A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Too Hot for Santa by Helena Stone

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Jonah Walsh, as Irish as the day he was born, lands in Sydney to take an acting job offer that came in the nick of time. He was caught on camera getting a blowjob and the clip went viral so fast his agent dropped him and he lost his acting job.  Fortunately, this offer to spend the summer months in Sydney came in just as he was despairing over his life choices.  Now all he has to do is get used to the unbearably hot summer temps in Australia and to ignore the equally hot Nick Claseman. 

Nick is technically Jonah’s boss, though his sister is the one who hired him for the play they are both producing.  And Nick’s not too happy that she offered Jonah the granny flat at his house.  But when he meets Jonah and the two get to know one another, he’s more than happy to spend time with him—in and out of bed. 

This is a pretty lighthearted tale of a grumpy Aussie who is positively affected by a happy-go-lucky Irishman. By the time they get to opening night, the two have become inseparable and the possibility of Jonah staying in Australia is something they both want.

I liked the characters and the tour of Australia readers get to see along with Jonah, but what bothered me is that Nick never seemed to work.  Though stated early on that he and his sister were producing the play, any mention of production and scheduling always revolved around her.  Though it may be a minor point, it took away plot substance for me. Nick’s role in the book was more of a roommate lover and less of a boss or authority figure. Others may not be bugged by this detail and it is, overall, a sweet holiday story.

The cover by Paul Richmond features a redheaded young man in dark T-shirt and jacket superimposed over what may be the Sydney Opera House.  There’s nothing remarkable about the cover, other than the star that indicates this is one of the Advent Anthology stories. 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 59 pages
Published November 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07L21Q433

Release Blitz for Equality (Dublin Virtues #2) by Helena Stone

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Buy Links: Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Publisher: Pride Publishing


Length: 58,300 words


Dublin Virtues Series


Patience (Book #1) Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Renewal (Book #3) Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Blurb

Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?

Author Bio

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

 

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

Helena can be found in the following places:

Email: helenastoneauthor@gmail.com
 

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A MelanieM Review: Patience (Dublin Virtues #1) by Helena Stone

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?

While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night-stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.

Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlour afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.

When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.

Patience (Dublin Virtues #1) by Helena Stone represents a new story, new series and a new author for me.  After finishing Patience, I considered it a win in all three categories.  Set in the city of Dublin, a place I dearly love (and captured here pretty well, especially the climate), we meet Xander an artist whose habit of one night stands has left him feeling empty and used.  Enter his old friend and a bet.  One month of abstinence.

I thought the author did a terrific job of making me feel empathetic towards  Xander immediately.  Under Erik’s  questioning, Xander starts to crumble, admitting to the feelings and walls he’s built up to hide the emptiness inside.  Seeing Xander’s pain and understanding the man brings us so close to him at the very beginning.  We’re there, liking him and rooting for his HEA.

When Troy is introduced, its so beautifully done, like the author quietly dropping a puzzle piece in place.  There’s linking threads between them, of course, from major to slim, which are revealed to us and them over the course of the story.  Troy is as immensely likable and real as is Xander, and equally broken in the same parts of his heart.  Biggest issue?  Trust of course, and communication about the important things.  How true to life and how sadly realistic.

The author must have a real love of symmetry for she has given each man a best friend here that acts as their support, confidant, and all around ‘kick in the pants’ when needed.  I fell in love with both of them as well, each as different as can be and, fingers crossed I’m hoping that the next book or books in the series revolves around them.

I had a couple of small issues one.  One was that Xander kept making a big deal over his anger issues but quite frankly we never saw any that seemed out of control or over the top.  Everyone gets angry and he was able to pull back and deal each time.  So either it should have been brought more fully into the story or really not made an issue of at all.

Also I felt the ending was a little rushed.  One bit left us hanging, although I suppose that was for the books to come.  Still it made me wonder because everything else in this terrific story is so well supported and all the foundations so lovingly laid out.  But that’s it.  I loved this story.

I will of course be anxiously awaiting the next story in the series.  I can’t wait to see where the author takes us and who the story will be about.

My one last little nod to Dublin and Ireland.  Surely another symbol other than a kanji character could have been used.  Maybe a celtic rune perhaps?  Just a thought.

Cover art by Emmy Ellis is ok but nothing that shouts storyline to me.

Sales Links

Pride Publishing 


Pre-Order: Amazon US | Amazon UK  (March 28)

 

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 170 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786515360
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDublin Virtues #1

In the Spotlight: Patience (Dublin Virtues #1) by Helena Stone (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Pride Publishing (Early download)


Pre-Order: Amazon US | Amazon UK  (March 28)


Cover: Emmy Ellis


Length: 62,945 words


Publisher: Pride Publishing

Blurb


Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?


While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.


Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlor afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.


When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.

Author Bio

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.


The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.


Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.


Helena can be found in the following places: 

 

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