A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: I’ve Got This (Joy Universe #1) by Louisa Masters

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Derek Breyer is the director of one of the theme parks at Joy Universe, a park the author modeled after the infamous mouse park. He’s gorgeous, smart, personable, and career-driven. He also happens to be as nice as he looks, but when he meets the new dancer, direct from Broadway, Trav Jones takes an instant dislike to him. Derek seems too good to be true, and very much like the high school bullies Trav had to avoid in his teens.

When circumstances keep throwing them together, and Trav gives him a chance, Derek turns out to be the opposite of Trav’s original suppositions, and within a few weeks of dating and hanging out, they realize they are in love. Now a new problem arises: what happens after Derek’s contract expires midsummer?

I liked this story but, to be honest, the first person POV in present tense is something I really dislike. And to top it off, the author kept dropping asides from the character to the audience, i.e., me—the reader, and that totally turned me off and tuned me out. This happened more often toward the end of the story so by the last page I was happy to say goodbye to Joy Universe and its cast of characters.

The story itself is interesting as a murder occurs at the beginning along with a major disaster that strikes much of the cast of performers and Derek has to hustle to keep it all contained. As the story unfolds, the murder brings negative publicity to the park and Derek faces the loss of the job that is a part of his life. He may also lose Trav if he can’t open up to him emotionally. All that was well and good, but those times when the character speaks directly to the reader? No, just no. I don’t only dislike that—I hate it. So overall, though the romance was sweet, it was pretty much insta-love, the sex was off-page so those who like fade to black will be happy, and the situation is resolved enough at the end that all parties are happy.

The cover by Reese Dante features a head shot of a handsome blond man, exactly like the MC in the story. The light colors and the face of the man attracted me to the story and I wasn’t disappointed.

Sales Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |  | Goodreads

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 195 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644053256
Edition Language English

Looking for a New Romance to Read? Check Out the Blog Tour for “I’ve Got This” by Louisa Masters (excerpt and giveaway)

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I've Got This

Louisa Masters has a new MM contemporary romance out in the Joy Universe series: “I’ve Got This.”

Derek Bryer loves his life. His job as an assistant director at Joy Universe, the second-largest theme park complex on the planet, makes him indirectly responsible for bringing joy (pun intended) to millions of people. So what if none of his relationships are that close? Everyone he meets loves him.

Except Trav Jones. For some reason, the visiting Broadway performer would rather Derek just go away. He appreciates Derek’s work ethic, though, and after Trav steps up when Derek desperately needs someone to fill in for his sick staff, Derek seizes the chance to convince Trav he’s not such a bad guy.

Falling in love while distracted by a murder at the park, food poisoning, and colleagues laying bets on their relationship won’t be easy, but between the two of them and with the magic of Joy Universe, they’ve got this.

 | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Louisa is giving away a $20 gift certificate for Amazon, iBooks, B&N, or Kobo – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4787/?


Excerpt

I've Got This meme

He grins at me. “Can I use your number for more than just confirming dates?”

Heat climbs up my neck and floods my face, and I know I must be red. Christ, I’ve always blushed easily, but I spend more time red-faced around this guy than anyone else I can remember. “Maybe.” I meant it to sound flirtatious, but it comes out sounding more like a parent who means no, but doesn’t want to say it for fear of incurring a tantrum.

What the hell is wrong with me? I’m no Casanova, but I’m not a reclusive virgin, either. I usually have a pretty good dating life. I know how to flirt.

I pull out my phone. “What’s your number? I’ll text you.”

He rattles off the digits. I put them in my phone and then send him a text. The faint ding from his pocket tells me he got it.

The rest of the ride back to my resort is silent, and I’m pretty sure it’s my fault. Our conversation over dinner was so easy and fun—but my stupid failed attempt to be flirty seems to have killed the vibe. Is he regretting the whole thing? Wondering how he can get out of our date on Thursday?

He turns off the road onto the driveway of the resort, but instead of pulling up to the entrance, he takes the road that loops around the property to the four parking lots and the three other shuttle stops.

“Where—” I begin, but he interrupts me.

“Which is the closest parking lot to your room?”

Oh. He’s being thoughtful and saving me the seven-minute (no, I didn’t time it—the receptionist told me when I checked in) walk from the main building to the building that houses my room.

“The west one,” I tell him, and then we both fall silent again as he skilfully navigates along the deserted, mostly dark road. I rack my brain for something to say. How did this happen? Twenty minutes ago I was one half of an interesting, fun conversation. How did we go from that to awkward silence?

It has to be the idea of dating that’s turned us into mere acquaintances with little in common. Right? Until he confirmed that we were on a date, and I asked him on another one, everything was fine. After that, it all went downhill.

Wait… he knew all along that we were on a date. I was the one who wasn’t sure what he thought it was. Does that mean this is all me? Am I the reason for the awkwardness?

I’m saved from further introspection (although I suspect it’s going to keep me up most of the night) when Derek pulls into the west parking lot and finds a spot at the far end. The lot is pretty well-lit, but back in this corner there are more shadows.

I undo my seat belt. I’m almost desperate to get out of the car and away from this tension, but at the same time, I’m terrified that if I leave it like this, I’m going to get a text from Derek, canceling our date. What can I say to make it all better?

Derek’s hand on my face makes me jump.

“Whoa! Sorry, I didn’t mean….” He starts to pull away, but I grab his hand and hold it against my cheek. I like having him touch me.

Is this weird? Maybe he was just trying to get my attention and didn’t actually want to hold my face.

I drop my hand to my lap, giving him the opportunity to pull back. My face is hot, and I’m thankful for the dim light. He can probably still see that I’m blushing, but not exactly how red I am.

His fingers lightly stroke my cheek.

My breath stutters. I slowly turn to him. His face is closer than I expected, and there’s a soft smile on his lips. Even in the dimness of the car, I can see how warm the expression in his eyes is.

I swallow. His smile grows.

“I love when you blush,” he says. “It’s so—”

“Sweet?” I interrupt acidly. He shakes his head.

“Hot.” The word sits between us. Hot? Does he mean literally? Because, yeah, my skin gets hot when I—

Derek leans in and kisses me, and I get it. Hot. Derek thinks it’s hot when I blush. Really?

Also, man can he kiss.

I gotta be honest, the next few minutes kind of blur out. I’m too focused on Derek’s mouth on mine, his hands, his body—because my hands get busy too. The only words I can actually think are adjectives: warm, hard, wet, silky….

I’ve got my hands in his pants (and can I just say wow?) when it finally occurs to me that as cushy as Derek’s car is, it’s not roomy enough for us to fuck—well, not comfortably. I jerk back from his kiss. “Not here,” I pant. Crap, Kev’s likely to be back at our room by now. He was saying earlier that he was exhausted, not having had a day off, and wanted an early night. “Your place?” He’s gotta live in Joyville, right? That’s what, half an hour away?

Maybe we can get a room. We’re at a resort. I’m sure he gets an employee discount here too.

Derek sighs and pulls back, stroking my chest under my polo one last time before drawing his hand out. I miss it instantly.


Author Bio

Louisa Masters

Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.

Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.

Author Website: http://www.louisamasters.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/louisa.masters.31

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/LouisaMastersAuthor

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AuthorLouisaM

Author Instagram: @AuthorLouisaM

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5755521.Louisa_Masters

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/louisa-masters/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Masters/e/B008YBZT0S

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Looking for Your Next Romance Novel? Out of the Office by Louisa Masters (giveaway and tour)

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“A cute short read…!”
Title: Out of the Office
Stand-alone Novella
Genre: M/M Romance
Word count: 18k

Whoever thought achieving career goals could be boring? Not Duncan Witten, but here he is at forty-one, in his dream job… and hating it. Throw it all away for a challenge? Yes, please!

If only Dunc had known his challenging new job came with Paul Hanks, a man who redefines “stubborn.” They need to work together to meet targets, but thanks to Dunc’s idiot predecessor, Paul won’t take his calls or reply to emails.

There’s only one solution: travel across the country and confront Paul face-to-face. It’s time to take things out of the office.

Just 0.99!

Continue reading

New Release Blitz and Giveaway for Out of the Office by Louisa Masters

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“A cute short read…!”
Title: Out of the Office
Stand-alone Novella
Genre: M/M Romance
Word count: 18k

Whoever thought achieving career goals could be boring? Not Duncan Witten, but here he is at forty-one, in his dream job… and hating it. Throw it all away for a challenge? Yes, please!

If only Dunc had known his challenging new job came with Paul Hanks, a man who redefines “stubborn.” They need to work together to meet targets, but thanks to Dunc’s idiot predecessor, Paul won’t take his calls or reply to emails.

There’s only one solution: travel across the country and confront Paul face-to-face. It’s time to take things out of the office.

Just 0.99!

Continue reading

A MelanieM Audio Review: The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Sometimes love takes balls.

Newly retired championship footballer Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.

Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?

The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters  turned out to be a heartwarming and very engaging contemporary romance, one I think I might have initially enjoyed more in eBook format.  The reason being the narrator. Seb Yarrick who narrates the story is english, and while I have listened to entire novels by english narrators, I never realized that the tone (light, baritone , tenor) made a difference to me.  Turns out yes it does.

The deeper the voice the easier it is to engage my attention apparently.  Here Seb Yarrick’s light, pleasant  even tones  let my mind wander away from the story often.  Worse because, he had to act out other British accents (which being American I couldn’t tell you which part of the country they came from , that’s like separating Jersey from the Bronx perhaps to someone in London.  On top of that throw on several French accents as well.  Yes I came close to just wanting to read the story and give up on the audio.

But perseverance or just the fact that I didn’t have the ebook at hand, made me continue and eventually my “American ear” got a handle on it and Seb’s intonations and narration.

The story and characters themselves are lovely.  Especially the footballers as they say over there.  Everyone is well defined.  The locations visited add a richness to the story and a firm foundation to the characters and their level in society and business.  While each was working towards bringing together this terrific charity and finding ground for a relationship, I liked the realistic touches of also finding out that they needed to work on their basis for being bilingual, the understanding that its two languages in a relationship as well, switch  homes and perhaps countries as well, and that sacrifices are necessary.  That made it more realistic, even at for the rich and famous.

The payoff in the epilogue was everything.  I just adored that and could see it so clearly.   By then I barely noticed the accents and was lost in the emotion of the moment.  I had come a long way in the journey with these men, their relationship and this narrator.  I’m still loving it even now.  And it lets me recommend this audio version for al who love contemporary romance and listening as well.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Nice job, love the background, with the ball branding exactly who the cover man is and what his profession is as well.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible |

Audio Book Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 5 hours and 38 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2019
Language: English, English
ASIN: B07QD1YVGN

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​The Bunny and the Billionaire by Louisa Masters

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Spending their fortunes and losing their hearts.

Hardworking Australian nurse Ben Adams inherits a substantial sum and decides to tour Europe. In Monaco, the home of glamour and the idle rich, he meets French billionaire playboy Léo Artois. After getting off on the wrong foot—as happens when one accuses a stranger of being part of the Albanian mafia—their attraction blazes. Léo, born to the top tier of society, has never known limits, and Ben, used to budgeting every cent, finds it difficult to adjust to not only Léo’s world, but also the changes wealth brings to his own life.

As they make allowances for each other’s foibles, Ben gradually appreciates the finer things, and Léo widens his perspective. They both know one thing: this is not a typical holiday romance and they’re not ready to say goodbye.

Stories don’t get any more Dreamspun Desiry than The Bunny and The Billionaire by Louisa Masters.  Between that title which screams 60’s B or C romance movies (and the Harlequin Romance paperbacks this series pays homage to) right down to the storyline, everything about The Bunny and The Billionaire is one great shoutout to those types of romances we adore.

Here a great guy, a male nurse, who inherits a ton of money from his last client.  Ben goes off to visit her favorite places, sees a mysterious handsome guy (part Arab Prince/part Parisian Aristocracy) who sweeps him off his feet, they romance around Monaco, then they live happily richly ever after. That’s sort of it, but in the hands of Masters, it’s totally works, the characters endearing, the dialog witty ,settings are charming and romantic.  Believable?  Ok, maybe not.  But, the point it, that it’s thoroughly enjoyable and the relationship was a steady build right into your heart.

Especially Ben.  He really stumbles into your heart, bad clothing and all.  My only complaint?  I wanted us to have his best friend, Dani, come there too.  I adored her and we only got to see/hear her through Ben’s phone.  Other than that, I loved Ben and his open heart.  How could Léo Artois not fall for him?

Yes, it’s a fairly quick fall, but Masters makes a good case for it.  Plus it all calls for a good suspension of belief anyhow so you’re just going with it.  Things like this only happen in the movies right?

By the time the book ends, I’m sighing with total happiness over this couple, their friends and of course, hoping that Masters will bring them all back for another magical romance cruise for some love in Monaco!  We can always hope.

Looking for a story that’s the very definition of sweet romance?  Here it is.

Cover art by Bree Archer.  Love the cover.  Works great for the book and the character.

Sales Links:

 Dreamspinner Press | Books2Read

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635338768
Edition Language English

Louisa Masters on Writing Romances, Characters and her latest story ‘The Bunny and the Billionaire’ (author guest interview and giveaway)

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The Bunny and the Billionaire by Louisa Masters
Dreamspinner Press
A Dreamspun Desires Title

Expected publication: October 1st 2017
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Available for PreOrder at  Dreamspinner Press | Books2Read

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Louisa Masters here today in our interview chair.  Welcome, Louisa!

✒︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Louisa Masters ~

♦︎How much of yourself goes into a character?

I like to think it’s just the right amount! There’s definitely a little bit of me and my perspective in all my characters, but they absolutely aren’t all me. They do and say things I would never dare to, or refuse to do and say things I would (and do) quite happily. For example, Ben, from my upcoming release The Bunny and The Billionaire, wears his clothes until they’re threadbare. The book opens with him wandering around Monaco in shoes so worn his big toe has popped out. I’m no clotheshorse, but I would never do that—mostly for fear of what my grandmother would say! He’s also a nurse, which is a profession I admire greatly but freely admit I couldn’t handle.

♦︎Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Definitely! Even as a little girl, I liked stories with happy endings best, and looking back, I can see that my favorites always had a romantic thread through them. As a teenager I mostly read romance behind closed doors, and epic fantasy and sci-fi out in public (where my parents could see). As an author, I never even considered anything other than romance—those are the stories I want to write. Maybe one day I’ll give fantasy a proper shot, too—romantic fantasy, of course! Or a space opera. I love space opera, and it’s not easy to come by, especially m/m. If anybody has suggestions for great ones, I’d love to hear about them.

♦︎Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I have several part-done stories that I really hope to get back to one day. Some I stopped working on because they weren’t flowing at the time, and some I was just too inexperienced to develop properly. I don’t write “angst” very well, although I do like to read it, so I’ve never hurt a character so much I couldn’t pull us both through it.

♦︎Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m not actually firmly on one side or the other. I love a good short story or novella, and sometimes a HEA in those can feel rushed. As long as the promise of a HEA is there, I’m completely satisfied.

♦︎Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Almost exclusively. I do occasionally slip in something a little different, especially if it’s been highly recommended by someone I trust, or is by an author I’ve loved for a long time, but romance is my mainstay. I read my first “official” adult romance at age eleven, and have never looked back. It’s been astonishing to see how the industry has changed over the past twenty-five years.

♦︎How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Honestly, I adore it. There will always be something special about reading a paper book, but I think most truly voracious readers see the ebook as a wonderful thing. I usually read anywhere between three and seven books a week, depending on length and my schedule, and I frequently reread—I can count on two hands the number of books I’ve sold on or given away in my whole life, and most of those were gifts from people who thought they knew what I’d like. I have over two thousand paper books, and I just don’t have the shelf space for them. Most are boxed up in storage, which means they’re not accessible at three in the morning when I wake up desperate to reread. My nearly two thousand ebooks, on the other hand, are always right by my bed or in my bag.

Ebooks are also wonderful when traveling. When I was nineteen, I studied for two months in Italy. More than half my suitcase was books. I calculated very carefully how many books I thought I’d need, refrained from reading new releases for several months, and then packed up about thirty-five books and lugged them across the world and back. On the other hand, last year I went on a two-month odyssey across Europe, and brought my tablet with me, buying ebooks as the ones I wanted were released.

I can’t see the ebook industry failing, not when it means bookworms can buy books from bed at two in the morning and begin reading them instantly. For that alone, I will always love it.

♦︎What’s next for you as an author?

In a couple of days, The Bunny and The Billionaire will be released by Dreamspinner Press’s Dreamspun Desires line. I’m so excited about this book! Category romance was such a huge part of my early romance reading years, and will always have a place in my heart. Writing one myself was something I thought about, but it didn’t click into place until DSP opened it up for the m/m market.

I have a short holiday story coming out in December, which I think anyone who’s been forced to shop two days before Christmas will appreciate, and I’m currently working on another category-style m/m romance, featuring one of the characters from The Bunny and The Billionaire.

The Bunny and The Billionaire

Released October 1 by Dreamspinner Press

Spending their fortunes and losing their hearts.

Hardworking Australian nurse Ben Adams inherits a substantial sum and decides to tour Europe. In Monaco, the home of glamour and the idle rich, he meets French billionaire playboy Léo Artois. After getting off on the wrong foot—as happens when one accuses a stranger of being part of the Albanian mafia—their attraction blazes. Léo, born to the top tier of society, has never known limits, and Ben, used to budgeting every cent, finds it difficult to adjust to not only Léo’s world, but also the changes wealth brings to his own life.

As they make allowances for each other’s foibles, Ben gradually appreciates the finer things, and Léo widens his perspective. They both know one thing: this is not a typical holiday romance and they’re not ready to say goodbye.

Giveaway

Louisa is giving away five swag packs to mark the release of The Bunny and The Billionaire. Enter to win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. https://tinyurl.com/yag5gasq

About the Author

Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.

Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.

Find Louisa on Facebook and Twitter:

www.facebook.com/LouisaMastersAuthor

@authorLouisaM