A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Chef vs Chef (Sizzling in the Kitchen #2) by M.J. O’Shea

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

We first met Bobby Diaz in book one, Chef in the Wild, as Baldwin Powell’s sous chef. Bobby now has his chance to leave the mad world of the Manhattan restaurant business when Baldwin offers him the opportunity to help run his new restaurant in Montpelier, Vermont. But what Bobby doesn’t know is that Baldwin also offered his cousin Cal an opportunity to help run the restaurant while Baldwin is away filming a new chef show in the city. 

Two chefs + one kitchen = disaster in the making. Well, at first it does, and then Bobby realizes what a prima donna he’s being and decides to relax and just be himself. And “himself” is a happy, humorous, laidback kind of guy. And once he does, Cal falls head over heels for him and vice versa. That’s a simplified way of summarizing this nice MM romance that slowly builds from enemies to lovers, to friends, to romantic relationship. The complicated world the author builds makes for interesting, humorous, and heartwarming reading. The secondary characters, including Baldwin’s family, the owner of the bakery café, and even the dastardly rival chef, are all well-developed and realistic.

The principal secondary characters in this book were the MCs in book one and their story here intrigued me so much I had to go back and grab book one to read their love story. That’s now been devoured, too, so I can honestly say this series is MJ O’Shea romance at it’s best. No one does small town romance as well. From the moment I first read Coming Home and the rest of the Rock Bay series, she’s been among my favorites and these stories gave me similar warm and fuzzy feels. My heart is happy. Highly recommended.

Cover by LC Chase features a good-looking bearded man, wearing T-shirt and jeans set against a bright background. I assume this is Bobby and he definitely attracted my attention.

Buy Links: 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 167 pages
Published June 4th 2019
ASINB07SPJJ9V6
Edition Language English
SeriesSizzling in the Kitchen #2

Check Out the Review Tour and Giveaway for Chef vs Chef (Sizzling in the Kitchen #2) by M.J. O’Shea

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Buy Links: 
 
Cover Design: L.C. Chase
 
Sizzling In The Kitchen Series
 
Book #1 – Chef In The Wild – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Blurb
 

Bobby Diaz has worked his whole life to get where he is – running a restaurant with his two closest friends, no boss, and generally content. When his best friend Baldwin gets the gig of a lifetime, he asks Bobby to take over the restaurant while he’s gone. He’ll miss his friend, but he’s excited to put himself to the test. He can’t believe he’s getting the chance to finally run his own kitchen.


Cal Mayer is thirty and starting over. His last relationship was a failure. His job went down the drain. So when his cousin Pete, a.k.a Baldwin Powell celebrity chef, offers him a gig in his restaurant, he can’t help but to jump at the offer to reinvent himself.


Bobby and Cal don’t exactly hit it off—to put it lightly. Bobby resents getting Cal dumped in his lap. Cal doesn’t appreciate Bobby’s frosty attitude. They’re stuck together day and night, and their chemistry is undeniable… but will it be sweet summer love or a case of too many chefs in the kitchen?

 Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here, we highly recommend it.

MJ O’Shea has never met a music festival, paintbrush, or flower crown she can stay away from. She loves rainstorms and a perfect cup of tea, beach days, music, bright colors, and more than anything a cozy evening with a really great book.



She is from the Pacific Northwest. While she still lives there and loves it, MJ has the heart of a wanderer. So she puts all her dreams of far off places and extraordinary people in her books.



Except for every once in a while when she does what all travelers have to do on occasion… come home.





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An Alisa Release Day Review: Kiss Me Forever by M.J. O’Shea

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Forever is too long to be alone.

Professor Avery Cook has spent his career researching the mysterious side of New Orleans. Superstitions, legends, and lore—Avery has an academic explanation for all of them….

Until one night when he walks into a bar and his life changes.

In a sea of impossibly beautiful people, Tyson stands out, and he sweeps Avery off his feet with his old-world charm and romanticism. But there’s a darkness in Tyson too, and Avery discovers Tyson is part of a world he thought existed only in books and stories—the paranormal tales he studies at the university.

Tyson’s been lonely for a long time, and he’s falling in love with Avery. But his past is a long one, and it’s full of enemies and danger. The best way to keep Avery safe is to push him away….

I loved this story.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book by MJ O’Shea and I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.  It gave a different view on the paranormal world and I really enjoyed reading about it.

Tyson is lonely for a long time it’s only been him and Mrs. Peggs and when he decides to go out and visit a friend’s bar he meets Avery.  Avery is a quiet bookworm and often feels awkward in social situations but something about Tyson pulls at him and starts to put him at ease.

Avery is adorable, I could feel how lost he seemed at times but determined he would be to figure out what he was missing.  Tyson is a martyr through and through, he will do what he feels is best to protect those around him even if it hurts him and them.  I loved seeing these two grow together but also how they learned to trust in each other.  I loved watching them overcome the obstacles in their way to be together forever.

The cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and I love the picture of Tyson.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: April 3, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-442-5

Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Desires

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Open Road by M.J. O’Shea and Robbie D (Narrator)

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Rating: 1 star for the audiobook and 4.5 stars for the e-book—overall 4 stars

open-road-audiobookI was asked to review the audiobook edition of this story, but I have to say up front that I had to DNF it within the first hour. I couldn’t stand the voices the narrator was using. They were so over-the-top flamboyant and campy that I felt they were insulting to my friends who are gay. They fed a stereotype that I oppose using. So, the narration didn’t deserve more than one star.

That being said, I’ve enjoyed MJ O’Shea’s work in the past, and the premise of this story was intriguing so I went to the e-book copy I had previously purchased and was unread in my “TBR library,” and I’m so glad I did because this story was a wonderful love story between two men who’ve been friends all their lives, and slowly but surely, become lovers over the course of their “road trip” together.

On his thirtieth birthday, Angus is dumped by his lover of ten years, and it sets him off on a bender that becomes so bad he loses both his job and his apartment. It isn’t until he finally checks on him that his BFF, Reece, takes matters into his own hands. Feeling guilty because he should have realized silence from Angus signaled something was very wrong, Reece not only makes plans to move Angus in with him, he also makes the arrangements to take Angus away for a few days.

The thin, wan ghostly appearance of his BFF is shocking enough, but add to that the fact that the usually bright and bubbly Angus isn’t even speaking, and Reece knows he’ll need all the patience in the world to help the man he secretly loves back to his former state. Reece would do anything for Angus, and this story shows just how much he does. It also reveals the journey Angus has to make to come back from the depths of despair. Deciding to extend their initial trip from Oregon to California by a few more days, the two men head to Vegas. Another extension takes them to New Orleans, and so it goes as they make their way across country.

Angus is living on his savings from his former job, but Reece is a book editor and is financing most of the trip as well as working remotely on his laptop once in a while. And this is the only quirk I had with the story. I’m an editor, and to be honest, in my experience, editors don’t earn enough to make it across the state—never mind the country! LOL

Regardless, the story is so wonderful that I can be kind and overlook that little issue. These men are so endearing—Reece so strong and supportive and Angus so sweet and adorable. It’s a match made in heaven—or by a romance author. If you are interested in friends-to-lovers romances, or simply enjoy a sweet MM romance, by all means, pick this up. Just make sure you do it in e-book, not audio.
~~~~~
The cover art by L.C. Chase depicts a road fading into the distance with a muscular man in sleeveless T-shirt staring off toward the end. Very appropriate for this story.

Sales Links

eBook & Audiobook Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published July 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleOpen Road
ISBN 1634773160 (ISBN13: 9781634773164)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Audiobook
Published January 11th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 25th 2016)
Original TitleOpen Road
ASINB01N9PWGM

URL

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Worst Best Man by M.J. O’Shea

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

worstbestmanthefs_v1It was her special day… but his worst nightmare.

A rekindled romance wasn’t part of the plan.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend—who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations cost him his future with August—one he hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.

When you start talking about a lovers reunited or a second chance at love story, you’ve caught my attention.  I have to admit I’m a total sucker for those. The Worst Best Man is M.J. O’Shea’s tale of two former lovers reunited over one man’s best friend’s wedding and the clash of hearts that follows.  Take the combination of London, wedding planners and old flames reuniting and M.J. O’Shea makes the most of it in this warm hearted and throughly entertaining story.

Really, the author had me at wedding planners.

When you think of all the things that can and do go wrong with weddings, the combustible bouquet of feelings waiting to ignite over the least thing from so many parties involved in wedding (not just the happy couple) and its no wonder people reach for wedding planners in desperation.  But what happens when one of the wedding planners can set off a small explosion too?  What a  delicious idea!  That would be American August O’Leary, the must have wedding planner in London and former dumpee of Christopher Burke, best man to his friend Libby who’s about to get married.  And wants the best planner in all of London to work for her. Drumroll please!

But what could be high comedy becomes recognizable flawed human relationship choices (fear, pain, youth, its all there) in this sweet romance.   Edward is not left off easy for his early cowardice, yes, everyone recognizes it for what it was. But its tempered by his youth and other factors. We also realize that doesn’t lessen August’s pain.  O’Shea brings the past forward and makes it relevant as August regards Edward with shock and dismay in his office.  The climb to realization that his love had never gone away take a little longer.  O’Shea also takes into account here the role that status/strata plays in British society and the effect it had/has on August and Edward.  I thought that was very realistic.  Nice touches everywhere.

The Worst Best Man is full of great secondary characters, locations as well as a wonderful romance to lose yourself in.  I absolutely recommend it.  And of course, would love to see a followup.

Cover art by Bree Archer works for both the character, location and storyline.  I liked it.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 208 pages
Expected publication: February 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleThe Worst Best Man
ISBN 1635331439 (ISBN13: 9781635331431)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

In Our Romance Spotlight: The Worst Best Man by M.J. O’Shea (excerpt)

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The Worst Best Man by M.J. O’Shea
D
reamspinners Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host M.J. O’Shea today.  M.J. O’Shea is here talking about her recent release, The Worst Best Man.  Welcome, M.J.!

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Hi! 

This is Mj O’Shea I’m here talking about my newest book, called The Worst Best Man.

One of my favorite parts of writing a romance is… well obviously the romantic couple. But another favorite is developing relationships between the two romantic leads and the people in their lives. I often end up liking the friends so much that I give them books of their own eventually.

In this book, August, my main character works at an event planner and his team partner and best friend Will is one of those characters that I love to death.

I thought I’d leave a bit of their banter… since I love writing it so much. And even more than writing it, I love reading it. It’s one of the things I look forward to the most in books romance or otherwise. Before I babble too much, here’s a bit of August and his best friend Will.

“Hey, mate, do you have the signed contracts for the Steinberg bat mitzvah yet?”

“I haven’t had a chance to deal with getting them yet. Why?” August had been slammed all day with work orders and phone calls. He hadn’t had time to hound customers for signed paperwork. August the enforcer had taken a backseat to a million more pressing matters.

“I just wanted to get started on the flower orders, and I can’t do that until we have a signature. Remember what happened with the Stout wedding?”

What had happened was nine hundred pounds’ worth of blush-colored roses and calla lilies, a cheating groom, and one very angry bride—also incomplete signed paperwork. Their company had to eat the cost of the flowers since there wasn’t anything holding the ex-couple to the payment. Not endearing to their boss, Helena, in the slightest, even if she did love Will and August. Usually.

August would never make that mistake again.

“Can you get on the Steinbergs?” Will asked.

“Will, you know I have a huge list on for today. I don’t have time to run a paper chase.”

Will started to make one of the signature pathetic noises that usually got him whatever he wanted. It was the blond hair and the big blue eyes. August wasn’t immune, even if Will was straight as a stick and practically his brother. Wasn’t going to work, though. Not today.

“It’s your fault I’m so busy.” Time to go for the guilt trip. “You’re the one who ‘didn’t want to deal with another society wedding full of posh wankers.’”

August knew Will hated the finger quotes. It was a surefire way of pissing him off.

“I hate the finger quotes.”

He said it every time. August enjoyed annoying him every single time as well.

“I know. But I’m still the one who got stuck with the Pritts-Shackleton wedding because you didn’t want to deal with them.”

“People like that always look at me.”

August sighed. “I know, I know. You’re Northern and not a blue blood, and they give you attitude about it. Well, a Northerner has to be better than an American in their eyes, and yet here I am about to meet with one of London’s premiere society couples. I think you can call the Steinbergs. It’s more than an even trade.” August raised his eyebrow and waited for Will to crumble.

“Fine.”

“What do you think our prince and princess will be like?” Will asked.

“Apparently it’s going to be our princess and her GBF,” August said with an eye roll. “Prince Shackleton is in the import-export business, and he’s quite busy.”

“This tosser’s really sending a stand-in?”

“You probably shouldn’t call our clients tossers.” August bit back a grin. “I guess the dude’s been friends with both of them since birth. Maybe it makes sense in their world.”

Will made a face. “Better you than me, mate. I don’t love weddings at the best of times. Give me a nice corporate golf tournament to organize any day. Maybe the girl’s mate will be hot. You need a shag.”

“Thanks for keeping track of my sex life.” AugustDignified gave Will another eye roll for that. He was far too invested in how often August got laid. “I’m sure this random gay man who walks into our office to plan his friend’s wedding will be up for it. Probably should just skip trousers altogether and tell Miss Pritts to take a hike.” August snorted loudly.

“Don’t sell yourself short.” Will shrugged. “I would be up for it if I was into dudes.”

August giggled. “I love you,” he said on a laugh.

“By the way, you sure you have to go home for Christmas?” Will asked. “My mum was looking forward to seeing you. I swear she loves you more than me. Plus, there isn’t a chance in hell I can make your sticky toffee pudding recipe for her.”

The holidays were coming up soon, and August had booked ten days off from the office to visit Boston. It had been two years since he’d gone back for more than a long weekend, and he actually missed the big, loud O’Leary clan. Will’s family was a close substitute, but it wasn’t quite the same thing.

“I can’t this year. I promised my mom I’d come home. She said you’re very welcome to come as well. Maybe our families can just do a son trade.”

There was something about Will’s down-to-earth rough-and-tumble personality that fit into the O’Leary family perfectly, maybe even more than August ever had. They loved him, and he loved them right back.

“I think that’s a solid plan. But we need another solid plan for tonight. One last lad’s night before you desert me for nearly two weeks.”

August looked out the window at the snow drifting down, a few lazy flakes at a time. The London streets were covered with thin, slippery black ice, and the snow had been falling slow but steady for hours.

“It’s cold as hell, mate,” he muttered. He had dreams of his cozy little flat and a book.

“Mate,” Will snickered. “We’ll make a Brit out of you yet. And don’t be a baby. After a few pints, you won’t even be able to feel the snow.”

August had about zero chance of getting out of the pub night. Will was a force to be reckoned with.

“Okay. Lad’s night. But No Weezy. He causes trouble.”

Weezy was Will’s best friend from Sheffield, who’d sort of followed Will to London and never left. He was a laugh when August had nowhere to be for the next three or four days and plenty of time to nurse a hangover. Not when he had to spend the day packing for an evening flight home.

“I might have already texted Weez. He misses you.” Will gave August his best puppy dog eyes.

August sighed. “Okay. I’ll be ready after my meeting with the wedding couple. Er, I mean, the bride and her best friend.”

It was weird. He’d had far weirder. August tried to wipe the memory of eye patches, parrots, and a whole lot of pirate hats from his head. It was best not to think of it.

“I’ll wait in my office with Louise. She’s coming too.”

“Louise? Who else did you invite?” It was starting to sound less like a quiet lad’s night at the pub and more like what Will called “A right piss-up.” Those rarely ended well for August. He still hadn’t found his trousers from the last time.

“You know she’s one of the lads,” Will said.

August wondered how long it was going to take Will to figure out that their sensible, no-nonsense assistant was desperately in love with him.

“One of the lads,” August echoed. “Shoo,” he added, making the motions with his hands. “I have to get ready for my meeting. And call the Steinbergs. I want to get properly started on that one when I get back from Boston.”

Will saluted him as he strolled backward out of the office.

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed a little bit of August and Will. I definitely had a great time writing them

I’ve left a blurb and some links below! I’m always available on social media for questions or comments.

Thanks for having me stop by ❤

Xoxo

Mj O’Shea

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About The Best Worst Man by M.J. O’Shea

It was her special day… but his worst nightmare.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend – who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations of him cost him his future with August – one he’d hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.

About the Author

Hi everyone! I’m Mj O’Shea:) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.

A Lila Audiobook Review: Marriage of Inconvenience by M.J. O’Shea and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

marriage-of-inconvenience-audiobookLights, Camera, Lies.

Kerry Pickering has a problem. As a publicist for Hollywood bad boy Jericho Knox, it’s Kerry’s job to keep Jericho in the news. So far, Jericho’s partying and public escapades have made it easy. But Jericho has a secret, and when that secret is revealed in the most spectacularly disastrous way, it’s up to Kerry to spin it.

The team decides the best course of action is to make the public fall in love—with Jericho’s secret committed relationship. The one that doesn’t exist. Yet.

The team wants someone they can trust. Someone in the inner circle. That someone is Kerry. But what will happen when Kerry realizes that for him, the romance is no longer pretend? Can Jericho love him back, or is he just playing a role?

Marriage of Inconvenience was an okay story. I like the idea behind the couple getting together as part of their jobs. They seem perfect for each other from the very beginning, but the delivery felt flat. Their connection didn’t fully develop, and their mood swings were ever present.

Just like other books in the series, this installment brings two men from different backgrounds into a relationship of convenience. The author did an excellent job describing the main characters and making their differences evident without being stereotypical. They both have a sound support system, which is refreshing in an era when gay men are seen as castaways.

The initial attraction between Jericho and Kerry seems force, and the misunderstandings were there for drama purposes only. I wanted to see more of the times between the MCs as friends and more interaction with the world in general. They were a bit shelter when considering they needed to change the public’s perspective of Jericho. Most of what we read was related to planning for those events.

Overall, this is a good story for fans of sweet and fluffy with a serving of smexy on the side.

As always, John Solo did a good job creating the characters for this story. I prefer Jericho’s voice more than Kerry’s, but in general, all the transitions were impeccable.

The cover for the audiobook is another adaptation from the e-book cover designed by Bree Archer. The model is definitely Jericho and the background let us know the story takes place in California.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: John Solo
Length: 5 hours and 35 minutes

Published:  September 12, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01LTDEEAI
Edition Language: English

 

A MelanieM Review: Open Road by M.J. O’Shea

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

open-road-by-m-j-osheaAngus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.

Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.

Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.

Open Road by M.J. O’Shea just hit all my buttons in a contemporary romance.  It had the right amount of realistic angst, terrific changes in location, a deep friendship that felt as real as an old school picture you keep on your wall, and a romance that slowly unfolds over the course of a journey.  One both geographical and emotional.

Of course it starts off with a romance that ends horribly with one half of the couple shattered and humiliated.  Our MC had already been feeling inadequate in almost every way in his relationship but Angus becomes depressed and unable to cope when his long term boyfriend leaves him for a younger version of himself. I felt myself falling completely into understanding and love with Angus here.  He is so believable as he reels from the humiliation he feels, the shame that he didn’t realize he had been cheated on, all the thoughts going through his head that leave him unable to function.  O’Shea puts us aside him, whether its laying next to him on the bed or crumpled on the floor, and makes us believe in this shattered man.

Our hopes (and his) will lie in his best friend.  That would be Reese, someone his old boyfriend despised and tried to cut out of his life to no avail.  These two have loved each other for most of their lives, have known each others families, they fit together  like puzzle pieces, except that Reese is straight of course.  Reese is another wonderful character here.  Layered, warm.  I could see Reese clearly in my  mind just within a few pages of O’Shea’s descriptions.  I knew exactly who Reese was. and what he meant to Angus.

But the real adventure for them and us starts on the road.  Circumstances which I won’t reveal compel Angus and Reese to head out on the road.  From city to city, where slowly Angus recovers and they discover that the love they have always felt for each other is something not just deep friendship but something more.  Its tenderhearted, authentic and moving.  And Angus’ recovery is not a smooth or easy one.  It can’t be with all he has emotionally gone through.  I appreciated that especially and it made where this couple ended up all  the more meaningful.

Highlights of the road trip?  It has to be New Orleans.  I almost wanted them to stay there.  It was magical, sexy and hot.  The ambiance that is New Orleans oozed off the page as did the love the author clearly has for the city and its people.  It left its spell on the couple and on me with this story.  I remember other locations, true, but none like I do their time in New Orleans.

The only thing that kept me from giving this a 5 star review was the last couple of pages. I don’t know…something about the ending felt a little too abrupt for a book and romance that took its time realistically getting to its final destination.  Perhaps I felt I didn’t need it, I was so happy with the story that came before.  Even now I’m not sure why the epilogue doesn’t sit quite right with me.  I know others won’t feel that way, just my opinion.  But all the rest of the story?  Glorious.  From rock bottom to recovery to love, this is a couple and novel I absolutely recommend.  Open Road by M.J. O’Shea is a terrific contemporary romance.  Grab it up and get started today.

Cover art by L.C. Chase is nice and has elements from the story.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published July 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Open Road
ISBN 1634773160 (ISBN13: 9781634773164)
Edition Language English
URL

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Marriage of Inconvenience by M.J. O’Shea

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Rating: 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 stars out of 5

perf4.250x7.000.inddLights, Camera, Lies.

Kerry Pickering has a problem. As a publicist for Hollywood bad boy Jericho Knox, it’s Kerry’s job to keep Jericho in the news. So far, Jericho’s partying and public escapades have made it easy. But Jericho has a secret, and when that secret is revealed in the most spectacularly disastrous way, it’s up to Kerry to spin it.

The team decides the best course of action is to make the public fall in love—with Jericho’s secret committed relationship. The one that doesn’t exist. Yet.

The team wants someone they can trust. Someone in the inner circle. That someone is Kerry. But what will happen when Kerry realizes that for him, the romance is no longer pretend? Can Jericho love him back, or is he just playing a role?

Marriage of Inconvenience by MJ O’Shea was another fun read in the Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner Press.  Who hasn’t seen those tabloids or TMZ? Right, expose’ city!  Here M.J. O’Shea uses it as the launching pad for the story and the romance of Marriage of Inconvenience.  Jericho Knox literally gets caught with his pants down by the paparazzi and now its up to his agents and publicists to put a spin on it that his followers will not only swallow but eat up and make him even more popular.  Hmmm.  What could that be?  Well how about a secret romance?  Now all they need is someone to fill the role.  Turns out the perfect person is the one who came up with the plan. Kerry Pickering.

Author O’Shea does a lovely job of defining her characters.  We get conflicted closeted Jericho risking his career in a seedy  bar, we understand shy driven Kerry trying to hold onto a job that isn’t the dream he hoped it would be.  Hollywood full of smashed hopes and fake imagery.  We get it.  Both Jericho and Kerry have to find their way through to their own reality about themselves and the possibility of a future together, if there’s even is one.   That’s both the fun and the drama of this story.

It moves along quickly, the romance builds nicely and the ending when it happens, although I felt it was a little rushed, was still the happy ending I expect from this series.

I happen to love the Dreamspun Desires Series.  Really its almost impossible to go wrong here.  The stories are quick reads, fun, wonderful romances.  The tropes usually recognizable and they translate well into M/M fiction.  What’s not to love?  I highly recommend you try them.  Why not start here?  Work your way through the series.  They make great summer reading or anytime of the year.

Cover art by Paul Richmond shows a brooding cover boy.  Not my favorite cover for the series.

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775287 (ISBN13: 9781634775281)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Audiobook Review: Duke in Hiding by M.J. O’Shea and Rusty Topsfield (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Duke In HidingEvery gentleman has something to hide.

Meeting Heath Blackwood, a gorgeous English farmer, is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to small-town landscaper Theo Brody, who has lived in quiet Maplehurst, New Hampshire, all his life. The sexy and secretive Brit shakes the foundations of his orderly world as they are swept up in a springtime romance neither can resist.

But Heath’s secrets run deeper than Theo ever imagined. He’s actually Heathcliff Pierrepont Blackwood, Duke of Kingston, in hiding from recent death threats. Suddenly there’s more separating them than the Atlantic Ocean, and Theo doubts he’ll ever fit in with English nobility. Though Heath and Theo are opposites in almost every way, their love might bridge the gap—if they’re willing to take the risk.

Duke in Hiding is a lovely friends-to-lovers story with a fairy tale twist. It’s a slow burn account of two men from two different worlds coming together to enjoy the simplicity of life in a small American town.

Heath comes to Maplehurst, NH to hide after receiving death threats. He’s the Duke of Kingston but is assuming the identity of a British farmer to avoid recognition. There isn’t much to do in town but his luck changes when he meets Theo Brody, a landscaper moonlighting as a bartender.

The night a brooding Brit entered the bar he worked part-time, Theo found him infuriating, but the more time they spent together, the more they learned how much they had in common. Through their daily meetings and following dates, we get to see how their relationship developed into true love. They had great chemistry, and their friendship was the base of their relationship.

There’s a lot happening in this story and more characters than necessary. Even when I enjoyed the story, I think it has a pacing problem. Some parts are too slow, and others are taken care with a line or two. We get unnecessary details through the story. And areas, where the reader might want to know more, were ignored.

Perhaps a little less time learning about plants and more getting to see more of the story resolution would have given this book a higher rating.

Rusty Topsfield did an excellent job making both main characters realistic. The author did create two distinct men, rooted in their countries’ characteristics and the narration helped the overall enjoyment of Heath’s and Theo’s relationship. All the secondary voices were spot on and gave the story a deepness that only reading couldn’t accomplish.

Paul Richmond’s cover matches the rest of the Dreamspun Desires series and the cover model fits Heath’s description.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield
Length: 5 hours and 8 minutes

Published: May 16, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01FMPWXZC
Edition Language: English