A Lucy Review : Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Elden Richland didn’t want to waste money on an office. Instead, he worked from home, or, when he needed a change of scenery, from The Cure All, a local bar. Staring at Cabe Donovan, the bar owner, may not help Elden get any work done, but it was well worth it. 

Cabe had been watching Elden come into The Cure All for months now. Elden might not be his normal type of date, but Cabe didn’t want typical, he wanted forever. He wanted Elden. 

But what did a hot bar owner and a computer nerd, who didn’t like the taste of alcohol, have in common? Fireworks. 

Warning: Alcohol consumption not only occurs in this book, it is encouraged, over-consumed and, ends with praying to the Porcelain God. Oh, and being naked. Don’t want to forget that. Although, maybe not in the way Cabe hoped. 

This book made me laugh.  Cabe is the owner of The Cure All, a bar in Dahlonia. He’s very interested in the computer nerd, Elden, who comes into the Cure All to work sometimes.  Does he have a crush on Cabe?  You bet.  Is he way too shy to do anything about it?  Again, you bet.  Elden can’t imagine why anyone would be interested in him, let alone a smokin’ hot guy like Cabe.  But a boy can dream.

Elden is so sweet and so cute.  “No way was he letting anyone see his Star Wars boxers  That would only get him named President of the Nerd Hall of Fame.”  His clothes don’t fit well, he can’t wear contacts so has to use glasses and his mother has brow beaten him into a self-loathing mess.  I can’t even begin to say how awful his mother is. 

“From the moment Elden had entered The Cure All four months ago, he’d (Cabe) been obsessed with the sweet, yet extremely shy, man.”   Cabe likes the glasses, the smile, the awkwardness, everything about Elden just as he is. Elden doesn’t believe it though. So we get to experience Cabe showing Elden just how serious he is.  I loved that.

I did have one WTF moment in the book.  We get to see Shine and Montague (from Shine, Uncorked #4).  Shine brings moonshine to the Cure All and it is mentioned, “With Shine’s new partner, Montague, their flavors had improved dramatically, but that didn’t mean it would stay that way.”  What??  The flavors were remarkable already (hence how Shine got Montague and on the tour) so for Shine’s sake I was incensed.

It is funny that Elden has odd sayings “Duck water” like Shine, but his are so random even Shine is speechless.  Cabe is so awesome about it, “One day, I really hope you’ll tell me what that means.”  Again, unconditionally accepting of all of Elden.

Elden’s mother, however,  is not.  She is so awful I couldn’t fathom why Elden continued to have dinner with her or even talk to her.  She insults him, cuts him down, makes fun of him, the works.  And when we get her reason for it, I didn’t buy it. Thank pete for Cabe, who not only stands up for Elden but allows Elden to be confident enough to stand up for himself.  She is supposedly getting better but honestly she is poison.

I loved when Elden goes to a New Year’s Party Cabe invited him to and ends up drinking with Shine and Montague, David and Mac.  A drunken Elden is funny, the hangover Elden more so.  Even when Elden freaks out, Cabe is calm and there.  We get some aww moments for Shine and Montague too, that happen in typical Shine fashion.

There were a few editing issues with this one, and a name error (Jess for Jeff) but they were minor.  This was a great addition to the series.  Now I still want Andrew and Brogan’s story but I also would like Jaivon’s story as well.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve read all the books in a series, so this was something special for me!

Cover art shows Elden and Cabe and this is the first book in the series that I thought the men on the cover were the men in the book. Well done!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published February 4th 2019
ASIN B07N7ZZNSS
Series Uncorked #5

Series Uncorked :

Bubbly

Full Bodied

Blush

Shine

Sweet

A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Shine was over people thinking because he had a southern accent, and made moonshine, that he was a hillbilly redneck with no education. Sure, he occasionally liked to fuck with them and spout out his grandpappy’s sayings, like every dog should have a few fleas, but that didn’t make him dumber than a box of rocks. So, when he met a man who made his heart race and his mouth go dry with the thought of licking every inch of his body, then instantly put him down because he was making moonshine instead of wine, Shine dared him to try and drink with the big boys.

Montague knew better than to take the challenge to drink the moonshine Shine was offering, but he refused to be insulted by some hick from this small, backwater town. The fire that ignited in his stomach and burned a path up his throat, making him want to cry for his mommy, told him just how stupid he could be. Fucking pride. If Shine didn’t get that smirk off his face at Montague’s reaction to the battery acid he called alcohol, Montague was going to punch him in the mouth. Or kiss him. It was a tough call to make.

There is a fine line between love and hate, especially when alcohol is involved. Then again, it might take a little liquid courage to drop their defenses enough to discover their passion for each other.

Oh  my, the things this boy says. Shine (actual name Joshua but please don’t use it) is a treasure.  He is Southern, uses those colorful sayings and makes moonshine and is so awesome.  He’s worked hard to make Grandpappy’s Moonshine successful and he’s on his way.  He is used to people looking down on him as a hillbilly and he’s okay with that.  Just don’t insult the moonshine. He has had to fight the town council to be allowed to be part of the town’s wine tour and nothing is going to stand in his way.  Not even the snobby, pretentious guy in the parking lot who turns out to be the favorite wine tour guide.  Whoops.

His run in with the snobby wine expert, Montague, happens at the town council moonshine tasting. “He felt about as welcome as an outhouse breeze when he say the members of the Wine Touring Committee and several of the tour guides staring daggers at him the moment he entered.”  He brings most of them around because his product is good.  When the very judgy Montague has little good to say, Shine does challenge him to drink it.  That scene is funny and brings Montague down a bit. 

There is a scene from Blush (Uncorked #3), now from Shine’s point of view.  I thought it while reading Blush and I thought it again reading this – I want to try muffins made with apple-cherry moonshine. 

Shine lives with his daddy and grandpappy, who bicker and fight constantly.  They go at it, sometimes get hurt, but they are accepting of each other and Shine in a way you wish all families would be.  Montague, however, really doesn’t have any family to lean on and when he admits to Shine what he was doing previously it was sad.

There is a plot aspect regarding relatives and protesters that sort of went nowhere so I’m not sure why it was even present but it didn’t take me away from the story too much.   The issues with Topher, a member of the council, were a little over the top for me.  “I can open doors for you in this community.”  Ugh, the man is a sleezeball.

This isn’t a case of opposites attract because they have more in common than not.  It is more a case of judging someone before you know them and how well that doesn’t work.  I liked seeing Montague (who for some reason I thought seemed older than he was) have to face his prejudices and I liked getting to see Shine, well, shine. I love getting to see the other characters from previous books pop up throughout.   This was a great addition to the series and I’m still hoping that Andrew and Brogan get a turn.

Cover art, showing Montague, Shine and a bottle of moonshine, is simple but effective.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 193 pages
Published December 8th 2017 by Shea Balik (first published November 2017)
Original Title Shine
ISBN 139781370631797
Series Uncorked :

Bubbly

Full Bodied

Blush

Shine

Sweet