

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Of Love and Corn Dogs (Of Love and… #1) by Parker Williams

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

of-love-and-corn-dogsWith more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn’t keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant’s newest employee.

Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.

As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs— something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.

Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.

Of Love and Corn Dogs by Parker  Williams is the light and easy read I was so craving when I  opened the file on my kindle. That’s one of the reasons why it was a winner to me.

The story between Rick and Darwin is sweet and so lovely. They fall for each other in an heartbeat, almost from the first time they see each other in the restaurant where Ricky is working, at least for a couple of more days. And then bad luck and a nasty man will force him to resign. While trying to find a new job to sustain himself and pay his school debts, the friendship with Darwin starts to develop in something more. Problem is Darwin forgets to tell Ricky he is a very wealthy man and when Ricky finds out how and where his new boyfriend lives, well let’s just say he’s not happy.

I appreciated a lot of elements in this story:  I liked the writing but it was nothing new because I already read (and quite enjoyed) other books Parker Williams wrote in the past. I loved the lightness and the easiness the plot had, how the MCs gave themselves to each other. Yes there was a little bump in their HEA because Ricky doesn’t need a knight to save him from his unlucky life, he’s a strong young man, used to taking care of his troubles alone. While Darwin, although his life is too full between his job and his wonderful brother, is pretty much lonely and can’t wait to give himself and everything he owns to Ricky. Plus there are some great secondary characters, starting with Maria and Henley, they are supportive and don’t waste a moment to cheer Darwin. What I really loved or better who I fell in love with was Ricky, maybe because I emphasized with him and his life so much, maybe simply because the author depicted a great character.

If you’re looking for a light, sweet and angst free story, don’t miss this new release by Parker Williams.

The cover art is not my favorite, but fits the story well.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 154 pages

Published September 23rd 2016 by Parker Williams

ISBN13 9781941841471 

Edition Language English

Of Love and … series #1

A Stella Review: Into the Blue by Penny Henson

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RATING  4,5 out of 5 stars

Into the BlueTai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids, surfing the North Shore of Oahu. Now they live with their best friends and Ollie’s kid brother in a pulled-together family, all of them piled into a run-down beach house. They share cooking, bills, and the saltwater running in their veins. They might have no money, they might argue, they might be in dead end jobs, but they live in Hawaii so it’s always summer. There’s always time for one last wave.

Tai’s spent years shutting down any feelings for Ollie. They’re friends. Their family depends on them. But with Ollie off on his first world tour, with Ollie’s dreams of a pro surfing career finally within reach, their steady world shifts. Is it worth risking their friendship, their family, their dreams for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?

I’m so happy to have read Into the Blue by Pene Henson, it was exactly what I was craving, light, sweet, with zero pauses and awesome characters. The second ones almost stole the MCs roles, and I’m not saying it as a criticism, on the contrary they were all so well done, Sunny, Jamie and Hannah deserved to be put on the spotlight. They are Tai and Ollie family, it couldn’t have been different.  After all since they met at thirteen, Tai and Ollie were inseparable and building a family with the most important persons in their life was simple a necessity of the heart. That said, the story focuses a lot on the main couple, thanks to the time they spend around the world following Ollie’s chance at finally pursuing a surfing career. They support each others dreams so it is natural to Tai to travel with Ollie and help him be the number one in the World Surf League. Just then Ollie finally realizes there is more than friendship for them to share.

Into the Blue is well written and engaging, a friends to lovers story fresh and lighthearted.  I know nothing about surfing but I wasn’t once left dubious about what was happening. It’s real, in the setting, in the characters, in the action. It is evocative with the great descriptions, I felt myself riding Tai’s boards, I smelled the ocean’s air, I felt Tahiti sand under my feet  and I was cooking with Jamie at the Blue House in Oahu.

I’m surprised this book is Pene’s debut novel, I’m hungry for more by the author. I feel to highly recommend it.

The cover art by CB Messer perfectly depicts the book.

Sales Links

Interlude Press

        

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published July 7th 2016 by Interlude Press
ASIN B01F6JM4QC
Edition Language English