A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Life of Bliss (Love Life #2) by Erin McLellan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I loved this story! In an enemies-to-lovers theme, Todd and Victor start off as men who love to hate one another. But here’s the rub: they really don’t. Or, at least Victor doesn’t hate Todd. He goes to great lengths to keep Todd from knowing how much he cares about him, and their sexy, snarky behavior lights up a room. Heaven forbid they’d get into a relationship! But they do.

These characters were engaging right from the beginning and by the time they were planning to head to Victor’s cousin’s wedding, I was caught up in their story. When they actually arrived at the wedding and were embraced by his huge family, I was convinced this one was a book I’d like. But then it got even better. Their behavior toward one another at the wedding was spell-binding. Both men got a bit tipsy even before the ceremony, so their words and gestures toward one another were more subconscious and definitely more sexy and endearing than either had planned for—the looks, the touches—ahh, so satisfying to this reader. They continued to drink and then to dance and then they woke up married. Somewhere along the way it made perfect sense to them to go into the quaint little wedding-oriented town and tie the knot. They even had matching silicone wedding bands. And lo and behold, when they awoke the morning after, Todd didn’t pack up and run. They decided they’d give it a try over the course of the summer. Todd was, after all, a teacher so had the summer off. And since Victor lived in Oklahoma City, not Bison Hills where their besties Niles and Rusty lived, they could get away with keeping it a secret until they made their decision.

Of course, the best laid plans and all that. Here’s the thing: their personalities were very different. Victor was an all-in, “here’s my heart on a platter” kind of guy, but Todd was “let’s test the water, no one has ever wanted me in their life for long so I shouldn’t make plans to stay” sort of man. Their first months were fine, and the author spent most of that time cementing my love for both characters. And then the cracks started to appear when Victor was faced with financial insecurity from loss of employment and Todd was faced with a decision to quit his job, relocate, and lose his circle of friends—friends that were more like family to him.

In fact, it took me a while before I realized the secondary characters, Niles and Rusty, were the MCs from <i>Life on Pause</i>. Todd and Victor only had cameo appearances in the first book so I just didn’t make the connection. To be honest, I not sure why this isn’t billed as a sequel, but it really does stand alone and reading book one first should have no impact on a reader’s enjoyment of this story. Long story short, it just doesn’t matter. This one is perfect as is.

I really enjoyed the way the author managed to engage me in their lives—both of them. I cried with them, laughed with them, and labored over their decisions with them. And then I shared their heartache. Thankfully, by the end I was able to share the joy as they made their final decision and started down the path to their HEA. Totally satisfying, fulfilling, enjoyable story! Very highly recommended.

~~~

The brightly colored cover depicts two young men, one hugging the other other from behind. Both are laughing and apparently having fun—the perfect depiction of Todd and Victor.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EkB3aU

B&N: https://bit.ly/2GyuHqa

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2GvhZMW

iBooks: https://apple.co/2H6hiXk

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2GvampN

Smashwords: https://bit.ly/2GxnlHq

Books2Read/Universal Links: https://books2read.com/lifeofbliss

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2qv6qLz

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 30th 2018 by Erin McLellan
Original TitleLife of Bliss
ISBN139781732173415
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLove Life #2

Erin McLellan on Writing, Locations, and her release Life of Bliss (Love Life #2) by Erin McLellan

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Life of Bliss (Love Life #2) by Erin McLellan

Release Date: April 30, 2018

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Erin McLellan here today to talk about the characters in her latest story, Life of Bliss.  Welcome, Erin.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Erin McLellan ~

Who inspired Victor’s character? 

He was very likeable as the BFF who was a rock for Niles while Skyping with him from his job on a cruise ship throughout Life on Pause. I don’t usually go into detail on a secondary character in a review but I did for him when I reviewed Life on Pause. 

Is he based on someone you’ve met?  And, by the way, thank you for giving him his own story in this sequel.  

You’re welcome! I am so happy you loved Victor! He was one of those characters that just seemed to jump off the page when I started writing him. When I was drafting Life on Pause, I didn’t have clear plans to write him and/or Todd a sequel, but he ended up being so charismatic and fun that I didn’t want to let him go.

I wouldn’t say that Victor is based on any one person, but when I originally wrote him, I thought a lot about the friends in my life. It was really important to me that he be an awesome friend, and I’m lucky to have had a lot of good examples to pull from. Also, a handful of Victor’s one-liners are courtesy of my friend, Dillon. They both have very snarky, quirky senses of humor, and I’d often have conversations with Dillon that ended with me saying, “Can I steal that joke for my book?” And he always says yes because he’s wonderful. Life of Bliss is dedicated to him.

What was your favorite scene in Life of Bliss?

Oh! This is such a hard one. My favorite is the scene during Remy’s wedding reception. Todd and Victor get increasingly tipsy and their feelings for each other peek through. Of course, when their inhibitions start to lower, they get this crazy idea that they should elope! It was the first scene I envisioned—the origin, so to speak—when I thought of the story!

I also have a soft spot for the scene with the possum, and any scene that involves sticky notes.

Who or what inspired this enemies to lovers story?

In Life on Pause, where the characters first meet, their disdain for each other is pretty explosive, but their chemistry was somewhat of a happy accident, I guess. I hadn’t planned it. Though, I have to admit that my husband and I were not the best of friends when we first met, so perhaps I pulled sub-consciously from that experience a bit!

Other parts of the story had more real-life inspiration. My husband and I went to Eureka Springs, AR, one of the settings in the story, before we were married. We loved it and were really tickled by all the wedding-themed stuff. A lot of the Oklahoma City scenes are based on real places, like the gay bar and some of the restaurants. Lastly, the idea for this story came from one of my late-maternal grandmother’s diary entries. She wrote about how a lot of her friends didn’t have weddings during the Korean War, but instead eloped to Arkansas where there was no marriage-license waiting period. That tidbit has always stuck in my head, especially as some places in Arkansas, like Eureka Springs, have very wedding-themed economies.

What do you enjoy most about writing MM romances? 

It’s important to me to write queer characters, and while I’ve now written three m/m romances, I plan to write m/f and f/f as well. In fact, I’m writing an m/f with a bisexual woman right now!

I’ve had fun writing m/m romances set in the Great Plains (like Oklahoma) because it’s not a setting I’ve seen very often in m/m romance, and when I have, it’s the place people are trying to escape from, or they’re all cowboys. Not to knock cowboys, because they’re great, but they certainly aren’t common anymore. I grew up in Oklahoma, so I know a ton of queer people who have built their lives there, who cope with the good and the bad of living in a conservative, flyover state every day. It’s important to me to show what that might look like.

Lastly, I enjoy writing soft, squish-worthy heroes, so why not write two in one story!

Life of Bliss Tagline:

Pretending to be boyfriends is easy. Being accidental husbands is not.

Blurb:

Nobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy-with-benefits.

Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.

Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.

In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.

But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was not their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.

Series: Love Life #2 (note: can be read as a standalone)

Genre: m/m contemporary romance

Length: 53,000 words

Buy Links:

Author Bio:

Erin McLellan writes contemporary romance with characters that are complex, goodhearted, and sometimes a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.

Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. Though no longer a public librarian, Erin still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but now she hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well.

Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska with her husband and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.erinmclellan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emclellanwrites

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

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/erinmclellanwri/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/erin-mclellan

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16700859.Erin_McLellan

 

Giveaway

Here is a Rafflecopter giveaway for 3 copies of Life on Pause. It runs from April 30-May 7 and the author will contact the winners! Must be 18 years of age or older.  Good luck everyone!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/25596f903/?

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