Stella Review: Holiday Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

It’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? On Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended and find out: Who Killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, young Vasily falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day?

I read the previous collection in the Tales from Fairyland series by Joe Cosentino called The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and liked it so I obviously decided to give Holiday Tales from Fairyland a chance. I can tell you it was a lovely reading.

The three short stories in the book are quick, sweet and cute. They were a lovely surprise, I enjoyed all of them, with their magical atmosphere. Nothing was like our traditional fairy tales, every character was gay or lesbian, nothing was pure and candid, but promiscuous and cheeky. All of them were full of attitude, strong and brave.

The first short about Ichabod and Brom, Halloween in Fairyland, was my favourite, simply because the main couple was adorable, the way they took care of each other, how they fell in love, one consciously, the other still oblivious about his true feelings. 

The second story, Christmas in Fairyland (Who Killed Clara?), was instead more complete, with a mysterious little plot to follow and that’s way it caught my interest, I was so curious to discover who was the killer.

The last short, Winter Solstice in Fairyland, caught my heart, it made me sad because it treated very important themes, like the abuses made by priests or depression. But no fear, the happy ever ending and the sweetness were guaranteed.

The cover art is so cute, I adore it!

Sales Links:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 114 pages

Published October 1st 2018

ASIN B07G4MKMHK

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Butterfly Hunter (Butterfly Hunter #1) by Julie Bozza

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…

I read the previous edition of this title in the 2015 and I gave it three stars. I’m not sure how much this just released second edition of Butterfly Hunter is different, from what I understood the author made just minor editing. That said, I’m surprised to say I quite enjoyed the novel and I upgraded my rating at four stars and a half. It totally deserved them.

I was very happy to meet Nicholas and Dave again, I remembered their story and the particularity of the plot caught my attention at the time. Yes, the plot is curious, I never heard or read a story like this one, but what perfectly worked here was the writing. It was so easily for me to be lost in the Outback with these men, to discover new butterflies, to fall in love. Every scene was so well depicted, I missed nothing, every new detail was mine to be seen. Moreover, I’m not sure how to describe it, I felt the magic, the sounds of the the words, a positive and luminous melody that lighted my spirit. I was gone.

And I was conquered by the characters too. Both Nicholas and Dave were so good in their souls, there wasn’t a single hitch that can’t be overcome, their actions and thoughts flew easily. Even the fact that Dave has never been attracted to another man, and then he finds in the englishman the love of his life, it was not an issue (as it should be). The new attraction was considered and processed, not a little drama done. And you could think it’s not real, but you would be so wrong. In the extraordinary on the plot, the story sounded to me real, simple and sweet and powerful.

I think it’s pretty clear I loved Butterfly Hunter a lot and it’s all Julie Bozza fault.

The cover art by Gayna Murphy of Mubu Design is lovely, I like the colours and the style. Cute.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, second edition

Published September 15th 2018 by LIBRAtiger (first published August 1st 2012)

ASIN B07GZ3GPJR

Edition Language English

Butterfly Hunter series #1

A Stella Review: Calling Calling Calling Me by Natasha Washington

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Patrick Mahoney has one goal in mind: get out of his native Fresno and find freedom in the rainbow and glitter-painted streets of San Francisco. As a college freshman, he’s sure he’ll finally have the chance to be himself, away from the judgmental eyes of his conservative hometown.

Josh Dirda’s never wanted to be tied down before, preferring the emotional ease of the one night stand. But when Patrick moves into the apartment that Josh shares with three friends, Josh is pulled in by Patrick’s sly wit and quietly creative spirit. As Patrick’s self-appointed tour guide, Josh can be Patrick’s introduction to the city he loves. But after a drunken Halloween hook-up crosses lines, Patrick and Josh must reckon with their true feelings—and decide whether they can let go of the ghosts from their pasts that haunt them.

I adore discovering new authors, especially when they deliver lovely stories like Natasha did with Calling Calling Calling Me. It was a surprise how much Patrick and Josh relationship engaged me. Although lately I had little free time to devote to my reading and it took me a long time to finish the novel, I found myself sucked into the MCs’ lives. And one more reason why I was surprised by how much I liked it, I am not a great fan of new adult love, I prefer my men to be more mature and I tend to avoid characters under 25. That said when a blurb is interesting I can’t say no.

Maybe this is one of the rare times I actually loved both MCs, I don’t have a preference like always happens. Both Patrick and Josh were great, the author made an amazing job at defining them. I saw them with their friends, with their families, and I learnt how good they were. Their mums, Josh’s brother, so full of love and supportive. I liked all the interactions between them, I like the banters, the quarrels. These people made the story more complete and real, I truly felt them act like my own family does.

And then there was the love story. Sure, Patrick and Josh found each other attractive from the first time they met, but this is not the usual lust/love at first time. They took their time to know what they want, from their futures and from this relationship, new not just to Patrick but to the experienced Josh too, finally ready to fall in love and stop jumping in bed with everyone. I loved how everything in their lives was different, nonethless Patrick and Josh were so tuned in together. I followed them through the first months of their love, and it was beautiful.

At last, I want to add the book was really well done, well written and engaging, the reading flew easily and I will definetely keep my eyes open for more releases from this new author. I won’t miss them.

The cover caught my attention from the start, it’s clean and fitting and I like all that blue of the sky.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 307 pages

Published September 4th 2018

ASIN B07FYNX84Z

Edition Language English

A Stella Release Day Review: No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Wyatt Findley is an up-and-coming artist, attending a prestigious art institute in St. Louis. His mentor, Lukas Callahan, has snagged a sweet house-sitting job for him in a gorgeous home in a well-to-do part of town. Wyatt can’t help but notice two men who live just across the street.

They make an odd couple, since there must be a good twenty years difference between them. And yet there is something about the younger man that calls to Wyatt.

Shylor Lind has been living with Randy Grant for fifteen years, ever since Grant hired Shy’s mother as his live-in housekeeper. But five years ago, their relationship changed when Shy’s mother sold him to Grant and took the money and ran. Since then, Randy has been training Shy to be his submissive, dominating him in every way. There is nothing Shy can do about the situation, and he has nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

And then Wyatt enters his life… and nothing will ever be the same, as Wyatt engages in a battle for Shy’s very soul.

No Way Out was not an easy book to read for me, it deals with some very sensible themes, not all readers can feel comfortable with them. So my advice is to read the blurb carefully, check the tags and when you have all the info, decide to give it a chance or not. Personally I picked the story because I loved the author when she wrote the Crescent Bay Chronicles Series and other titles too.

Although hard to read, I deeply enjoyed the novel, I found it well done and developed. I have to say I particularly liked the character of Wyatt, always so caring and mindful with Shy. Sure, he had no idea how to approach and relate with someone so clueless about everything that happens in the world like Shy, someone who had known nothing outside of his role as slave.

While I adored Wyatt, I had huge doubts on Shy and his personality. A couple of times i have to admit I was scared the author was going to make a huge mess. Because, let’s be honest, she chose to write about a complicated matter, I don’t think it was easy to define and give a life to a character so abused. I was really afraid I wasn’t able to feel him, instead his subtle strength flourished with the help of a gentle man.

At the end, with No Way Out I got a lovely story, sweet and simple yes, but so full of life and hope, so much hope. And now I am very curious to know what it will be of Shy, to see him one more time in the real life he missed for so many years.

The cover art by Christine Coffee is beautiful, it depicts the novel perfectly, all the colours, the lights and the darks, well balanced exactly how well balanced in the plot where all the scenes. I love it.

SALE LINKS  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit https://www.nokidhungry.org/

ebook, 200 pages

Publication Date: August 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781640804982

Edition Language English

In the Spotlight: Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell (giveaway)

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Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Release Date:  March 19, 2018

Purchase Link:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

 

Hi, I’m Barbara Bell, romance author extraordinaire, and welcome to the blog tour for my debut novella Cutie Pies! Over the next week I will be travelling the internet sharing some thoughts on my book. Follow along and join the discussion!

 

About Cutie Pies

 

Joey works at Cutie Pies, the smallest adult store in Sydney. After his parents kicked him out years ago, the haphazard shop became his home away from home and is the only place where he can embrace his queer, quirky, and—okay—sometimes a little awkward self.

 

When Mick, a new-to-town customer, walks in asking for a dildo, Joey thinks it’s all a part of the day’s work. Except Mick’s large dark eyes, shy smile, and kissable lips—along with the ten-inch dildo he bought—quickly win him a starring role in Joey’s nightly fantasies.

 

Joey can’t stop thinking about him, and Mick’s continued visits to the store make him even harder to forget. Mick is shy and sweet, but also secretive and uncertain. As the two grow closer together, Joey starts to wonder what Mick really wants from him, and whether he can risk falling in love with someone who might not be free to love him back.

 

About Barbara Bell

 

Barbara Bell grew up on a sheep farm in rural Australia, moved to Brisbane when she was nineteen to study film, and now lives in Sydney with an ever changing cast of housemates and a colony of bees.

 

She is an avid traveller, a proud geek, and loves telling stories about human relationships and how strange and silly (but also beautiful) they can be. She began writing when she was eleven years old and believes it’s probably too late to break the habit now.

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Cutie Pies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 24, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries

A Stella Review: Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell

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RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Joey works at Cutie Pies, the smallest adult store in Sydney. After his parents kicked him out years ago, the haphazard shop became his home away from home and is the only place where he can embrace his queer, quirky, and—okay—sometimes a little awkward self.

When Mick, a new-to-town customer, walks in asking for a dildo, Joey thinks it’s all a part of the day’s work. Except Mick’s large dark eyes, shy smile, and kissable lips—along with the ten-inch dildo he bought—quickly win him a starring role in Joey’s nightly fantasies.

Joey can’t stop thinking about him, and Mick’s continued visits to the store make him even harder to forget. Mick is shy and sweet, but also secretive and uncertain. As the two grow closer together, Joey starts to wonder what Mick really wants from him, and whether he can risk falling in love with someone who might not be free to love him back.

Cutie Pies is the first book I read by this author, I was curious as soon as I saw the cover and the title, too cute to pass on. This story was very lovely, easy and quick, especially well written. Sure, there is nothing too deep or developed in the plot, just two guys, Joey and Mick,  that met in the sexy shop where Joey was working and liked each other. So they decided to see if more could begin between them. I liked how cute (absolutely the key word!) the characters were, how they were shy and scared sometimes. And then I loved the epilogue, it gave me a glimpse of what happened after their HEA. But it’s not just this, there were important second characters, which I so hope will get their own story, and some basic background on the MCs that showed how a good job the author did with this release.

Although I liked the story a lot and it was exactly what I was looking for in that moment, I gave it a little lower rating, because in my opinion having only Joey’s POV wasn’t enough, I missed knowing what was going on in Mick’s mind. I think with a book not so long like this one, the double POV works better and gives a completeness I didn’t find here. Still I will definitely keep my eyes open for the author’s upcoming releases.

If you’re looking for a light story, give Cutie Pies a chance, truly adorable.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is perfect, in the style and in the colors. I love it.

SALE LINKS:   Riptide Publishing | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 116 pages

Published March 19th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 17th 2018)

ISBN 162649746X (ISBN13: 9781626497467)

Edition Language English

A Stella Review :New Heights by Quinn Anderson

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

After attending a friend’s wedding in New York, James Thompson is eager to go home, even though no one will be waiting for him at the gate. He has no expectations for his trip back to Charleston other than long lines, security, and bad airplane food. But when an annoying—albeit hot—stranger cuts him in line, James is determined not to be a pushover for once.

For Mika “It’s Mee-kuh, not Micah” Bailey, today’s just another day of boring work travel. That is, until his flight gets delayed, and some irritating (but handsome) guy keeps hogging all the good power outlets. Which means war. In the middle of an airport. In New York. What could go wrong?

Eventually, they declare a truce, and as they get to know each other, their attraction overwhelms them both. Terrified of what he’s feeling, Mika suggests a no-strings hookup, but serial-monogamist James wants more. If they don’t fight for what’s right in front of them, their romance might be canceled before it ever takes off.

New Heights is the first book I read by this new to me author Quinn Anderson and I have to say it was a pleasurable surprise. I soon found myself caught up into the MCs lives and I quickly finished the story. A lovely novella based on the enemies to lovers trope, which I adore. I like to read characters banter and provoke each other reactions with silly annoyances and then try to be kind with little cares.

That’s exactly what happened in New Heights between James and Mika. Both stuck at the NY airport waiting for their delayed (too many times) plane and both on the way home, Charleston. While James is pretty much a good boy, available and respectful, maybe too much, even if too many times people takes advantage of his goodness, Mika is irreverent and provocative, with a smart mouth always wanting the last word. He seems so shallow, in life as in relationships, but James is able to get him tongue tied.

They are so different it should be impossible to find common points but after the pranks they created, something special seemed to be there too. The chemistry is so strong that it’s hard to resist to some time alone in the airport bathroom. They clicked so well together, they were adorable.

I quite enjoyed this new release, the writing was very good, with a double POV that made everything clear, I found interesting how almost the whole book (except the epilogue) takes place in just the few hours the MCs spent at the airport between outlet wars and bathroom sex.  I actually thought I would gotten an HFN ending, instead the author gave me a sweet epilogue with a certain HEA. I will surely read more about Quinn Anderson.

The cover art by LC Chase is super cute, I adored it since I saw it the first time, it’s the reason why I later decided to read the blurb and give the title a chance.

SALE LINKS    RIPTIDE  |   Amazon links to come

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 140 pages

Expected publication: March 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN13 9781626497450

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Bite Me (Kitchen Gods #1) by Beth Bolden

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

Talented pastry chef Miles Costa is bored. Working at the celebrated Napa Valley restaurant Terroir is supposed to be the cherry on top to a promising career, but instead it’s a creative desert. So when he gets an offer to turn his online video series into a career, he leaves his three best friends in Napa and swaps Terroir for Los Angeles.

With the resources now at his fingertips, turning his pastry series into a hit should be easy. Then Miles meets his producer, Evan Patterson, and realizes he’s screwed. And not even in the good way.

It’s not a meet-cute . . .

Evan lives to work and loves every minute detail Miles loathes. Not only that, he seems hell bent on micromanaging every aspect of Miles’ show despite the fact he knows nothing about the culinary arts. Evan doesn’t even like sweets—until Miles seduces him with a rainbow of delectable confections he can’t resist.

. . . it’s a collision.

With every confrontation, the intensity between them flares even hotter until they’re not sure if it’s hatred they feel . . .or something else. Is it possible for two people with nothing in common to discover common ground and romance?

Bite Me is the first installment in a new series by Beth Bolden, called Kitchen Gods developed around the lives of four great chefs friends. Being a huge fan of food and cooking in general, I was interested in this novel as soon as I read the blurb. Plus I’m always looking for new authors to discover. Sometimes like this case these authors can deliver good books.

I was pleasurable surprise, it was a joy to read Bite Me. The writing was very well done and even thought the novel is long and I actually prefer shorter books, the reading flew quickly, thanks to the amazing work the author did with the dialogues and the numerous banters Miles and Evan were engaged in. I admit I often laughed at them, they were hilarious in persisting to resist the chemistry that burst each time they were together. I so cheered on them to forget everything else and just act on their feelings. Then, the double POV was perfect to let me know the MCs’ minds, I felt the attraction between them clearly, it was impossible to miss how much they found each other hot. Hard to miss how much stubborn they were too.

There are reasons why I didn’t gave the story a higher rating (and it surely deserves a higer rating because it’s really well done and engaging), at the beginning it took me some time to connect with Miles and Evan, I wasn’t sure I was going to like them, later I actually wanted to know more about their lives and  at the end I would have preferred to have more scenes of them after they overcame their animosity and not just a little epilogue. But it’s just me being nitpicky. In fact, I hope to be able to read each chef’s HEA soon, I really can’t wait, especially for Xander to meet the love of his life.

The cover art by AngstG is lovely, I’m a fan of this artist, she’s so good.

Sales Links:

AMAZON US 

AMAZON UK 

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 357 pages

Published February 10th 2018 by Beth Bolden Books (first published February 3rd 2018)

ASIN B079R64DMB

Edition Language English

Series Kitchen Gods #1

A Stella Advent Release Day Review: Eugene and the Box of Nails by Jaime Samms

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar collection Stocking Stuffers.

Every time it seems like things are looking up for Eugene Kraft, disaster hits. Bankruptcy, a bigoted sibling, and a back-breaking accident have all left him with little money and less faith in the universe.

His last-ditch effort at peace is the small lakeside property where he is building a tiny house from recycled materials. If he can get it livable before the cold sets in, maybe he’ll be okay. Hopefully Cullen, the foreman on the construction site next door, won’t notice Eugene pilfering discarded materials from his dumpster.

When Cullen stops by to talk to Eugene, he’s sure the gig is up—but all Cullen wants is a date. Can two things go right in Eugene’s life? At first it seems possible. Projects on Eugene’s house are getting completed by what he dubs “construction elves” while he’s off site. But like Eugene predicted, his good fortune can’t last, and soon he has a tough choice to make: give up his home… or the man of his dreams.

This short story in the DSP Advent Calendar was a joy to read. I already read something else by Jaime Samms so I jumped at the chance of reviewing this new title. It was a lovely surprise and very sweet, just how I wanted it to be. I found the blurb interesting and I adored how the author deliver the romance. Well done!

I particularly liked how the relationship between Cullen and Eugene developed, how the first strongly tried to show Eugene how good they could be together, how he supported him in his choices. I felt pretty satisfied from what I knew about the MCs and it warmed my heart to see they get their HEA.

I want to recommend it, this well written short will definelly put you in the Christmas spirit and in a good mood.

The cover art by L.C. Chase fits the story, I like it.

SALE LINKS DREAMSPINNER PRESSAMAZON 

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 58 pages

Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781640803169

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Yours For The Holiday by DJ Jamison

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Fresh off a break-up, Remy is in no mood to share a room with his brother’s best friend during a holiday stay at home. Jason Hendricks has always treated him like a little brother to tease and taunt, all the more embarrassing because Remy has secretly crushed on the jerk since puberty. But when Jason confides he’s bisexual, Remy realizes the crush he loves to hate could be the perfect rebound.

Jason has always found Remy appealing. He didn’t handle his attraction well when he was younger, but now Remy’s a grown man and Jason’s no longer afraid of his feelings. Some playful flirtation sounds like a great way to spend Thanksgiving break, but he’s not prepared for Remy’s newfound sex appeal or his decision to make Jason his rebound fling. Jason doesn’t want to risk fallout with a family that’s always been there for him, but he’s not sure he can resist.

When the two part ways, they don’t plan to stay in touch, but soon they’re texting, trading sexy pictures and helping each other cope with family drama. Remy agrees to be his for the holiday, continuing their secret fling over Christmas, but Jason knows that won’t be enough. He’ll have to find the courage to be open and honest with his best friend — and the whole Wells family — if he wants a chance at love in the new year.

Yours For The Holiday was a huge success to me, yes I love holiday stories, but what I love more is the “enemies to lovers” trope, especially when it’s so well done like this one. IMO the author delivered a lovely and real book. I ended up truly enjoying it.

The novel was well written and engaging, I love how the writing was focused on the MCs approaching lovers and not more as enemies, even if sparks still flew between them, it was another kind of spark.

I particularly liked how Jason, once he realized something more could finally happen with Remy, started to wooing him until he knew Remy was his. He never lost the hope and the intention. And then the second characters, family and friends, played an important role in the story, supporting the MCs and helped the plot to be more realistic.

The author did great with this new release cause I felt the characters, I heard their feelings always and laughed with them a lot. I have to say I was sad when it ended, perfect ending but I wanted them to be with me a little more. Highly recommended.

The cover art is simple, I like it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 168 pages

Published November 20th 2017

ASIN B077GNH1B4

Edition Language English