A Stella Review: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

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RATING:  3.75 out of 5 stars

BetweenGhosts_600x900In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.

I’m a fan of Garrett Leigh, she is a great author who writes beautiful and heartbroken characters, just how I like my boys to be. I had enormous expectations on her new release, Between Ghosts, and in some ways they were greatly satisfied, because the author can write and pick the right cast, main and secondary too. As you can read and imagine from the blurb, the story is pretty hard and the setting is hurtful, still I wasn’t scared and I was wrong. Now I can admit I can’t read these kind of books. Between Ghosts is well done and deeply emotional, but the sadness I felt, highly distracted me.

I was left dubious and not so into the book since the start, I felt a detachment from the words I was reading and although I was enjoying Nat and Connor, I couldn’t connect with them. And to me the reason was pretty simple: I was too overwhelmed by the setting. I was able to feel a chemistry and a connection, because it was clear from the first sight Nat and Connor are meant to be together and heal each other hearts. Still the mission  they were on played a huge role on the plot and was more important than the beginning of something (physical) between the guys.

I was a little disappointed by the last third of the story, some parts were predictable, others a little unrealistic but the ending was what I wanted, a sense of closure and a peace hard to find throughout the story, but so well deserved. What the MCs felt and did in their lives earned them the right to try and get all the happiness they can have together. And right there at the end I was really hoping for a sequel where I could follow them in a new life and enjoy them in another way.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is well done as anything she designs. The cleaness and the colors were a success for me.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook,226 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626493510(ISBN13:9781626493513)
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Drawing Love by Tully Vincent

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Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Drawing LoveYears ago a childhood trauma ripped away Taylor Elliot’s confidence and made leaving his own home a struggle. Now a senior in high school, he finally has his life back on track. As head of the decorating committee for the Cupid Dance, he’s determined to showcase his creativity by dazzling his fellow students with glitz and glamour they won’t soon forget. But when his committee’s resident techie bails at the last minute, Taylor’s chance to shine is slipping through his fingers, and he’s on the verge of a panic attack.

Can the unexpected appearance of a real-life cupid help Taylor create something special after all?

Drawing Love is a short young adult story about Taylor, a high school student who suffers of agoraphobia and lives in a small town. He is planning the Cupid Dance, the yearly Valentine dance but something is going wrong.

What a surprise! I have to say I’m always in awe of authors who can write story so short and do it right. Just like this one. In so few pages (just 19!) I was able to know the main characters pretty well, especially Taylor. The author gave me all the important things about his life, his thoughts, his wishes, his fears. Plus she gifted him a tenacious best friend, Drina, a powerful mum and a sweet kindergarten friend, someone who is now back to join Taylor in their adult life.

It’s a quick story, short of course but well done, with unbelievable well defined characters and an unexpected ending. Can I tell you the truth? I wanted more and this is the only reason I didn’t give this review five stars. Still Drawing Love is a lovely read. I highly recommend to everyone who wants to spend half hour with a sweet and well thought read.

The cover art is simple, clean and fitting, I like it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, 19 pages
Published February 17th 2016
ASINB01BW8K4P4
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Flyboy’s First Misadventure (Flyboy’s Misadventures Book 1) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Flyboys First_1400Secrets? Oh yeah, Dean Wades has a doozy. When he goes up, he doesn’t necessarily come back down. Okay, that’s not true. Dean’s a master at falling, it’s the landing that could use improvement—a lot of improvement. After thirteen years of attempting to conquer this gravity defying mystery, he can no longer live with not knowing what he is anymore. So he heads cross-country to see the two people who just might be able to give him the answers he seeks…his folks.

Easygoing Gavin Trevor is always willing to help his family, even when they have ulterior motives…like forcing him to make up with his annoying older brother. When a simple task at his parent’s house puts him in a position of danger, he’ll need a lot more than luck to avoid a serious injury—he’ll need his very own superhero.

And the fates collide, well sort of. It may not be love at first sight—Gavin was unconscious in Dean’s arms for their initial introduction…but perhaps these two men can make it a relationship at first flight?

A threat against Gavin’s family throws a wrench in their plans, and while Dean gladly offers his amateur talent to help the mission, Gavin doesn’t want to put his rescuer’s life in jeopardy by risking exposure of the greatest secret ever.

This proves to be a rescue adventure for the books. Or is that a rescue misadventure?

Flyboy’s First Misadventure was a lovely read, a great addition to this new series. I found Havan’s writing easy and really great. I need to check out more by this author, because honestly this one was a winner.

Gavin is a tattoo artist apprentice, struggling to be accepted by his military family and always fighting with his brother. One day while helping his parents in some houseworks involving a ladder, he literally falls into Dean’s arms.

Dean is a cute superhero, he can fly (well not exactly fly, more like jump high in the air, flutter a little and then face-plant in the dirty ground!) and has an amazing best friend in Tia. They are on a trip to see Dean’s folks to come out of his hero closet and maybe learn more about his talent.

I saw the sparkles between my MCs from the start and it was a crescendo in the story, with a lot of funny moments, some sweet ones and an unexpected rescue mission, until I wasn’t sure anymore who was the real superhero. It’s a story that has a lot of potential and it needs a sequel or two. I’m so glad Havan has more to come. This was just the start.

If you’re looking for some light book, easy, fun and believable in its not real world, you have to give a chance to this one. I’m glad I did cause I enjoyed it a lot.

Flyboy’s First Misadventure is part of the Story Orgy Collection: Superhero. Four authors, Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Em Woods and Hank Edwards will show us some new heros to love. I can’t wait to read the next stories.

Cover art by Startled Monkeys Media. The cover caught my attention first, it’s colorful and funny. I soon liked it and wanted to know more about the story. Well done.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 107 pages
Published October 12th 2015 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ASINB015WXHX9U
edition languageEnglish

A Stella Review: Beignets (Coffee Cake #2) by Michaela Grey

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Beignets coverMalachi Warren barely survived a series of assaults on his life. But survive he did, though not without baggage. Now, Malachi must pick up the pieces of his shattered life—the most important piece being his boyfriend, Bran Kendrick, who is dealing with problems of his own.

Stagnating at his job at a small-town café, Bran’s pride keeps him from asking Malachi—or anyone—for help. Desperate to do something, Malachi secretly pays a celebrity chef with a bakery in New Orleans to take on Bran as his apprentice.

As Malachi and Bran begin to make a new life in New Orleans, the specter of Malachi’s PTSD and the growing stress over the secret he hides from Bran threaten their relationship. Before it’s too late, Malachi must confront his past and face his fears about the future, all without losing himself—and Bran—in the process.

I read Coffee Cake, the first book in this Michaela Grey series, on June and it was a lovely surprise. I didn’t know there was a planned sequel and I was over the moon as soon as I saw Beignets. Being a sequel it really doesn’t work as a standalone,  you have to read the first one to better understand Beignets.

Bran and Malachi are together from six month. After being almost killed, Malachi isn’t sleeping well lately, tormented by a lot of nightmares and he’s not even drawing anymore. He is overload with panic attacks.  Sure Bran will leave him and all his problems behind, Malachi doesn’t know he is the best thing ever happened to Bran. It hurt to watch him be so insecure of himself. Trust me, the love they share is pure, brave and sweet. But Malachi and Bran are young, scared and with some not so light baggage on their shoulders, they are trying to solve their problems together and it’s beautiful and cute see Bran fuss over Malachi as a mother hen but sad too see how they cling to each other, because of the codependency between them is scary sometimes. They both need someone else to lean on.

First let me tell you what I didn’t like. I found the story to be too heavy because there are a LOT of scenes where Malachi is struggling with his panic attacks. They are without a doubt real but maybe in a book it is too much. I simply think the author overdid a little with these scenes. Luckly they are balanced with other parts, light, funny and sweet and I appreciated very them. ‘Beignets’ is interesting as ‘Coffee Cake’, well written and hard to put down, because I loved Malachi and Bran but the second characters too. I enjoyed how the story developed, their move to New Orleans where Bran could join a baker apprenticeship and most of all where they would find their serenity again and  a new family to lean on. This is a book full of love, full of real life struggles and full of hope.

I want to add a little more detail that I noted and liked it. I’m usually not a fan of single point of view, but Michaela Grey did a great job in this series. She used only Bran PoV in Coffee Cake and only the Malachi one in Beignets and in both novels I didn’t get the feeling of missing something, they were complete and well done in let me know what was in each character’s mind, with clear words and actions.

And if you’re like me and don’t live with just the spiritual love but need the sweaty one too, keep calm, you’ll get it. I particularly liked how Bran’s asexuality was never once ignored or lessened but perfectly enclosed in Malachi needs.

That said, sweet Michaela, can you work on Tristan and Callan story? Please?

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. This series’ covers simply rock! I loved the first one, colors and style were perfect. Same love for this one too. It conveys so much sweetness, in every way.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe)  | Amazon|  Buy It  Here

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published October 9th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634766326
Edition Language English

Coffe Cake series

Coffee Cake #1
Beignets #2

A Stella Review: Rough Road (Lake Lovelace #2) by Vanessa North

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Rough Road coverEddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.

Rough Road was my first book by Vanessa North. It’s part of the Lake Lovelace series but if you haven’t read the first one yet, Double Up, don’t worry. It can be easily read as a standalone. Still I was so nicely surprised by Rough Road that I’m going to come back to the first one soon. I’m so curious about Ben and Davis story.

This book was really really good, there wasn’t one thing I didn’t like, on the contrary. I’m a huge fan of characters with an age gap between them and with some kink elements or light BDSM. So from the blurb Rough Road had the potential to be a winner and I wasn’t disappointed at all. the age gap was an important one but not so evident cause Wish (*swooning over him*) was more mature for his years, he was sure of himself and what he wanted or better who he wanted. I particularly liked the MCs, Eddie was hilarious, too many times over the top but that’s why I loved it so much. He and Wish hit it off from the first time they laid eyes on each other and I can guarantee the chemistry came out from the pages in waves. I rushed into their story cause I was engaged by the scenes and the dialogues.

Their relationship was hot and sweet and just what I was in the mood for. I think you can’t go wrong picking this book, it was wonderful, light and quick. It was well written and I enjoyed the little but important hitches the author put in front of the MCs, they gave depth and reality to a story that could have been too simple to be loved so much. I liked the author’s style, she was so good she was able to make me like a story written in the first person using the present tense. I usually have a hard time with these choice but not in this case, I honestly noticed it on the second chapter. I think she did great and I can’t wait to read more by her. Highly recommended!

Cover art by LC Chase. The cover is nothing special to me and that’s probably why it caught my attention but it fits the book.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing |  All Romance (ARe) | Smashwords | Amazon | Buy It Here

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 185 pages
Expected publication: September 28th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626492980
Edition Language English

Series Lake Lovelace
Double Up #1
Rough Road #2

 

A Stella Review: ACID by Wulf Francu Godgluck & S. van Rooyen

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RATING 4,5 stars out of 5
(4 stars for the story and 5 for the cover, too beautiful to ignore!)
ACID cover

Dear Author,
This is obviously a real tough guy – he likes his guns, booze and cigarettes. His new robo arms are pretty damn awesome, even if the story of how he lost his normal arms isn’t pretty and it took a long time to get used to the new ones. He’s a man of action, not words, and you’ll never hear him spout sappy declarations of endless love. The love of his life clearly needs to be just as tough to keep up with him.

Basically, I want a story with this tough guy and his equally tough love interest(s). Romance shouldn’t be the main focus of this story, I want a kick-ass plot with at least a bit of world building, please! Established couple or not, ménage or not and the genre is up to you. Kinky sex would be a huge plus, but only if you can work it into the plot. I’m fine with whatever ending works for the story, I don’t need a HEA. Every shade of consent is fine by me. Kink-wise I’m pretty much open to anything, even extreme stuff like med-kink and sounding.

Photo Description (see it here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17401437-acid-by-wulf-franc-godgluck-s-van-rooyen-8-31):

A man with bionic mechanical arms sits in a dusky room holding a cigarette between his robotic fingers. A shot glass with amber liquid in his right hand. Faded scars and wounds cover his collar bone and abdomen; he stares at nothing, obviously bored with the world he lives in.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

Story and Content Information:
Genre:science fiction, horror

Tags:revenge, slaves, dystopian, genetic mutations, dark, cliff-hanger

Content Warnings: cannibalism, premastication, rape, forced pregnancy and childbirth (only mentioned), gore, extreme violence and murder, no HEA/HFN, and swearing (It’s Wulf Francú Godgluck; what else did you expect?)

 

“So, let’s get some shit cleared and out of the way. There aren’t many rules… but these are mine.
The first rule of ACID City: Avoid. Do not get involved in other people’s shit. People will fuck you over, in any way they can. And enjoy it.
Two: Lie. Everyone lies. There has not been hard, honest truth in this world for God knows how long. Except for one…
Three: Fake it. No one is who they seem— not even ourselves. Your heart will fuck you over. Your feelings are a bunch of shit made up to make you believe you once were human… but there might as well not be any more humans left. The ones that are… just don’t have the humanity to give a shit.
I broke every one of my own rules.
And I hate him for it.”

Please read the warnings because they are there for a reason, ACID is not for everyone so if you are not comfortable with dark books, don’t even think about reading this one.

This is not a nice story, you can’t sympathize with any one character. It is really violent, not just in the death scenes, too many times it was very disgusting.

The book is set in the ACID city, a dark place with no natural light, lived in by criminals and the altered (a new species created in laboratories where human DNA is been mixed with animal ones), there are no laws to obey, just stronger (or sicker) men to follow.

The Dark Heart Cartel is run by Vex Noux, a cryo-ibernated man with mechanical arms who woke up seven hundred years after his death and his life was nowhere to be found. He was married with Johan and had a son, Danny, who was only four when Vex had to leave to join the war, where four months later he died on the battlefield. He’s not a nice guy so don’t let you be moved by his story. There is not one drop of good feelings in it.

There are a lot of characters in ACID, like the gungers,the city enemies and slave traders or Jozi whose parents had been killed when they couldn’t afford the rent anymore and now he’s looking for revenge. But you are going to meet more, all of them well defined. As in the world development, amazing and so well done. Nothing is said in a general way, every little detail is well explained. It’s a complex world and it could have been difficult to follow it but the authors did  clear work, so there was no confusion for me.

Some parts are really hard to take, too strong even if you are used to reading dark stories. I overlooked them because I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, even if I shouldn’t have been surprised since I know Wulf’s mind , this is a scary place, ACID did surprise me. It’s a book full of hate, betrayal, f***ed up beings and things. They gave me chills more than once and the authors went often where they shouldn’t have gone. And of course I can’t talk about the ending but be ready for a big cliffhanger, something I was expecting from the start of the second half of the book. I have no clue who got the idea, I don’t know S. van Rooyen but I know Wulf and I was sure he would have created something twisted and cruel like that ending.

I still can’t believe it I liked this really sick (please let me use the adjective) story, but I couldn’t put it down for a minute, it was addictive, no other word can describe what I felt. Just a suggestion, if you’ll decide to give ACID a chance: don’t read it while having dinner as I did. Bad mistake!

Cover art by Wulf Francu Godgluck. I LOVE this cover so much! The lines, the front, the colors, everything is perfect. 5+ stars!

SALE LINKS (free) Goodreads M/M Romance Group

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 78 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
Edition Language English

 

A Stella Review: To Love a Traitor by J.L. Merrow

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Wounds of the heart take the longest to heal.

To Love A Traitor coverWhen solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.

Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.

As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.

But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.

I don’t know if To Love A Traitor is the first historical story written by JL Merrow, but it was my first by the author. I’m  not a huge fan of historicals but I’m a huge JL’s fan, so I had to read it at all costs. I’m so happy I did cause this book was really good. I love the author’s style, I grew comfortable with it each new book I read and every time it’s a beautiful journey.

Contrary to expectations, one of the things I most enjoyed was just the historical part, it was detailed and really well done, in a couple of things informative to me and never boring. It made the story real and not shallow. With a plot that could be considered almost nothing special, the author was able to give it a meaningful depth, making the perfect choices in setting and development of characters. And the dialogues were so good, engaging and funny! I also liked the characters, almost all of them (not George parents, they disowned his own son cause he  was a conscientious objector), especially Matthew. He was sweet, loveable and so brave.

This was a slow burn story, nothing really happens between MCs until a little before the ending, nonetheless  I could feel the chemistry from the start, even in their friendship. And while I usually love my books to be hot and steamy almost from the start, I didn’t get this need in To Love a Traitor. It was light but at the same time very emotional, easy to read since it was so well written. I particularly enjoyed how the story solved at the end, it left me with a smile on the face. I needed a HEA and she gave it to me.

If you love historicals, especially the ones well researched, interesting and full of feelings, To Love a Traitor will be surely a winner. Highly recommended!

Cover Art by Kanaxa. I like it, of coure it’s beautiful and well done, but I prefer another style for historicals. To me the cover needs to fit the story and the first time I saw this one , I was sure I was going to read a contemporary book. It was misleading to me.

Sales Links:  Samhain PublishingAll Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 167 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
ASIN B00YX4QGV6
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Free Ride by J. L. Merrow

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Free Ride coverThere’s no such thing as a free ride. Aidan may be only twenty, but he’s already learned that the hard way. Hitch-hiking up from London to Glasgow to keep a promise to a man he’ll never see again, Aidan’s fully prepared to offer payment in kind for his lifts. He’s not expecting a good-looking older bloke to pick him up in a Mercedes — nor that he’ll find John such good company. After a few short hours together Aidan’s already starting to care what John thinks of him.

When slow traffic forces them to get a room for the night, Aidan’s not sure what to do. Putting out as a thank you to a stranger is one thing, but can he really go through with it with the first person he’s come to care for since he made that promise?

And what’s going to happen when they reach their destination?

Free Ride is a short (too short) story by JL Merrow, an author whose style and writing I love very much. I was a little dubious about it, because being just 18 pages, I was really afraid it would be impossible to deliver something believable and complete. I have to stop to worrying about things when it comes to JL! These few pages show the start of a possible relationship between Aidan and John, in a sweet way and with the use of a humorous british language so typical of the author. I know, there are just brief moments  between them, but even if the aim was to just let us know how they met, it was so accomplished. I’m always not satisfied by stories like Free Ride, I think it’s pretty normal to have not enough of a couple if you have loved the few (filling) crumbs you read. I can honestly say it felt right just like that. And moreover I could feel the characters and the chemistry between them. Of course then I went on the author’s website and found out there is a micro sequel to this short story, called On The Beach (you can find it here http://jlmerrow.com/free-reads/on-the-beach/) and I was super happy! I devoured it in a flash.

I want to highly recommend Free Ride. If you already have read something by JL Merrow you know how good she is so it’s a guarantee. If you’re looking for a quick story, full of hope in the future, with an emotional undertone,  this one will be perfect for you.

Cover art by Written Ink Designs. I know, this model is been used a lot on covers lately, so it’s not so original. It’s a shame because it fits the story and it’s a good one.

Sales Links:  JMS Books | Smashwords | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published July 19th 2015 by JMS Books LLC
Kindle Edition, 18 pages
ASIN B01091D51K
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Bitter Taffy (Candy Man, #2) by Amy Lane

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

Bitter Taffy coverRico Gonzalves-Macias didn’t expect to fall in love during his internship in New York—and he didn’t expect the boss’s son to out them both and get him fired either. When he returns to Sacramento stunned and heartbroken, he finds his cousin, Adam, and Adam’s boyfriend, Finn, haven’t just been house-sitting—they’ve made his once sterile apartment into a home.

When Adam gets him a job interview with the adorable, magnetic, practically perfect Derek Huston, Rico feels especially out of his depth. Derek makes it no secret that he wants Rico, but Rico is just starting to figure out that he’s a beginner at the really important stuff and doesn’t want to jump into anything with both feet.

Derek is a both-feet kind of guy. But he’s also made mistakes of his own and doesn’t want to pressure Rico into anything. Together they work to find a compromise between instant attraction and long-lasting love, and while they’re working, Rico gets a primer in why family isn’t always a bad idea. He needs to believe Derek can be his family before Derek’s formidable patience runs out—because even a practically perfect boyfriend is capable of being hurt.

Bitter Taffy is the second book in the Candy Man series by Amy Lane. I loved the first one and this was no exception. Amy Lane has a way with words that are unmistakable. Even if I’m her huge fan I haven’t read some of her more famous series, cause she scares me with the emotional things she can write. So I picked Candy Man because the cover suggested some fun and sweetness and I wasn’t wrong. Bitter Taffy was a great reconfirmation. You know how I always say I’m a sucker for sweet stories? Well since this series in some parts is set around a candy shop with a strange owner, it was really for me.

You know you can’t go wrong with any af Miss Lane books but what I loved in this one was specifically the relationship between the MCs. It could have been the usual insta love/lust story, but nope. It was slow (the right slow, not the boring one) and perfect and real and daily like our relationships. The chemistry was still there, but it was right and patient. Something like only Amy Lane can create.

What I appreciated moreover was the huge part that Adam and Finn have in this story too. Since I fell in love with their story, I was so happy to meet then again. They both grew up a lot in the little time left them, especially Finn, who will be my fave characters in this series regardless you will be come later.

I liked the sense of family between Adam and Rico, supporting no matter they both come from a unbelievable homophobic family. And the little redemption at the end was deserved, finally!

Talking about the ending I can’t wait for the next one to come out (hoping really soon) and to live with Ezra another fluffy and cute book.

I want to highly recommended Bitter Taffy and the whole Candy Man series. Really well done!

Cover art by Paul Richmond. Of course it’s Paul’s. You can see him in every little detail. I so love all the colors he used in this cover and the one of Candy Man too. Perfect!!

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 192 pages, also in paperback
Published July 29th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781634762885
Edition Language English

Candy Man series
Candy Man #1
Bitter Taffy #2

 

A Stella Review: ACE by Jack Byrne

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

ACE coverJake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.

ACE was my first novel by Jack Byrne, non considering the story done for the A Taste of Honey anthology (still waiting for the sequel BTW!). I know he usually writes historicals and in fact his Bushrangers series is next on my reading. I picked up ACE because I was really curious about the asexual aspect, as last month I read another book on the same subject and really liked it.

I read ACE and soon loved it. It’s well written but most of all it’s real, emotional, sensitive and sexy too. I was caught up in Damien and Jake’s story from the start. The characters were well defined. Especially Damien, so sure of himself, he is sexy and wants Jake no matter the cost. He seems so strong but he hides a deep insecurity due to his young years spent on the streets taking care of himself and the person who become his daughter, Diane.

The story was unusual to me, starting just with the relationship between Diane and Damien, never met a 29 years old father of an (adopted) 24 years old. It was interesting  look at their dynamics. Moreover, the relationship between Damien and Jake was strange too and I’m not talking about the asexual aspect. It was strange but absolutely believable because it felt real and possible. All the struggles,  emotionally and physically, of two people so different from each other, still so needy and full of love to give. Two aspects, the physical and the emotional one, so fused together, seeing Damien so frustrated to not be able to be completely himself with Jake and use the sex as the only way to show his feelings, the only one he knows about. And it’s exactly when that way is barred that I found the realism in the story.

And where some people had some misunderstanding with the blurb, I can say that I didn’t find this strong feeling Damien has in wanting Jake as a constriction or a duty, just as something normal and real. I know, I’m saying the world real a lot, sorry.

Now about the asexual aspect, I could have a lot to say but I’ll keep it brief. I read the book when I still knew nothing about ace people, I wanted to see how the author dealt with it. The word “asexual” was at no time mentioned by the two MCs. The story is a discovery journey, one Jake is still working on. It’s a complex and well done story and later, when I went looking for more clarifications about a couple of things that seemed to be “unclear”, I discovered the author makes his stories this way.

I was pleasurably surprised by ACE and I’m going to read more by this author soon. I want to highly recommend it.

Cover art by Christy Caughie. The cover is clean and fits the story perfectly. I like it.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781623801670
Edition Language English