A Lucy Review: Dine With Me by Layla Reyne

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

I have to get it out there right away that the foodie parts of this book were outstanding to read.  As an aficionado of Food Network, Cooking Channel, Check Please, and so on, I love to hear about amazing food.  The fact that I have absolutely no palate makes the reading and watching all the more for me.  We definitely get that here but that isn’t the whole of the story.

This was a rough read for me because I’ve lived through the cancer hell with my husband (who is nearly five years cancer-free, thankfully).  I can’t imagine what I would do if he had decided he would have no treatment, which is what Miller does.  His year has been horrific.  He and his best friend wife, Sloan,  are divorcing – a good thing but a painful change nonetheless; his first solo restaurant has just closed due to lack of customers and he has been diagnosed with throat cancer, the treatment of which has only a 50% chance of success and could very well rob him of his sense of taste.  Since Miller lives and breathes food art, this is unacceptable for him. “He swept his hand over their plate, then gestured at the table.  “I can’t imagine a life where I can’t taste any of it, which is a very real possibility if I get the treatment.”   He wants to go out as is and he also doesn’t want his friends or family to have to go through that with him with no guarantee of a positive outcome.  It is heartbreaking.

The book begins with the ad  – “Dine with me – the culinary experience of a lifetime.”  For the bankroll of the tour, someone will get to go along with Miller (who remains unnamed) for a two week, eight meal foodie heaven of Miller’s favorite places, the ones he wants to say goodbye too. Of course Clancy, who is gifted this trip by his parents as a gift before beginning practice with his dad as a plastic surgeon, doesn’t know why Miller is doing this, just that he gets to do it. 

Clancy has his own issues – he wants to work oncology and not plastic surgery but he loves his dad and doesn’t want to disappoint him.  “He didn’t want to disappoint his father; he looked forward to working with him too.  Who wouldn’t want to work with their best friend? Even if the work wasn’t exactly what he wanted to do, Clancy was good at it.”

The tour destinations are not disclosed, although Sloane knows and Clancy’s mother knows (as she is a travel expert, she books the hotels and travel to the destinations) but Miller won’t tell Clancy until they arrive at each place. Clancy is unaware of the health issues of Miller, but of course he studied oncology, so he does eventually figure it out.

I did think it was unfair of him to make Sloan promise not to tell anyone, including their other best friend, Greg.  Greg and Sloan are having a double wedding in the summer, a wedding that Miller won’t be alive for without treatment.  The moment when Greg asks Miller to be his best person and Miller says no, I wanted to just hug Greg.  Miller won’t tell him why and what kind of best friend does that?  He’s so worried about people knowing, but as Sloan says, “If you don’t get treatment, you’re going to be dead in six months.  Everyone’s going to know anyway.”

The whole Sloan aspect shows what a loyal, caring person Miller is and it makes it even harder to watch as he gets sicker.  It adds such an air of sorrow to the story as Miller faces his death, gracefully but so stubborn you want to shake him.  The more he and Clancy fall for each other, the harder it gets. “You’ll be an amazing oncologist.  You made the end of my life more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.  Thank you.”  Yep, cue the crying.

Both men have soul-searching to do, though only one has a time bomb ticking in his body.  The connection between Clancy and Miller was absolutely believable and I loved that Dr. Clancy Rhodes usually wore t-shirts and hoodies and was a crabby when hungover.  Adorable.  And that Miller, the award-winning, Michelin rated chef, loves simple, comfort food most of all.

I would recommend this for the characters, the writing and the food!

Cover art, showing an elegant table, fits perfectly.

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: September 16th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 148805391X (ISBN13: 9781488053917)
Edition Language English

An Ashlez Review: Goalie Interference (Hat Trick #2) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

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Rating – 5 out of 5 slapshots

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn… 

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom is looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

I said this after the first book but I truly adore hockey romances, especially when they’re done well and have a lot of hockey in it – it’s like I’m in the game but not and it’s amazing.  The worldbuilding for the Venom is just amazing to me, the whole team and everything about them.
My brother was a goalie throughout his school years and I know what hard work and how hard they work to get where they are, and some of the descriptions in this book are so on par it’s unreal.
I loved Ryu he was my favourite side in the first book and I’m so glad I got to continue on with his story – he seemed so father figure and rigid and I’m glad to see Emmitt was so good at bantering with him – I loved the relationship progression of course, it felt smooth and easy.

Hockey fans/steamy romance fans ..definitely check out this book it’s 5/5 slapshots for sure!

Cover art: Goalies, so apt, but the contrast colours are so appealing and popping!

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: September 30th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488053804 (ISBN13: 9781488053801)
Edition Language English
Series Hat Trick #2
Characters Ryu Mori, Emmitt Armstrong
setting Atlanta, Georgia (United States)

Hat Trick Series

Off the Ice

Goalie Interference

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Arctic Heat (Frozen Hearts #3) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This is the best of the series! There’s animosity, misunderstandings, dirty sex play, sexual awakening, coming out, coworkers to lovers, a dramatic avalanche, sweet romantic gestures, a dog, and finally a HEA. Just totally wonderful.

Owen Han, thirtysomething, former investment banker and cancer survivor, is working his way through his bucket list when he’s selected as a volunteer to assist National Park Service staff in Alaska over the winter. He’s sure nothing could be more fulfilling, until…he lays eyes on Quill Ramsey, fortysomething career park ranger. Tall, muscular, rugged, the epitome of the great outdoors, Quill is sure to be straight. But when he also turns out to be quiet, deeply closeted, and set in his rigid rules, Owen starts to rethink that bucket list.

Nevertheless, flirting comes natural to Owen, and Quill isn’t unaffected. Over time, in the dark of winter, Quill starts to thaw toward the naturally effusive, warm and caring Owen. And Owen starts to see beneath the twenty-year-experience veneer Quill has managed to hide behind. The two become more friendly and ultimately find satisfaction in more than flirtation. But Quill’s sexual awakening is not typical as Owen, though smaller, has side effects from his cancer treatment and Quill, though larger, is turned on by Owen’s take-charge attitude. Add in feelings and there’s more here than either man is comfortable with. Quill, true to his reticent nature, walks away and then regrets it, creating an emotional tug of war for both characters.

Revealing how the author resolves their standoff, and what happens next, would be a spoiler I won’t list here. But let’s just say Quill has an eye-opening experience, actually two, one immediately following the other, and he’s lucky to keep Owen in his life. Adding to the pleasure of the story is the brief cameo appearance of Griffin and River from Arctic Sun. Overall, as I said above, I loved this book. Both men were realistically portrayed, and I can’t decide who I liked most—Owen with his gregarious personality—never met a stranger he didn’t know sort of guy—or Quill, totally buttoned-up rule follower, who had the heart of a lamb hidden in his stoic persona and totally melted into a puddle when Owen came into his life. No matter who it is, however, I can promise readers a treat with this one. Very highly recommended and it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.

Cover art by Carina Press art department is lovely and works for the characters and storyline.

Sales Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y3KUk9

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Heat-Audiobook/1488206864

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-heat-annabeth-albert/1129779475?ean=9781488053610#/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-heat-4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Heat?id=8o6QDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-heat/id1458215728

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 23rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488053618 (ISBN13: 9781488053610)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts #3

Frozen Hearts Series

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Oh, my! This book has so many of my favorite tropes that I really enjoyed it immensely. I’d tag it age gap, May-December, slow burn, men with children, family drama, Alaska, hurt-comfort, and second chances. Plus, it had a sneak peek at past characters Griff and River to let us know how they are doing.

As the story opens, Reuben is irritated when he learns his friends aren’t going to make the flight to Alaska to begin the vacation they’d insisted he take to destress from his high-powered corporate law office. Add to his irritation the fact that his ex-wife needs an immediate answer about buying out his share in their law firm and he’s not a happy man when he boards the tiny plane in Alaska to begin a solo tour with a chatty tour operator named Toby.

Toby has been providing for his ailing father and younger sister for years so he’s no stranger to responsibility. And he’s flown this trip many, many times over his favorite areas in Alaska and is happy to give personal attention to his solo traveler. Too bad the silver fox is grumpy and straight, or so he thinks. But halfway through the trip, a sudden storm causes them to crash, and it’s Reuben who rescues Toby before their plane catches fire. 

I loved the way the author took both men out of their comfort zones and allowed them to have new experiences and new perspectives—aha moments, so to speak. One of my favorites came at the end of the book when both men acknowledge that the summer they spent together has been all about second chances and what they plan to do with those chances. I’m glad the author didn’t make the crash site the entire setting of the story and, instead, gave them the perfect excuse to spend a few months together and infuse a few other interesting characters into the mix.

Both characters are well-developed and engaging, and added to the chemistry between Reuben and Toby, we have a 14-year-old teen daughter for Reuben who was a spot-on perfect example of an annoying teen girl of that age. (Been there. Had that!) Watching her slowly gravitate toward her father, and he to her, was heartwarming. Meanwhile, Toby had to learn to rely on help from others, giving him a new perspective on how his father has felt for years. Both men changed over the time they spent together during Toby’s recuperation, and the changes had a ripple effect on their families.

When they allowed themselves to live their dreams, the impossible became possible. Set against the background of the most majestic state I’ve ever visited, how could I not love this story? I highly recommend this to lovers of MM romance, especially those who love the tags I mention at the beginning of this review.

The cover predominantly features glorious Alaska scenery with a top pane that holds a partial shot of the MCs’ faces.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

New Release Spotlight: Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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New Release Spotlight:

Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert

Series: Frozen Hearts, #2

Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): eBook June 3, 2019 / Print MMP June 25, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): approx. 105,000 words / 400 pages

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Warnings: None

Order now:

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-wild-2

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-wild/id1449963570

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Wild?id=Gfp_DwAAQBAJ

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335006905_arctic-wild.html

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-wild-annabeth-albert/1129779447

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006907

Book synopsis:

When a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the best place to land is in the arms of a younger man…

Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.

Just his luck.

But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.

As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.

Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.

Read an excerpt from ARCTIC WILD:

“Doing better?” Toby’s voice was kind, and Reuben couldn’t help but enjoy the way he really did seem to care about whether Reuben was miserable or not.

“Yeah. I am. Thank you.” And he could admit that he’d used his phone at the restaurant in part to avoid staring at the handsome guide—a trick he’d used before to keep from revealing more than he wanted to. Because Toby truly was that attractive with those soul-deep dark eyes and chiseled face and lean body, and the more time he spent around him, the more Reuben found himself caught up in his charms. He had to keep reminding himself that arousal was every bit as unwanted as airsickness.

“We’re turning into Harris Bay now. You should have a good view of the glacier field.”

Field turned out to be something of a misnomer, as it was more like undulating rivers of snow and glaciers. The whole region reminded Reuben of a giant bowl, only the walls were granite and lined with hanging glaciers and impossibly tall. It was like something out of a movie, and for the first time, he understood why Craig had been so keen on coming. The scenery was unlike anything he’d seen before, and he’d seldom felt so small and insignificant as he did when confronted with the vastness of the landscape. He was more used to feeling like the gear in the center of a machine, everything else rotating around him. These sensations of having shrunk and being a speck in time compared to eons of ice were more than a little disconcerting, but also riveting at the same time.

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

Giveaway:

Win one paperback set of Arctic Sun, Arctic Wild, and a swag prize pack!

18 to enter, open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Oh, my! This book has so many of my favorite tropes that I really enjoyed it immensely. I’d tag it age gap, May-December, slow burn, men with children, family drama, Alaska, hurt-comfort, and second chances. Plus, it had a sneak peek at past characters Griff and River to let us know how they are doing.

As the story opens, Reuben is irritated when he learns his friends aren’t going to make the flight to Alaska to begin the vacation they’d insisted he take to destress from his high-powered corporate law office. Add to his irritation the fact that his ex-wife needs an immediate answer about buying out his share in their law firm and he’s not a happy man when he boards the tiny plane in Alaska to begin a solo tour with a chatty tour operator named Toby.

Toby has been providing for his ailing father and younger sister for years so he’s no stranger to responsibility. And he’s flown this trip many, many times over his favorite areas in Alaska and is happy to give personal attention to his solo traveler. Too bad the silver fox is grumpy and straight, or so he thinks. But halfway through the trip, a sudden storm causes them to crash, and it’s Reuben who rescues Toby before their plane catches fire. 

I loved the way the author took both men out of their comfort zones and allowed them to have new experiences and new perspectives—aha moments, so to speak. One of my favorites came at the end of the book when both men acknowledge that the summer they spent together has been all about second chances and what they plan to do with those chances. I’m glad the author didn’t make the crash site the entire setting of the story and, instead, gave them the perfect excuse to spend a few months together and infuse a few other interesting characters into the mix.

Both characters are well-developed and engaging, and added to the chemistry between Reuben and Toby, we have a 14-year-old teen daughter for Reuben who was a spot-on perfect example of an annoying teen girl of that age. (Been there. Had that!) Watching her slowly gravitate toward her father, and he to her, was heartwarming. Meanwhile, Toby had to learn to rely on help from others, giving him a new perspective on how his father has felt for years. Both men changed over the time they spent together during Toby’s recuperation, and the changes had a ripple effect on their families.

When they allowed themselves to live their dreams, the impossible became possible. Set against the background of the most majestic state I’ve ever visited, how could I not love this story? I highly recommend this to lovers of MM romance, especially those who love the tags I mention at the beginning of this review.

The cover predominantly features glorious Alaska scenery with a top pane that holds a partial shot of the MCs’ faces.

Sales Links: Kobo | Barnes & NobleAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 3rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488051275 (ISBN13: 9781488051272)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts :

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild

Arctic Heat coming soon

HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You?

 

Here we are sailing into May.  Hard to believe, right?  Weather is still all topsy turvy with Spring blossoms vying with snowflakes depending upon where you live.  Here its’ winds and pollen, blossoms and varying temperatures.  All of which makes staying indoors and reading or listening a great way to spend the time.

Which segues into this Sunday’s topic.  HFN Or HEA?  What makes a story a HEA or HFN for you?  That came up last night as I finished reading a story I wanted to review this week.  It ended on a great note.  There was a proposal, the couple was definitely in love (yes, having declared it previously), but no wedding.  Just a proposal.  Also there is a child in the mix, that while a custody battle was semi settled, there wasn’t a permanent solution figured out.  Just a “feeling” that everything was going to work out in the end.  New job, etc.  It got me thinking.  How would I classify that ending?  I believe that author has it as a HEA.  And in many ways I can see that.  They are a committed couple, engaged.  They see themselves as a family unit going forward so yes, ok.

But….for me, there is also a lot of things still “up in the air” so to speak.  Elements in their lives that need settling before I might consider this a HEA.  Maybe more stability …I just don’t know why the feeling of that HEA totally escaped me here.  But it did.  Perhaps since we get to see progress of other couple from the story here, this might carry through to the third novel.  The author has a way of progressing her characters through her series, maturing the relationships or letting the readers see a progression in bits and pieces.

But again, it got me thinking why does one ending leave me so completely satisfied with the fate and relationship for a couple and another , nodding in recognition of a HFN?  And before I continue further I should say that HFN means Happy For Now and HEA means Happily Ever After.  Sign, sometimes I just assume people know what those terms mean.  HFN is where the couple might face an uncertain future, it could be temporary with a HEA still in play.  But life always manages to throw in obstacles in the path to HEA so for me HFN has always felt a more realistic choice in some cases however my heart wants a HEA for everyone.

I mean can you have a HEA after a short amount a time?  I’m talking about stories where the couples meet, fall in love in a week or two and have a HEA?  Possible?  Maybe ….or maybe not.  Maybe a HFN feels more authentic.

What makes a HEA feel real to you?

For me it’s where I have been on the journey with the couple to find their HEA, the relationship dynamics and characters felt real and believable.  I’ve watched the romance grow in depth, from stage to stage until everything comes to a culmination that says they made it, they are an established couple with a future ahead of them that we can and do believe in.  It’s golden (even if certain authors are then going to put them through the wringer lol).   Eventually we know they will toddle off together happy as rainbow clams.

But that’s me.  What’s your definition?  What elements have to be in play for a story to be a HEA for you ?  Or a HFN?  Let me know….a gift cert will be in your future.  Cut off date in 2 weeks time.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 28:

  • HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz – Clare London’s The Accidental Baker

Monday, April 29:

  • Review Tour – Love Is A Walk In The Park – V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey
  • Review Tour – Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz for Annabelle Jacobs ‘ Wounded Soul
  • DSP PROMO Amanda Meuwissen on Coming Up for Air
  • An Ashlez Review: Sweating Lies – Criminal Delights: Taken (Lies #1) by Emma Jaye
  • A MelanieM Review: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey

Tuesday. April 30:

  • PROMO Mourning Dove by R.R. Campbell
  • Blog Tour – Sweating Lies – Criminal Delights: Taken  Lies #1) by Emma Jaye
  • Blog Tour – Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • An Alisa Review: Rescued by Love by Deirdre O’Dare
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Coming Up for Air by Amanda Meuwissen
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Murder Most Lovely (Lacetown Murder Mysteries #1) by Hank Edwards and, Deanna Wadsworth
  • A MelanieM Review: Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon

Wednesday, May 1:

  • Review Tour – Montana Sky (Montana #6) by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour – Lillian Francis – Under The Radar
  • Release Blitz – Bryan T. Clark – Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • Release Blitz Made For You by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Review : Under The Radar by Lillian Francis
  • A Lucy Review: All My Fault by Michael Gouda
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Montana Sky (Montana #6) by RJ Scott

Thursday, May 2:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: RUNNING ON EMPTY, a Havoc novel by SE Jakes
  • Release Blitz – 717 miles by Sophia Soames
  • DSP PROMO Murder Most Lovely by Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth
  • Blog Post – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard (Glasgow Lads 4.5)
  • An Ali Review:Starting from Zero by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review :717 miles by Sophia Soames
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Destructive Forces by Harry F. Rey

Friday, May 3:

  • The Doctor’s Secret by Heidi Cullinan Tour
  • Blog Tour – Unimaginable by Iyana Jenna
  • Release Blitz – GB Gordon – Match Grade (Criminal Delights)
  • An Alisa Review: Unimaginable by Iyana Jenna
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs #4) by L.A. Witt
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter
  • A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Saturday, May 4  May the Fourth Be With You!:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Gina Harris and Anne Key
  • A MelanieM Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

 

A MelanieM Review: Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.

He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.

Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…

River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.

With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.

Arctic Sun is another successful contemporary romance from Annabeth Albert, one of my go to authors. This wonderful story manages to combine the breathtaking scenery and isolated landscape of Alaska with the romance between two  complicated, wounded men, highly different on the surface and yet so alike deep underneath.

With the state of Alaska as a third main character as well as a location, Albert also deals with some serious subject matter, also through her two main men.  While it’s obvious from the start that each man is struggling with some demon or demons, what they are exactly is a slower reveal.  The exact nature of what each man is battling is hinted at and given away in the synopsis so I don’t mind spelling it out here.  For Griffin Barrett, it’s sobriety and gambling.  For River, a eating disorder and a toxic way of life.  And neither one has exactly finished dealing with their addictions in a way that’s helping them move forward.  One is hiding and one is running.

Both away from themselves until they find each other in Alaska.  And Annabeth Albert brings us intimately into their journey and the larger than life wonder that is Alaska.

I loved the use of the photography group as a format for bringing Griffin out of his typical hermit like state and the other participants were great characters.  It let the model River slowly ease away to the real person underneath and I enjoyed that journey as much as Griffin.  And all the sights they took in. The locations and the beauty of Alaska is described in depth as is the joys of travels by aircraft of all sizes and type.  What I did think was underplayed was the long arctic nights and extreme cold as well as the distance between people and small towns. But that’s perhaps for another story as this is but the first in a series.

The complications, angst, and rediscovery here is saved for River and Griffin.  It’s one tough journey and a very rewarding one.  I loved the men and the HFN they received at the end.  It was realistic and heartwarming.  And I’m ready for more.

An Annabeth Albert story is a cause for joy.  The people are so real, the books so well written, that you just fall into them fully, connecting with the romance and their lives.    I highly recommend all her series and this story.  Pick them and this up and get started today.

Cover art is gorgeous with the seaplane and the mountains in the backdrop.

Buy now:
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488051258_arctic-sun.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006885/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-sun-annabeth-albert/1129705419
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/arctic-sun/id1438313132
kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/arctic-sun-1
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Sun?id=G55zDwAAQBAJ
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Sun-Audiobook/1488206201

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by Carina Press
ASINB07J3C79NH
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts #1

Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders

Frozen Hearts Series

Arctic Sun

Arctic Wild  cpming June 3rd

Blog Tour Spotlight and Giveaway : Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Blog Tour Spotlight: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

Series (name + # in series): Frozen Hearts, #1

Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): eBook: Monday, April 1, 2019 |Print (mmp): Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): eBook: approx. 95,000 words| Print: 384 pages

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance, Male/Male Romance

Warnings: Publisher’s Note: Arctic Sun deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including sobriety and eating disorders.

Buy now:
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488051258_arctic-sun.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006885/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-sun-annabeth-albert/1129705419
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/arctic-sun/id1438313132
kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/arctic-sun-1
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Sun?id=G55zDwAAQBAJ
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Sun-Audiobook/1488206201

Book synopsis:
Everything’s bigger in Alaska, especially the HEAs. Annabeth Albert kicks off the brand-new Frozen Hearts series with Arctic Sun, an opposites-attract romance between a rugged outdoorsman and a smoking hot former male model.

He’s built a quiet life for himself in Alaska. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the unrelenting pull of a man who’s everything he shouldn’t want.

Ex-military mountain man Griffin Barrett likes his solitude. It keeps him from falling back into old habits. Bad habits. He’s fought too hard for his sobriety to lose control now. However, his gig as a wildlife guide presents a new kind of temptation in superhot supermodel River Vale. Nothing the Alaskan wilderness has to offer has ever called to Griffin so badly. And that can only lead to trouble…

River has his own methods for coping. Chasing adventure means always moving forward. Nobody’s ever made him want to stand still—until Griffin. The rugged bush pilot is the very best kind of distraction, but the emotions he stirs up in River feel anything but casual, and he’s in no position to stay put.

With temptation lurking in close quarters, keeping even a shred of distance is a challenge neither’s willing to meet. And the closer Griffin gets to River, the easier it is to ignore every last reason he should run.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 95,000 words

About the author: Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth:
Website: http://annabethalbert.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annabethalbert?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbertauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv
Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Check out this teaser: The mountain man scowled at River. The older guy next to him was the one splashed all over the website— well-known photographer Roger Barrett—with the sort of craggy features that suggested a long life lived in the sun. He smiled at River, shaking his hand, and telling him what a fan his sister-in-law and nieces were of his book. But it wasn’t the old guy who held River’s attention at all. No, that was all reserved for Mr. Tall, Dark, and Cranky, who clearly didn’t share Roger’s good opinion of River, but good heavens, the man certainly made all those rumors about mountains and fresh air resulting in larger-than-average humans seem true.

He totally looked the mountain man part too— shaggy brown hair, the sort of tan that River’s friends would pay good money to emulate, hazel eyes that re- minded River of the greenish brown stone of a mosque he’d visited in Istanbul. And muscles for days. Big, broad shoulders stretching the fabric of a denim shirt, thighs like tree trunks, and that scowl. This was a guy who would be at home playing the sheriff in some old west drama. Or maybe a gunslinger…

Giveaway: Enter to win 1 of 2 paperback copies of Arctic Sun + a fun-filled swag pack! Must be 18 to enter and win, open internationally.

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