A Stella Review: Yes by Brad Boney ( a Double Dipping Review)

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

What if youth wasn’t wasted on the young?



Yes cover by Brad BoneyOn the eve of his fortieth birthday, Ian Parker is looking for a reboot. He may be the proud owner of a trendy coffee shop in Austin called La Tazza Magica, but his love life has been MIA for years. During a trip to Denver with his best friend, Mark, Ian buys an enchanted chocolate from a mysterious candy store—then wakes up from a nap two decades younger. After the initial shock, Ian realizes a quirk of the universe has given him a second chance and, with Mark’s help, he devises a plan to start over.

With a new lease on life, Ian sets his sights on handsome architect Bartley James, a regular customer at La Tazza. He pursues Bartley as Ian’s twenty-one-year-old alter ego, Ryan, with decidedly unexpected results. Joining Ryan on his adventures are Matthew, the dreamy new barista, Jeremy, the geeky high-school math teacher, and Sam, the pizza delivery boy. Even as misunderstandings and expectations collide, Ian remains determined to right his past mistakes and find his off-ramp to happiness.

 

Be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it!

The glow from the flame threw shadows around the kitchen as he sang “Happy Birthday” to himself. Then he closed his eyes and blew out the candle. Since no one could hear him, Ian didn’t see any harm in saying it out loud.

“I wish I could go back and do it all over again.”

Ian is the forty years old owner of “La Tazza Magica”, an European style cafè, a place for writes, students and players to come. Ian is a lonely man, apart from his coffee shop, he has very few people in his life, Mark is one of them. Ian is going to Denver with his friend to celebrate his fortieth birthday. During his time in Denver, he buys a chocolate kiss called Manick Butter (with pot in it) and eats it on the plane coming back to Austin. He takes a nap and when he wakes up he looks twenty years younger. After the initial shock, he and Mark will work on planning a new identity to Ian. So Ian becomes Ryan and he will use this second chance to remedy all the mistakes he made in his previous life and maybe to have a real chance at dating Bartley, one of his customers and biggest crush.

Yes by Brad Boney is one of that books that leave me thinking about them for long time, especially cause I’m still not sure if I liked it or not. Brad Boney is an author I really appreciate. He’s really good with words and his stories are always so interesting. The writing is enchanting. I couldn’t put the book down till the end. And it happens to me every time I read a book by Brad Boney, I’m glad to have read it.

Of course this book is a standalone, but I’m wondering why all Boney’s books (and I’m thinking about The Return, The Eskimo Slugger and The Nothingness Of Ben) aren’t part of a series, since the MCs of each story can be found in all these books, maybe it could be simple for the readers. Of course having read the other books first helped, but I honestly don’t think you’ll miss something in this book if you haven’t.

There are some recurrent elements in Boney’s books. First of all there are a lot of movies, songs, television characters mentions, sometimes I didn’t get them being Italian but I enjoyed them. In The Return we got a lot of discussions about songs and singers, while in Yes we had a really great discussion on the story of the porn and its actors. And I’m mentioning just one dialogue.

Then, what I loved in all of his books is the great second characters cast, we always get a lot of people, a lot of background, a lot of details. In Yes we meet Quentin, the smarter brother of Ben (The Nothingness Of Ben) and all the Walsh clan too. We meet Topher and the wonderful people of The Return. Most of all, we know Mark, who supports and accepts the change in Ian with not so much fussing. A friend that helps you no matter what, even in crazy and magical times. In fact, in Boney’s books there’s always a paranormal (or magical) aspect that brings the MCs together.

Yea has a mysterious aurea as in The Return, even if not in the same way but it missed the emotional parts of The Return and the chemistry of The Nothingness Of Ben. Yes is a light reading, an easy and pleasurable one. There are some funny moments too, like this scene:

“This is the test I was talking about. Read a couple of sentences.”
“Why?”
“I saw it on Teen Wolf. Stiles said you can’t read when you’re dreaming. We need to eliminate the possibility that this is a hallucination.”
“So that’s your first move? You’re taking a cue from an MTV show about werewolves? What happened to a logical explanation?

My problem, if it can be called problem, was that I couldn’t like Ian as Ryan, he did some really nasty and insane things in my opinion, he definitely didn’t learn from his past mistakes. Ian wakes up in a younger body but he is still Ian inside, so why does he behave as a teen? I couldn’t go past a couple of things: SPOILER

Let’s talk a little about the ending. Briefly it was an unexpected disappointment. The story resolved in the simplest way you can think of. Okay it’s a book, okay believing in a couple of things not everybody believes in, but it felt short to me, just too simplistic. Boney took me to other levels in the past. In Yes at the end it was almost as nothing had ever happened and it’s not a good feeling when you’re done with a book and you don’t know what to do about it. I’m still thinking I missed something.

So if you read the previous books by Brad Boney, you’ll know what to expect. Yes is a well written, funny and smart book. You will meet and know more about the characters you loved in them. I am really sorry to say that this one wasn’t so great as the others.

Cover art by Alex Saskalidis. This cover is something different and very welcomed. Well done.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press      All Romance (ARe)     Amazon    Buy It Here

BOOK DETAILS

Published March 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 220 pages
ISBN13 9781632168429
Edition language English

 

DSP

Review: Shock & Awe (Sidewinder #1) by Abigail Roux

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Shock & Awe CoverAfter being shot in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has returned home to his cabin in Colorado with fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty joining him to help him in his recovery.  Kelly and Nick, bonded through their years together as part of a Marine Force Recon team, have always loved each other like brothers but past confessions and the recent events in New Orleans has Kelly thinking past brotherly bonds into something far more intimate and sexual. During a quiet moment at the cabin Kelly asks Nick to kiss him and is surprised when Nick does.  But the kiss turns into something unexpected for each man…its deep, and warm and overwhelmingly sexual, and leaves Nick and Kelly wanting more.

That one kiss leads to others and only the reality of Kelly’s wounds keep the men from more.  Confused, Kelly and Nick try to examine their feelings not only towards each other but about a deeper commitment outside their band of brothers.  But the past has a way of intruding on the Sidewinders, pulling them towards danger and an uncertain future.  Can Nick and Kelly find their way through their confusion and doubts before they are called to duty once more?

Abigail Roux is killing me here.  I am still trying to recover from the events of Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) when Roux starts a new series about the Sidewinders, the Marine Recon group that Ty Grady is a part of, and has me in tears all over again.  But I am getting ahead of myself and this review.

Shock & Awe, the titles continuing in the tradition the author started in the Cut & Run series, is an expansion series into the tight band of brothers Abigail Roux introduced in the Cut & Run series.  We met the various members of the Sidewinders as they came to visit Ty Grady in Baltimore and through appearances made in several of the Cut & Run stories.  Nick, especially, was an important character in helping to understand Ty’s past and the close  bonds of the Sidewinder Marine Force Recon Unit.  Going too much into Nick O’Flaherty’s background would offer up spoilers for past stories but suffice it to say he and Ty have an unusual past history that is referenced here in Shock & Awe acting as an impetus for Kelly’s musings and startling request.  And while the others members of the unit (Digger, Owen, and yes Ty) make an appearance, Shock & Awe is focused on Kelly and Nick. It starts shortly after the events of Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7) where Kelly was shot in New Orleans when all the Sidewinders gathered to celebrate a birthday.

The smaller, more intimate setting of Kelly’s cabin is perfect for the introspection and actions that follow an unusual request from Kelly for a less than brotherly kiss from Nick.  Normally, Roux has a much larger canvas on which to place her characters and storyline but having one location lets the author (and readers) concentrate on the developing relationship and emerging emotions of Nick and Kelly.  I loved this aspect of the story.  The author had previously given the readers only a cursory introduction to Kelly while past stories made Nick an unwelcome intrusion into Ty and Zane’s relationship.  Now both characters get to stand on their own and this story turns them into the remarkable men that Roux had always intended us to see them as.  I had no trouble at all falling in love with both of them.  Here is a little window into their close relationship. They have just arrived at Kelly’s cabin and are getting settled:

Kelly made a derogatory sound and closed his eyes again. Nick pulled away, then gently covered him with the sheet.

Kelly may have been the corpsman, but Nick had always been the caretaker of the group. He’d been a wingman, fall guy, sounding board, and alibi. He’d been mother, father, big brother, and crazy uncle. Whatever they’d needed. He’d always been the one who’d made sure all the Sidewinder ducks were in a row, and he was probably the sole reason the house they’d all shared in Jacksonville hadn’t burned down.

It was so odd to think back on all those years and know that Nick had been hiding part of himself he thought he couldn’t share. It almost broke Kelly’s heart to think of all the secrets he’d spilled to Nick, all the things he’d gotten off his chest, but Nick had never been able to do the same.

And when Kelly’s heart breaks so does ours.

There is so much emotion, so many feelings packed into this story that I found it hard to believe it was only 92 pages long.  It was just long enough for me to fall completely in love with these two and time enough for Abigail Roux to break my heart not once but twice before the story ends.

Abigail Roux has proven over and over in each of her stories that she has the ability to make us believe in her characters, their passions and relationships.  She is also a proven master of the hidden agenda, cliffhangers and heartbreak.  You will find all of those here too.  Grab this book up and fall in love with Nick and Kelly.  The second story in the series, Bait & Switch (A Sidewinder story) is located after this one and will have you gnashing your teeth as well as crying quite a few tears, especially as it features Zane and Ty as well as Nick and Kelly.  This is a 2 tissue box affair from start to well…..just pick it up and starting reading.

If you are new to Abigail Roux and her connected series (Cut & Run and Sidewinder), it would be best to start at the beginning to understand all the relationships of the men mentioned.  Plus you will find yourself with two new addictions.  One is winding down.  There are only two more stories to go in the Cut & Run series.  I hope that Sidewinder enjoys just as long a run.   Don’t miss out on these remarkable men and this terrific author.

Cover by LC Chase.  I loved this.  The green cover sets it apart from the Cut & Run series while the shamrock continues the tradition of a single object helping to tie the series together.  Perfection.

Sidewinder series to date:

Shock & Awe (Sidewinder #2)
Bait & Switch (A Sidewinder story)

Cut & Run Series:

Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) Expected publication: March 15th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)
Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6)
Dine and Dash(Cut & Run #5.5)
Armed & Dangerous (Cut & Run #5) – by Abigail Roux
Divide & Conquer #4, Fish & Chips #3, Sticks & Stones #2, Cut & Run #1 – all of these written by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Book Details:

ebook, 92 pages
Expected publication: November 11th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
original title Shock & Awe
ISBN13 9781626490567
edition language English
characters Ty GradyZane Garrett, Nick O’Flaherty, Kelly Abbott