A Stella Review: Motorcycle Man by Sarah Hadley Brook

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RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Motorcycle shop owner Ben Makowski offers a three-day class for new riders. When he finds out one of his students doesn’t even like motorcycles, he’s irritated but drawn to the man at the same time. Though he can clearly see the new student is dealing with something difficult, Ben sets out to get to know what that might be and if he can help in any way.

Writer Angus Winter’s publisher has insisted he learn about motorcycles for an upcoming book, which is the last thing he wants to do. His fear of motorcycles stems from a tragedy in his past. But something about his sexy new teacher makes him want to open up to the man. Can Angus trust Ben with the burden he’s carried for so long?

Motorcycle Man is a lovely and emotional short about Angus and Ben, two persons so different from each other, it seems impossible something between them can happen. Angus is not Ben’s type, still the spark is there from the start, so strong probably the lust at first sight could become love.

Angus is a writer and he has been forced by his publisher to attend Ben’st class even if he wants nothing to do with motorcycles. Ben is drawn to the young redhaired cutie and he knows there is something underneath his unwillingness, anyway he is too attracted to Angus to let him go away.

This is a short story, just forty pages and there is really not much space for a lot of development or background about the characters, but the author told me what I needed to know to actually enjoy the story. I met the important persons in Ben’s life, I discovered why Angus is so scared of bikes, I felt his pain and I saw a potential HEA between the MCs.

I’m pretty satisfied with Motorcycle Man and I will continue to read the author next works.

The cover designed by Written Ink Designs is simple and clean, I like it.

SALE LINKS: AMAZON  |  JMS BOOKS

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 41 pages

Published January 13th 2018 by JMS Books LLC

ASIN B0785WKFT9

Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Finnegan’s Promise by Carol Lynne

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

How much will it cost Fin to keep his promise?

 

During the off-season, professional football player Calder Finnegan returns to Boston to help run his estranged father’s pub. Little did he know he’d find the love of his life in the pub’s bartender, Mick Sullivan. Fin soon discovers his father has only weeks to live. All his hopes of getting to know the man who always seemed too busy to be a father are dashed. With Mick’s help, Fin begins the healing process between father and son and through this some of Mick’s wounds are healed as well. When Fin makes a deathbed promise to his father, he’ll do anything to keep that promise. Even if it costs him his lover and his career.

 

This was a nice story in which I liked the concept.  Both Fin and Mick have essentially been hiding for years; Fin from others finding out he was gay and Mick from his fame.  They both quickly fall for each other but it’s the logistics and the real world that they need to learn how to deal with.

 

While I liked this story I had a bit of a hard time connecting with the characters.  We see both of the characters’ points of views so we can see what they are thinking.  There was definitely insta-love in this story, which isn’t usually a problem for me but I didn’t see them really building a deep relationship and future throughout the story like I thought I would.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and understated.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 114 pages

Published: 2nd edition July 18, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786516008

Edition Language: English

A Kai Review: Nate And The New Yorker (Nate and Cameron #1) by Kevin Klehr

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Cameron had it all. He was rich, lived in Manhattan, and even had a cross-dressing butler. But then he met Nate, an Australian who was bitter about love. Cameron was determined to turn this realistic into a dreamer by sharing his world of classy restaurants, Broadway shows, and fabulous parties. And while Nate’s friends saw the makings of a fantasy romance, it was Nate who had to learn that in order to open his heart, he had to face a painful secret.
 
Well, It wasn’t easy to start this review. Actually, when I finished the book I had mixed feelings. But after thinking about everything I’m pretty sure this book didn’t work for me as it could.
 
Although I liked the writing style, I didn’t like the rhythm of the story. It was so fast paced and the situation was rushed and unclear. 
 
I also didn’t like Cameron. He was a total dreamer, spoiled and unrealistic. He fell in love with Nate after a week, and ok, I would buy it if I had seen their interaction. But the author skipped these parts. He just showed the first and the last day of them together in New work, and even that was short and rushed. How can the reader relate to a love so fast if the situations where they interact with each other was out of the book? Needless to say, I couldn’t buy them as a couple. Even when they were together I didn’t feel the connection between them. The story was told in Nate POV and in any moment it felt like he was in love with Cameron. 
Although not loving Nate, I liked him. He was a lot more down to earth than Cameron and his interaction with his friends was great.
 
Almost in the end of the book, I realized the story wasn’t really about Nate and Cameron as a couple. This book was about Nate trying and moving on from his past. He had a secret and was stuck in the past and couldn’t break free. It made my eyes tear up when I learned his story. That realization was why my feelings were a little mixed about this novel and why I had, at first, problems rating this book. 
But in general, the book just didn’t work. The plot had so much potential, could be a so great story but the development was lame. I think if the author at least hadn’t cut Cameron and Nate interaction and the story hadn’t been so fast paced, I could have enjoyed it.
 
Even though I didn’t like this book and wouldn’t read it again, I’m looking forward to the next one in the series. Just because I’m curious and want to know if the next will be less rushed. 
 
The cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and suits the book. The image of a gray city can represent the way Nate couldn’t really enjoy New York city because of his past. And in front of it, Cameron as a powerful man and in color, who was supposed to help Nate to let the past behind. I like it.
Sales Links
 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nate-New-Yorker-Cameron-Book-ebook/dp/B071DCJCSJ

 
Book Details:
 
Ebook: 85 pages
Publication 2 edition: May 1st, 2017 by NineStar Press
Séries: Nate and Cameron
 
Main Characters

A MelanieM Review: Arctic Fire by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

arctic-fire-by-keira-andrewsWhen two strangers are trapped in a blizzard, heat rises.

Haunted by what he lost in Afghanistan, Captain Jack Turner is at a crossroads. While the last place he wants to go is the Arctic, at least the routine mission gets him out from behind his new desk. But he starts off on the wrong foot with the Canadian Ranger guiding him across the forbidding and dangerous land, and Jack would rather be anywhere than sharing a tent with Sergeant Kin Carsen.

The Arctic is in Kin’s blood, and he can’t seem to leave the tundra behind. He wishes he could live openly as a gay man, but the North isn’t as accepting as the rest of Canada. Although he’s lonely, he loves his responsibility as a Ranger, patrolling the vast land he knows so well. But he’s on unfamiliar ground with Jack, and when they’re stranded alone by a blizzard, unexpected desire begins to burn. Soon they’re in a struggle to survive, and all these strangers have is each other.

Many of the things I loved most about Arctic Fire by Keira Andrews ending up working against it as well.  The location, the story line? Outstanding elements! Two complicated men, haunted by their tragic pasts now meeting in one of the most starkly beautiful and treacherous landscapes nature has to offer?  A total draw for me.   I couldn’t wait to dive into their story and romance only to be pulled up short, yes, short by the limited amount of pages.

One hundred pages was just not enough time to do this story and these men justice.  We get just enough about Captain Jack  (that name so conjuers up another Captain) when he is sent on his mission to check out a port for a possible new base.  He immediately collides with the Canadian Ranger Kin Carsen, who wants whats best for the community and to preserve the precious landscape and tundra.  Both men are haunted by losses which eventually pull them closer as does physcial  attraction and the lack of gay men within that same community.

Andrews does her wonderful job of fleshing out both Jack and Kin, starting with their backgrounds.  But there just isn’t enough “time” or length here to finish the job properly.    Their relationship always feels “speeded up” as does the plot trigger towards the end of the story.  That especially felt incomplete as though whole chunks were missing from that scene.

The arctic is another character here.  The author does a grand job of giving the reader a feel for the awe and hold its beauty can have on the people there as well as the frightening costs of not paying attention to its cold and hidden threats that await.

All that said, I really liked this couple and their relationship.  It has so much promise.  Its a HFN and if ever there was a story that needs enlarging or a much longer sequel, its this one.  Its got all the right elements in place.  Its just the beginning.  I’d so love to see more.

Cover art is perfect for the story.  I’d like to see Jack a little more experienced and worn but that’s just me.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

Note: This gay romance features emotional repression, hurt/comfort, adventure on the tundra, and love where you least expect it.2nd, 100 pages

Published by KA Books (first published October 2014)
ISBN139781988260099
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Stone and Shell by Lloyd A. Meeker

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

stoneandshell-f500Eight-year-old Howie Evinger is convinced that his dad would be happier if he found a new husband. Howie would be happier, too. And somewhere out there in the city of Vancouver, there’s the right man for his dad to love. But how to find him? That’s a problem, especially if you’re just a kid and your dad says he doesn’t want another husband.

With the help of his quirky aunt, Shanna, who calls herself a Buddhist Wiccan, Howie builds his very own solstice altar with cool symbols to support his search. It has a candle, a feather, and a twisty stick, plus an agate for his dad, and a scallop shell for his new husband. Share Howie’s solstice adventure as he learns how real magic requires courage and patience as well as symbols.

Howie is eight years old and has a big desire, to find a new husband to his dad. To make his wish come truth, with the help of his awesome aunt Shanna, he built a solstice altar where a shell and a stone will start a dance until Howie finally sees in Mike the right candidate.

Stone and Shell was my first book by Lloyd A. Meeker and it was a success. It wasn’t the first story I read told entirely by a child and not an adult part of the MCs’ couple. Since I adore books with children in the plot, I really liked Stone and Shell.Although it’s only 26 pages long, it was well done, the story is sweet and fast paced. A quick story perfect to brighten my Christmas mood and leave me with a smile. I’m a fan of Howie, he’s very cute and lovely how he is so serious and certain in his actions, he is a smart boy and has around a great family, now complete with a new dad.

The cover art by Natasha Snow caught my attention before I read the blurb, I love it cause it’s beautiful and it fits the story, every time I watch it reminds me of a specific scene in the book.

Sales Links

NineStar Press

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BOOK DETAILS

Ebook 26 pages

Expected publication: November 28th 2016 by NineStar Press

ISBN: 978-1-945952-21-0

Edition Language English

Review: Steamroller by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4 stars

Vincent Wade is more than tired these days.  He is absolutely exhausted.  Between his college classes (Vince plans on solving world hunger) and  working full time at Ace Graphics to pay his rent, he barely has time to eat and sleep.  So when a jock comes barging in at the end of an extra shift at the store and demands that he drop everything and run a guy’s poster project now and for free no less? Well, it was lucky for the football player that all Vince did was throw the thumb drive into the nearest trash can. Again and again, the staff and Vince tell the jocks, now two, that the machines were already running, the store was closing, and if they wanted their project done, they had to go elsewhere, which they finally did but not without a  veiled threat or two.

But some people  just end up pushing into your life and who does Vince see on his way home from work but the two  jocks in another Ace Graphics store trying to get their project printed.  The store manager sees Vince and pulls him into the  store to fix the printing machine so their project can be run.  That’s when Vincent realizes that one of the two football players is none other than Carson Cress, the college’s superstar quarterback who is all but guaranteed to go pro at the end of the school year.  Carson Cress is gorgeous, and all but worshiped by everyone on campus.  Everyone but Vincent that is.

Vincent is small, gay and a bit of a loner so why is Carson Cress pursuing him? Vince can’t wrap his mind around the fact that the biggest man on campus seems to want him, bio nerd that he is.  Especially when Vince thought along with everyone else on campus that Carson Cress was straight. Then one night turns into a date and Carson makes it plain he wants a relationship with Vince but he can’t be out.  What is Vince to do when the man of his dreams comes with secrets and different goals in life?

In Vincent Wade Mary Calmes has once again given her readers a character to love and cheer for.  Vincent Wade has overcome many obstacles in his young life.  Small in stature and pretty features made him an easy target in a high school that let bullies have their way.  When Vincent came out in school, his mother and ultra conservative step father threw him out of the house.  Only his best friend’s parents kept him from being homeless.  Vincent is uber smart, sarcastic and a little bit edgy.  I just loved him.  Mary Calmes has paired him up with a god of the football field in the form of Carson Cress, Emerson’s golden boy.  On the surface, Carson Cress is that superficial jockstar we have seen time and again.  But Mary Calmes gives Carson hidden depths and problems not readily apparent.  It’s not just the university that has high expectation but his family as well.  His father expects his son to turn pro and lives out his own football dreams through his son’s talents.  No one has ever asked Carson what he would like to do with his life and he has  gone along with his family’s expectations without an argument.  If Carson Cress is the steamroller of the title, Vincent Wade is no pushover to my utter delight.  His hormones may be saying “go” but Vince still manages to listen to  his brain before committing to a relationship with someone who is closeted and will remain there to play in the NFL.

There are plenty of other characters to dwell on and revel in.  Matt Cooksey, Vincent’s best friend and his family are at the top.  Matt is so adorable that you forgive him just as Vincent does when Matt comes strolling back after a year’s absence to the apartment that should have been his and Vincent’s all along.  And honestly? There is this friend of Vince’s, Kurt Butler.  Every year Vince spends hours cooking for Kurt’s birthday party and Kurt has been his friend since their first semester at college.  I don’t know what it is about Kurt but he really intrigued me and Mary Calmes has him looking at Vince in that “bend you over the counter” sort of way.  Sooooo by the end of the book, I am thinking I would rather see Vince end up with Kurt than with the golden boy.  I know, I know, sacrilege right?  But that’s what happens with you populate your stories with people who make you sit up and take notice, even if they aren’t the main characters.

There is some angst and a traumatic event to get through.  It is, after all, a Mary Calmes story.  But that ending, well like I said.  Vince seems so anchored in Lubbock with his job, and wonderful friends (Kurt, Kurt, Kurt) and degrees to finish that I found it a little difficult to get behind the ending.  That is my quibble with this story, Vincent is just too darn stubborn and interesting for his own good.  He is also as complicated as a Rubik’s Cube and deserves someone of that same intensity. And Carson for all his gorgeousness and nice personality seems like someone more to be steamrolled by Vince than the other way around.

So here I sit wondering how Mary Calmes feels about bribes.  I could see a sequel to this, really I could.  One where Kurt makes a reappearance.  Do you think she would go for that?  If you see her, just put a whisper in her ear.  I will thank you for it, yes I will.  In the meantime, pick up this book and make Vince Wade’s acquaintance.  I just love that boy and you will too.