A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: With A Kick Collection #1 by Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This collection includes Clare London’s first two London-based novellas of the With A Kick series—A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these books—Nice and Snow and Smack Happy.

With a Kick is a new ice cream shop, featuring ice cream for adults, i.e., ice cream made with liquor in a variety of flavors, one of which is named for the shop’s accountant, Bryan, and his new boyfriend, Phiz—Slap and Tickle. Patrick and Lee are the struggling owners who hope to be successful in the little shop located in the heart of London.

Each story is a self-contained romance, but Patrick and Lee are featured in each story that shows the progress of both their relationship and the business.

A Twist and Two Balls— Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego, Eddy March, hasn’t got further than a bit part in a TV series. One day, when he’s late for an audition, he can’t pay his taxi fare, so he runs off and is chased by the irate driver, Nuri.

This is a sweet romance that starts off with antagonism and moves to love between an awkward, self-proclaimed actor and a cab driver, who has a secret profession. I enjoyed the pace of this story and both characters were terrific. Eddie is hysterically funny as he discovers he doesn’t have enough money to pay Nuri. Nuri, on the other hand, comes off as gruff at first, but it turns out he’s got a sweet marshmallow center.

The two have their ups and downs as does Eddie with his career, but in the long run, it’s family that’s important, and family who help both of them, and the two men get to do what they love best and stay with the person they love best—each other.

Slap and Tickle— This short starts right off with a great scene between Brian, the staid accountant for With a Kick, and Phiz, whose name should have been Spaz. Phiz is a fast-talking, can’t-control-his-mouth klutz, who can’t hold a job because of said klutziness. He also suffers from social anxiety, yet he keeps choosing jobs that require socialization. Joel Leslie kicked it out of the ball park with the voice he gives Phiz. Good heavens, it was perfect! I was hooked immediately, so I was along for the ride as he and Brian got to know each other and began to share their most intimate desires.

This story has a mild BDSM theme and when Brian’s dominant side comes out, Phiz calms and quiets as he finally met a man who can give him what he needs.

Nice and Snow is the first short story—which is actually quite long—and features Nuri and Eddie during their first Christmas season. Nuri is now brushing up on law studies so he can pass the bar exam, and Eddie is working as an actor in a comedy show. Right up his alley, his natural sense of humor has made him very popular.

The story centers on their individual memories of holiday seasons and their plans for this first one. Of course, Nuri’s family wants them to share with them, but Eddie insists they start their own memories because his memories of Santa, Saint Nick, Baba Noel, or whatever name is used are not good ones.

A surprise cab fare and a short ride across town brings both men their Christmas wishes come true. It also leaves them realizing they may have to rethink their beliefs in the jolly old elf. A great story, it provides a nice closure to Nuri and Eddie’s story.

Smack Happy

A delightful short, short story about my favorite character, Phiz, and his Dom, Brian. Phiz is patiently—or impatiently—waiting for Brian to finish his work so he can give Brian a Valentine’s Day gift. Brian finally gives up trying to get anything done when Phiz’s antsy movements and constant interruptions make it clear Bryan had better pay attention to his boy. When Phiz presents him with his gift, the two try it out and find that a good smack on the rear was exactly what Phiz needed to make him happy and peaceful. Add in a taste of Slap and Tickle, the ice cream treat the guys at With a Kick created in their honor, and it’s a perfect Valentine’s Day for these sweethearts. Very cute and a perfect ending for this very nice audio.

Joel Leslie was, as usual, outstanding, and the stories were intriguing and fun. This audiobook sped by and I’m looking forward to the next edition in the series that should be released soon.

Highly recommended.

The cover features a handsome young man and there’s a sweet treat obviously created at the With a Kick ice cream shop in the bottom right corner.

Buy Links and Listen to a sample here

Audible US

Audible UK 

Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Jocular Press
Audible.com Release Date: June 20, 2018
Language: English
ASIN: B07DVRZ7SY

AUDIOBOOK TOUR – WITH A KICK Collection #1 by CLARE LONDON

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR 

Book Title: WITH A KICK Collection #1

Author: CLARE LONDON

Publisher: JOCULAR PRESS (self published)

Narrator: JOEL LESLIE

Cover Artist: LOU HARPER

Genre/s: MM Contemporary Romance

Length:  8 hours and 40 mins (75,000 words/170 pages)

Release Date June 20, 2018

The first 2 standalone romances in a series set around the same alcoholic ice cream shop.

Add on Goodreads 

Blurb

This collection includes Clare London’s first two charming London-based novellas of the With A Kick series – A Twist and Two Balls, and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these books. 

WITH A KICK

A new and enticing ice cream franchise, with a unique blend of full flavour, mischief and romance. Patrick and Lee are struggling to make a success of their alcoholic ice cream shop in the centre of tourist London. At the same time, their business partnership may take a turn towards the personal – if either of them can find the time and nerve to go for it! Meanwhile, they cater to the wild and wonderful range of customers in the area, many of whom have their own romantic agenda. Will ice cream be the final ingredient they’re all looking for? 

Each story is a self-contained romance, but will follow the history of the shop throughout. 

A TWIST AND TWO BALLS

Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego Eddy March hasn’t got further than a bit part in a TV series. One ghastly day, he’s late for an audition, can’t pay his taxi fare, and is chased across Soho by the irate driver, Nuri. But maybe being caught by Nuri is exactly what Eddy needs. 

SLAP AND TICKLE

Bryan is an accountant who admires order and self-discipline. When he literally bumps into Phiz outside With A Kick, Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need. Bryan needs a lover who welcomes his secret desire, and Phiz needs a firm hand–in every way. They both agree that Bryan may be just the man to provide it. 

Buy Links and Listen to a sample here

Audible US

Audible UK 

Amazon  

About the Author

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter-three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fueled family home.

Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her on all her social media.

Social Media Links

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Blog/Website

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Twitter

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Release Day Review: The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament by Clare London

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

What happens when the flamboyant (and alliterative) Frankie Faraday finally finds his boss in the storeroom at the end of annual inventory?  Not much until both men freak out when the lights go out and the door accidentally locks behind them, leaving them alone in the building because Bill, the boss, had told the others they could leave. 

Frankie is ever resourceful, however, and fearing starvation twenty minutes or so into the forced captivity, he breaks out the chocolate Santas and starts eating.  It isn’t until he finds the excess Peppermint schnapps, however, that his mind and his mouth really act independently and he babbles his life story.  But Bill Mason, son of the owner, and manager of the store, finds Frankie cute, adorable, and remarkably funny and intelligent.  Frankie’s stories aren’t his usual airheaded tales, although he does tend to talk with his hands.  He’s quite insightful and pulls Bill into a conversation about what he’d really like to do with his life.  He then offers suggestions for improvement of the store and for how Bill can incorporate his love of floral design.

The next few hours before rescue go by rather quickly, but the time isn’t wasted as Frankie and Bill finally act on their attraction and find more to do in the storeroom than just simple inventory. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this short thirty-nine-page story.   Infused with humor and laugh-out-loud moments, I knew immediately I’d want to share this with others who enjoy a good holiday laugh.  Though there are serious moments, overall this is simply an enjoyable light-hearted MM holiday romance.  Those who enjoy a quick pick-me-up will definitely like this one. 

Cover art by Paul Richmond is the 2017 Stocking Stuffer Cover for most of the stories, full of humor and romance.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon 

Book Details:

ebook, 39 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802902
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffer

An Alisa Review: Dish of the Day by Clare London

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Three men together. Diverse tastes … one common love.

 

Richie Morton’s sunk all his hopes and savings into a new restaurant in South London promoting British ingredients and recipes. Yet on opening night, it all seems to be heading for disaster. Lost ingredients, manic chefs, no sign of the customers … he’s in despair. And where are his best friends Craig and Ben, who’ve been helping him set up the new venture? The least they could offer is moral support.

 

When they do eventually step in, though, they offer support of a very different kind. They tell Richie some home truths — that he pushes himself too much, and must learn to share and trust his life with others. With them, specifically. And then, when Richie’s still unconvinced, they decide to let actions speak for their love instead. They’ll help him relax and dish up a caring, sexy, and far more intimate menu.

 

This was an interesting way to have an intervention.  Richie has pushed away almost all of his friends’ offers to help him.  They have both had enough of Richie trying to keep them at arm’s length and have an interesting way of showing him.

 

Richie is so absolutely confused by his friends’ antics when they finally show up on what he believes is opening night.  I loved that Ben and Craig care about Richie enough to do something drastic to prove it.  I could feel Richie’s confusion about what was going on but how great it was once he started to understand what was going on.  Their years of friendship have given them a pretty solid base to build on.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and gives a great visual of Richie’s intervention.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 55 pages

Published: September 16, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864381

Edition Language: English

A Karen Review: Between a Rock and a Hard Place (London Lads #5) by Clare London

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is the fifth and final book in the London Lads series.  As with the others, it is a quick, short read, with a lot of humor, little angst, and a sweet – if predictable – happy ever after.

The timeline of this story was quite different: the entire thing takes place in a period of about 12 hours, while Garry is waiting in Glasgow airport to meet up with Will, who doesn’t show up until the very end of the book.  He has to endure the agony of uncomfortable chairs, overpriced airport food, incessant noise, and stressed out, rude travelers.  Most of the humor is about being stuck in an airport, a feeling that most of us can definitely sympathize with!

Garry and Will have been best friends for years, and though both men are gay, they haven’t ever dated.  They spend all their time with each other, to the point that their office mates assume they are a couple.  When Will is put up for promotion, Garry is thrilled for him, until he finds out the new job will be in New York.  Will has been in New York for several weeks, and is flying back to Glasgow to meet Garry for their traditional holiday with their university friends, and Garry is anxiously waiting for him at the airport, trying to figure out what he really feels for Will, and what he’s going to do about it.

Despite trying to mind his own business, Garry wakes from an uncomfortable nap to find 7 year old Emily and her older brother Max have decided to adopt him.  Garry doesn’t do kids, but they stick to him like burrs and he can’t shake them off.  For hours.  The kids almost seem like a figment of his imagination, or a bad dream, because they are shockingly intuitive at times, and as irritating as the rest of the airport at others.  They end up drawing him out of himself, and he talks about Will, and by the end of the long wait, he has finally managed to not only clarify how he feels about Will – he loves him and is in love with him – but has decided that he needs to man up and act on the feeling.  So all is prepared for a wonderful reunion when Will finally arrives.

I have enjoyed the stories, but I still think they would be much better combined into a single book, instead of separate short stories.  I don’t think they are worth the price individually, but as a compilation, I would have enjoyed them.

Cover art by Valerie Tibbs is OK, and fits with the rest of the series.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 61 pages
Published August 30th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 10th 2010)
Original TitleBetween A Rock And A Hard Place
ISBN139781635335859
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLondon Lads #5

Review Tour – Clare London’s Between A Rock and A Hard Place (A London Lads Story)

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Length: 19,598 words
 
Cover Design: Tibbs Design
 
 
London Lads Series
 
Chase The Ace (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
How The Other Half Lives (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
A Good Neighbour (Book #3)  Amazon US | Amazon UK  Dreamspinner 
Peepshow (Book #4)  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
 
Blurb
 

Garry’s at the end of his tether. He’s waiting at Glasgow Airport to meet his friend Will, on their way to a holiday in a Scottish Highlands hotel. Now there’s a ten-hour delay to incoming flights, the seat in the lounge is more like an instrument of torture, and he’s beyond tired of airport food.


He’s also dreading having to apologise for the pass he recently made at Will, his colleague at a London bank, under the influence of too many beers and a long-held crush. Now Will’s been offered a new job offer on a continent thousands of miles away, Garry realises it may be the end of their close friendship—let alone anything more.


To add to Garry’s stress, he’s treated to the company of Emily and Max, two young people who think he needs educating in the ways of the world. Struggling with their well-meaning help and the startling mess from spilled ketchup and noxious-smelling sweets, he’s encouraged to re-examine how he feels about Will and to decide what kind of journey he’d really like them to take together.

Author Bio

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. Sheís written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say sheís just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, sheís happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!



Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon

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Release Blitz for Clare London’s Between A Rock & A Hard Place (A London Lads Story) ~ Excerpt and Giveaway

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Length: 19,598 words
 
Cover Design: Tibbs Design
 
 
London Lads Series
 
Chase The Ace (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
How The Other Half Lives (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
A Good Neighbour (Book #3)  Amazon US | Amazon UK  Dreamspinner 
Peepshow (Book #4)  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
 
Blurb
 

Garry’s at the end of his tether. He’s waiting at Glasgow Airport to meet his friend Will, on their way to a holiday in a Scottish Highlands hotel. Now there’s a ten-hour delay to incoming flights, the seat in the lounge is more like an instrument of torture, and he’s beyond tired of airport food.

He’s also dreading having to apologise for the pass he recently made at Will, his colleague at a London bank, under the influence of too many beers and a long-held crush. Now Will’s been offered a new job offer on a continent thousands of miles away, Garry realises it may be the end of their close friendship—let alone anything more.

To add to Garry’s stress, he’s treated to the company of Emily and Max, two young people who think he needs educating in the ways of the world. Struggling with their well-meaning help and the startling mess from spilled ketchup and noxious-smelling sweets, he’s encouraged to re-examine how he feels about Will and to decide what kind of journey he’d really like them to take together.

Excerpt

Garry suspected he knew what tipped psychotics over the edge.

It wasn’t childhood trauma or thwarted world domination. Far from it! It was the agony of a plastic bucket chair digging into the back of your legs in the middle of a chaotic Arrivals lounge. Add to that the robotic monotone of the Glasgow Airport PA system offering “apologies for the inconvenience caused to those customers awaiting incoming flights from the USA,” and it was like salt rubbed into a wound.

He slumped back in the seat, his arms folded tightly across his chest. He could feel the scowl on his face etching into the muscles. There was noise everywhere—booming announcements over the speakers and the incomprehensible swell of people’s excited chatter. Kids shrieked, and suitcases rattled over the threadbare carpet. Rolling neon signs flashed up reminders to boarding gates, constant alerts to keep your bags beside you at all times, and then—almost as an afterthought—the price of the latest, must-have mobile phone package.

Airport lounges had to be one of the least comfortable places on earth. He hunched down farther, trying to nap. Like it’d be possible in this maelstrom. Bad mood, or what? He’d been up since the crack of dawn, maybe even before. He couldn’t exactly remember the time, as over the years he’d found that lack of sleep caused him, one, serious memory problems, two, to leave the house in an unmatched pair of socks, and, three, the unmitigated loss of his sense of humour.

He was jolted back to attention as a man hauling a heavy suitcase let it run over Garry’s feet. With a cry of pain, Garry wrenched his long legs back under his seat, but not before the wheels had left neat little tramlines over his boots. His toes felt bruised, and his mood teetered further toward homicidal. Luckily the perpetrator had taken a sharp left and vanished into the direction of the car hire franchises, else his suitcase—and probably his limbs—might have been scattered to the four winds.

Garry winced. So much for keeping your luggage with you at all times.

So… what was currently on his agenda? A too-early start; a wickedly uncomfortable waiting area; a psychotic bunch of fellow passengers. The bad omens were already stacking up. He’d arrived at Glasgow Airport rather travel-worn from his own flight from London Heathrow, preparing to meet up with his friend Will somewhere in amongst this mess of humanity.

Then he’d been greeted with the worst of news—a delay.

Ten hours? He felt like shouting it aloud, as in fact a few of the less self-disciplined airport visitors already had. What do they mean, incoming flights to Glasgow delayed ten fucking hours? He’d stumbled onto his own flight at some godforsaken hour of the morning to get to Scotland on time, only to find the connecting transatlantic airlines couldn’t meet the same punctuality. Ten hours! It was only late morning. Ten hours would take him on into the evening and a large part of the night. Ten hours of sitting on this seat, with nothing but overpriced airport snacks and the metallic xylophone tones of the airport announcer for company.

Okay, so yes, obviously, he was in a less than good mood.

But he had nowhere else to wait for Will. He couldn’t travel on to the Scottish hotel their mutual friend Allen had booked, because he didn’t know which one it was. Allen didn’t seem to be answering his mobile at the moment. Garry had tried seven times already, ever since the first announcements were made about the delay. And Garry knew that was the only number available, not just because Allen could be such a bloody control freak, but because Leonard—Allen’s husband—never even turned his phone on when he was travelling anywhere. Nor would Will be accessible, circling somewhere in the sky between the States and here. And if Garry left the airport to go anywhere else, he ran the risk of missing Will’s flight altogether. No, he knew he was effectively trapped between the proverbial rock and the hard place. In fact, he could feel the hard place biting into his arse right now, as he tried to get comfortable in his seat for the hundredth time.

Besides, what could he do but wait? He was here because his friend Will had specifically asked him to be.

His best friend, Will.

They were both flying in to Glasgow, ready to meet the rest of the gang. It was a long-held tradition, an annual holiday together in June, whatever their commitments for the rest of the year. Friends since university, there were around eight of them on any year’s trip, depending on who could get away from work. Allen was the self-appointed “manager” of it all, and this year he’d suggested they visit the Scottish Highlands, his own home turf. Garry had happily booked the time off, like he always did. He rarely had other plans that might conflict.

Allen always waxed lyrical about Scotland. Most of his multitudinous family had left the home country over the years, moving all over the world, making what sounded like starry marriages with entrepreneurs and lawyers. Even a Hollywood movie star in one case. But Allen had stayed, happy to find everything he needed right there—including the man he met and moved in with, several years ago. He and Leonard often made the trip north to the Highlands on their own. The hotel they stayed in had a fabulous view over Loch Lomond, and the highest star-ratings for food and comfort. And, this year, Allen and Leonard wanted to share it with their friends as well.

Everyone thought it was a great choice, including Will and Garry. Will in particular had always wanted to see more of Scotland. They both lived in London and spent a lot of their social time together, so they usually travelled the same route to the reunion holiday. This year, they’d arranged to fly to Glasgow, hire a car, then drive the rest of the way.

At least, that had been the original plan.

But the plans had changed, hadn’t they?

Author Bio

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. Sheís written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say sheís just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, sheís happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!



Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon

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A Caryn Review: Peepshow (London Lads #4) by Clare London

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Another cute little installment in the London Lads series!  I can imagine the author coming up with the premise for this one, perhaps walking by a CCTV monitor and catching a glimpse of a cute man, and spinning off into a fantasy about that cute man…..

Ken is a film student who has taken a temporary night job monitoring the security cameras in an upscale shopping center.  It’s perfect, right?  Not much to do, plenty of time to study, easy money.  But the reality is that it is mind-numbingly boring, and he dreads walking in every day.  For entertainment, he started imagining stories and conversations for the people he saw on the screens, and the monitor of the yard behind the bistro became his favorite – waiters taking breaks, smoking, laughing, grousing, and rushing back into the restaurant.  He quickly identifies one waiter in particular he likes to watch, because he’s sexy and fit, but when the waiter looks right into the camera and winks, Ken becomes obsessed.

Ken has a close group of friends, but he’s the shy one of the bunch, and this night job gives him a good excuse to avoid being set up with blind dates.  Besides, after that wink, Waiter is now teasing, showing off, as if he knows someone is watching him.  Ken can’t help but be turned on, and continues to watch for Waiter avidly, though he is starting to feel a bit like a perverted voyeur.

And then, he meets Waiter in real life.  And Waiter knows that Ken’s been watching….

OK, for me, the book really should have ended right about there.  I was enjoying the tease and the mystery, and felt the reveal was too soon, too convenient, and really pretty anti-climactic.  And instead of just moving ahead with a date, there was all this unnecessary angst about how the teasing, and the voyeurism, would prevent them from trusting each other, blah, blah, blah.  I was thinking, hey, this is a short novella, there is no time for this kind of BS, just admit what you did, and that you enjoyed it!  Own it!  OK that was a bit of a spoiler, and I usually try to leave those out of my reviews, but I didn’t like this book as much as I have the others in the series.  It was enjoyable, until it wasn’t.  I thought about taking off a star, but since it truly was a 3 star read right up until that moment, I thought I’d let it stand.  I’ll still finish reading the series, but I am hoping that this was the low point, and the next one will be more fun.

I wasn’t as impressed with the cover art by Valerie Tibbs for this one.  The models seemed a bit older than I imagined Ken and Waiter, and there is nothing else to connect the art to the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 63 pages
Published July 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 23rd 2013)
ASIN B073R3Y9ZR
Edition Language English

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

 

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

 

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

 

This was a nice story and once the characters got over their own crap they had going on in their heads it was better.  Perry is sent to retrieve and transform Greg, however he is sent on his own and has no support from the agency.  Greg has successfully stayed far away from the limelight since he could move away and isn’t going to let anything drag him back.

 

I got see both of the characters’ points of view in this story so I knew how they were feeling for the most part but even Perry kept secrets I didn’t know about until close to the end.  I could see how uncertain Perry is with his future and his determination to do what he came to do but he quickly gets to see the real Greg and the beauty that his brothers don’t seem to see and wouldn’t change it for the world.  Greg is stubborn about changing anything in his life and it’s almost too late by the time he realizes that he actually wants the changes Perry has made in his life.

 

Joel Leslie did a nice job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the story and characters which is always nice.  However, I don’t think his narration is for me; this isn’t the first time I have listened to him and his over-exaggerated accents are just too much.  It took me a bit to get into the story at the beginning but once I pretty much ignored how he was saying it and just what he was saying I got into the story more.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is great and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press |   Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 15min
Published: June 19, 2017 (ebook first published June 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Romancing The …

An Ali Audiobook Review: Chase the Ace (London Lads #1) by Clare London and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Newly single in his late twenties, and bored with his quiet life in a London suburb, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. Excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from a schooldays sports club, he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become. 

Dan’s first mistake is chatting online to a complete stranger—friending the wrong Carson brother on Facebook. But Nick Carson isn’t offended and offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them. 

For Dan, the reunions with the “ Gang of Four” range from startling and heartening to disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought long hidden. Dan begins to suspect he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.
I found the plot of this a little confusing.  Not really in the way it was written but just overall.  Nothing that happened really made sense to me or seemed at all realistic.  I didn’t understand Daniel’s desire to see these guys from his past, I didn’t understand why Nick lied, I didn’t understand how a guy in his 20’s had such a poor understanding of social media, I didn’t understand why Daniel would go on a road trip with a stranger, the list goes on.  Once I decided to just let all that go and roll with the story, it got a little better.
I enjoyed the concept of the book and feel that if it had been a longer, more detailed story I probably would have enjoyed it more.  I would have liked to see more relationship development also.
This book was narrated by Seb Yarrick who was a new narrator for me.  I thought he did a really good job and I liked him a lot.  His narration definitely added to the story and he is a narrator I will definitely listen to again.
The cover was done by Valerie Tibbs of Tibbs Design.  I liked the cover a lot and I think it does a very good job of showing what the book is about.  It captures the plot and the vibe of the book perfectly.
Audiobook Details:
Listening Length: 2 hours and 55 minutes
Audible Audio
Published June 22nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 16th 2012)
ASINB072W728TV
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLondon Lads #1