A Review Redux: A Mika Review: Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay #1) By Rhys Ford

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars            ★★★★★

Fish Stick FridaysDeacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

I wonder if Rhys Ford has a magic chair that she sits in at home to churn out these 5-star books and characters. I mean I expected nothing less, but a couple of months ago when she announced that she had a new series starting I was elated. I mean, c’mon. everyone knows how I feel about Cole and Jae; they are my heart. She announced a new series, and a freaking kid was a main character. I was down for it. I love children in my stories. Their age adds an extra layer of vulnerability to the characters.

This book was everything and more that I could ever ask for. I am swooning for Deke! He’s amazing. He hasn’t had an easy life, and anybody’s that went through what he did would understand if he decided to be selfish and only look out for himself. His lack of parents, the fast life he grew up in couldn’t prepare him for caring for his 8 year old niece Bobo Zigfried! She’s a tornado wrapped in a hurricane. Full of life, love, adoration and kind of a cynic to be so young. Right from the beginning its full of action! I love the dynamics between Deke and Zig they are the coolest people that I like I’ve read from the author to date.

Lang is a freaking sweetheart in his own way! I think Rhys Ford did a good job with combining the two mc’s past histories together. This wasn’t her usual buildup of love between two guys. Dare to say it, but I totally got the insta-love feeling without the cheesiness that goes with it. I kind of see them as a love as first sight kind of thing. I mean the descriptions about one another were so endearing, and sweet. This is definitely a favorite of mine, and I cannot wait until the next in the series. This is the perfect family that Rhys Ford throws together!

Cover Art by Reece Notley:This might be my favorite cover from this artist. They are teasing us by not showing Deacon’s entire face, but everything else that is important to his person is there. Loved the color schemes for the cover. The motorcycle definitely rocks.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Fish Stick Fridays
ISBN 1623809487 (ISBN13: 9781623809485)
edition language English

Review Redux: A MelanieM Review: Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas #3) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.

Winter Wonderland coverPaul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex.
No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.

I have always found the writings of Heidi Cullinan to be something special but in her Minnesota Christmas series with its generous helping of warmhearted bears, human bears that is, and their unique, loving counterparts, she has conjured up stories not only distinctive but that contain sparks I like to think of as narrative magic.  In Winter Wonderland, that mojo is working overtime with characters like Paul and Kyle.  What charms this story has in store for the reader!  And snow sculptures shaped like penises too.  Let’s get to the particulars.

Paul is one of those characters  Cullinan  does so well.  Paul is a man whose mean-hearted, conservative family’s constant belittling and derision has lead Paul to a poor self image and inability to imagine a happy future for himself.  But little of that is shown to others in their small town.  Only to Paul’s small circle of friends (see the other stories) is his unhappy family dynamics known as well as his  penchant for Hallmark movies, especially Hallmark’s Christmas movies.  The author brings in such well known movies like Hallmark’s  “The Christmas Card” and uses them to make a point about Paul, the damage done to him by his family, and makes it and the other Christmas movies provide a way to heal Paul’s pain.  Its a beautiful touch, one among many, and it feels believably so as a panacea that others may have found.

I love the character of Kyle as well.  He too contains so many truths of his own.  Kyle is the town “man child”, the one people remember so well as a charming adolescent that they can’t see the man he’s become.  Kyle is tired of fighting his past image because he never seems to overcome it.  Especially with the one person he’s  been crushing on for most of his life.  Paul.   Kyle wants to capture Paul’s attention and desperate times calls for desperate measures.  Or in this case, anatomically correct snow sculptures.  I have a vivid imagination and Heidi Cullinan’s descriptions cracked me up.  Even if you don’t, you won’t need them, because her words and the pictures they paint will be more than enough to leave you with the giggles. But Kyle is not all fun and snow.  He has his own depth of character and responsibilities, one of which is his sister.

One of the things I love best about the Minnesota Christmas series is that the town of Logan is populated by characters who are so real, so darn human that they too captured my heart.  Some have reading disabilities, others face other physical challenges,  some have their own hot, unexpected sexual kinks, and some with family issues so profoundly wounding that it almost costs them a future. Nothing is really “normal”.  Perfection has no role here.  But authentic happiness? Small town joys, long term loves  and relationships? Yes, they most certainly do.  With Logan you get the best as well as the worst of small town mentality, Cullinan is blunt about that.  I liked that as well.

We’ve had 3 stories so far.  The 3 bears of Logan and each has found their own Mr. Right for Christmas.  Paul was the baby bear.  Will there be more Christmas stories for us coming out of Minnesota?  I can only hope so.  What I’ve read so far has had that winter white glitter sparkle that speaks of joy, and hope, and love.  And Christmas is coming.  What a wonderful present it would be to have Minnesota  Christmas story number four!

I highly recommend  Heidi Cullinan and her Minnesota Christmas series, including this very special story, Winter Wonderland.   Pick this and all of them up as a early holiday present for yourself.

Cover art by Angela Waters.  I love this cover.  I think the artist has the men and the landscape exactly right.

Sales Links:  Samhain Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: November 10th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
original titleWinter Wonderland
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.heidicullinan.com/WinterWonderland
Series: Minnesota Christmas

Let It Snow (Minnesota Christmas, #1)
Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas, #2)
Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas, #3)