Gentleman Wolf

Gentleman Wolf (Capital Wolves Duet, #1): Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Gentleman Wolf (Capital Wolves Duet, #1)

Blurb:

An elegant werewolf in Edinburgh…

1788. When Lindsay Somerville, the most elegant werewolf in Paris, learns that the man who held him in abject captivity for decades is on his way to France, intent on recapturing him, he knows he must leave the Continent for his own safety. Lindsay cannot take the risk of being recaptured—he may have been free for a century but he can still feel the ghost of his old chains under his fine clothes.

… on a mission…

While he’s in Edinburgh, Lindsay has been tasked with acquiring the “Naismith Papers”, the writings of a long-dead witchfinder. It should be a straightforward mission—all Lindsay has to do is charm an elderly book collector, Hector Cruikshank. But Cruikshank may not be all he seems, and there are others who want the papers.

… meets his match

As if that were not enough, while tracking down the Naismith Papers, Lindsay meets stubborn architect Drew Nicol. Although the attraction between them is intense, Nicol seems frustratingly determined to resist Lindsay’s advances. Somehow though, Lindsay can’t seem to accept Nicol’s rejection. Is he just moonstruck, or is Nicol bonded to him in ways he doesn’t yet understand?

Note: this is the first book of a duology – the story continues and will complete in the second book, Master Wolf.

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3 Stars

Hrmmm… I liked it… I think?

Let’s get some warnings out of the way first. This ends on a massive cliffhanger. No HFN/HEA in this installment, everything will be revealed (hopefully) in the next book. Gentleman Werewolf didn’t really *feel* like a romance. More like a historical paranormal that happens to involve sex? Maybe? Also, there are some trigger warnings for torture scenes and a miscarriage of a baby mentioned that took place in the past.

From the very start, this book felt heavy and has that ominous feeling throughout with very little light hearted moments to take a breath. Lindsay’s cheeky personality and his valet are about the only light hearted parts of this story. You just know something is going to happen throughout and the whole escaping imminent danger overshadowed any chance for there to be a romance. There was insta-love/infatuation but I could toss that up to Lindsay being a wolf and the whole mate feeling. Possibly?

I love Joanna Chambers’ previous books and her writing style. She writes historical books that I can’t help but devour and it worked for me in this one too. I even liked the characters by the end but there was zero closure and way too many unanswered questions with a perpetual heaviness that took away from my complete enjoyment of this book.

I’ll continue on with the series and hope for romance, some possible snark and/or lighthearted moments mixed in with the doom and gloom.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Moonlighter

Moonlighter (The Company, #1) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Moonlighter (The Company, #1)

Blurb:

Only in my family could a professional hockey player earning seven million dollars a year be considered a slacker.

I’m at the height of my athletic career. Yet my arrogant brother is always trying to recruit me into the family business: a global security company so secretive that I don’t even know its name.

Pass, thanks. I don’t need a summer job.

But the jerk ambushes me with a damsel in distress. That damsel is Alex, the competitive, sassy girl I knew when we were kids. Now she’s a drop-dead gorgeous woman in deep trouble.

So guess who’s on a flight to Hawaii?

It’s going to be a long week in paradise. My job is keeping Alex safe, while her job is torturing me with her tiny bikinis. Or maybe we’re torturing each other. It’s all snark and flirting until the threat against Alex gets serious. And this jock must become her major league protector.

Moonlighter is a stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary. Contains: hackers, hockey players, and a hotel room with only one bed.

 

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4 Stars

Another SB winner with this spinoff of the much beloved Brooklyn Bruisers line!

Moonlighter features Eric Bayer who many remember and cooed over in Overnight Sensation or maybe that was just me? I was chomping at the bit for Eric to get his own HEA and SB did not disappoint.

I admit I made a face when I realized who the female protagonist was given her previous asshattery towards Becca but she grovels. Groveling goes a long way with me. She’s a smart, sassy and financially independent executive of a cable company that’s looking to launch an AI butler that faithfully safeguards the privacy of its owner who is pregnant by an abusive ex and needs body guarding for a conference that he too will be attending.

Enter Eric Bayer.

Eric is cocky, immodest, charismatic, can bring the snark and is especially bossy in the bedroom. He’s not looking for forever but his brother (who I also totally dig) sets him up in a fake boyfriend/bodyguard situation in Hawaii with his childhood friend, Alex Engels, and those hit it and quit it days of Eric’s are on an egg timer. Acting like a jealous boyfriend quickly morphs into actual boyfriending and it was a pleasure to witness. I liked him SO MUCH!

Maybe Alex’s denial of her feelings and/or disbelief in the sincerity of Eric’s feelings for her dragged out longer than I would’ve liked but they clearly have chemistry as well as a connection. They have fun together. The like each other and have a good balance of similarities and differences that made things realistic between them. Eric is amazingly sweet and supportive not to mention forthright about his feelings once he realizes what Alex has become to him.

The sex was pretty sensational especially the fact that Eric still desired Alex when she was “whale” (her words) sized in her third trimester.

That the privacy issue is a central theme, as dry as that seems, was anything but. I was riveted by the scenarios some of which dovetail into high-octane action sequences that I was not mad about. I love a good action scene and though I was bummed that a big part of this storyline was left dangling I was buoyed by the endnotes that said to look forward to more from The Company. Duff, Max and Scout all intrigue me, the latter of which reminded me a whole lot of Lisbeth from the Dragon Tattoo series so I’m genuinely excited to see how the series evolves.

If you’re a fan of friends to lovers romance with a side of action and a dabble of comedy then give Moonlighter a try.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

The Doctor’s Orders

The Doctor’s Orders by Heidi Cullinan: Buddy Read & Buddy Review by Lost in a Book and Adam for @BMBR

The Doctor's Orders (Copper Point Medical, #3)

Blurb:

Once upon a time Nicolas Beckert was the boy who stole kisses from Jared Kumpel beneath the bleachers, but now Jared’s a pediatrician and Nick is the hospital CEO who won’t glance his way. Everything changes, however, when they’re stranded alone in a hospital elevator. Ten years of cold shoulders melt away in five hours of close contact, and old passions rekindle into hot flames.

Once out of the elevator, Jared has no intention of letting Nick get away. It’s clear he’s desperate for someone to give him space to let go of the reins, and Jared is happy to oblige. But Jared wants Nick as a lover in a full, open relationship, which is a step further than Nick is willing to go. They’ve traded kisses under the bleachers for liaisons in the boardroom… and it looks like the same arguments that drove them apart in high school might do the same thing now.

Jared’s determined not to let that happen this time around. He won’t order Nick from his shell—he’ll listen to what his friend says he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happy ever after.

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2 Stars

Wow! The Doctor’s Orders is quite the interesting read but luckily we (Adam and Lost) didn’t endure the ride alone. So, sit back, buckle up and prepare yourselves for a joint review *gasp* from us, Adam and Lost in a Book.

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With this installment being the third in Cullinan’s Copper Point Medical series, we are thrust back to St. Ann’s with the CEO, Nicholas Beckert and the pediatrician everyone loves, Jared Kumpel. What once was a high school romance between these two men turned ice cold with Nick not wanting to come out and Jared not accepting anything less.

Many years go by and they find themselves in the same hospital, lonely, hurt, and quietly longing for each other from afar. Until the elevator breaks…

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It’s all quite dramatic. The elevator dangled precariously from the third floor, but given the uproar and health resulting health scares, you would think it was a twenty-story drop, at the least.

What follows the elevator incident is a rollercoaster of will they or won’t they, what will the townspeople think, shitty parents doing shitty things, a whole host of social ills, and *drum roll please* ‘is the killer inside the house?!’ (or the hospital, as it were). It was a lot.

Heidi Cullinan has a penchant for dramatic flair, which ordinarily can be quite entertaining. In this case, it quickly became too much. This time around, the plot was everything and the kitchen sink.

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Inevitably, we found ourselves skimming to get to the point.

Jared and Nicholas are endearing in their own ways and even likable together at some points throughout. However, that gets lost in the soap opera shuffle that is rampant throughout The Doctor’s Orders.

Both men go through a lot, particularly with their families. Plus, being gay men, and one of them black, in a small town comes with specific challenges. It’ll make you indignant on their behalf, and root for the two to come out on the other side happy.

But neither of us really connected to Nicholas and Jared in book #3. It was good to see them finally get their happy ending, but it wasn’t particularly memorable and by that point we were no longer invested in the story.

Of course, your mileage may vary!

 

Copy provided for honest review.

Puzzle Me This

Puzzle Me This by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Puzzle Me This

Blurb:

Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching.

The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper.

When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?

Second Edition: The new edition coming out Sept 6, 2019 has an additional 12,000 words plus an overall rewrite.

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2.5 Stars

I was super excited about Puzzle Me This. I know it’s an older title reworked and added to, but I never read the first one so this was my chance. I loved the premise about meeting someone new and communicating through crosswords, giving an introvert an outlet to meeting someone he has clearly been crushing on for a bit… unfortunately I was underwhelmed as the plot played out.

The blurb/synopsis sets up the book nicely and once the first crossword message is sent, the rest moves insanely fast. IMO an opportunity was lost to drag out the messages longer and have a little more build up from the first message to insta love. The plot was rushed yet some of the minutiae parts dragged on too long.

I love nerds. The promise of them. Hell, I’m a nerd and speak nerd. This wasn’t nerdy to me, more cheesy dialogue and sugar overload. There are also random dramas and the characters aren’t fully fleshed out.

I love Eli Easton but this one didn’t quite work for me. YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Happy for You

Happy for You by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Happy for You (Love & Family #3)

Blurb:

Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Happy For You (Love & Family #3) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys pitted together in a blue 1988 station wagon — and there’s no doubt about it, Mort is going to drive Felix crazy.
Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: brother’s best friend, second chances, family drama, friends-to-lovers, slow burn, found family
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance
Trigger warnings: Depression and generalized anxiety (of a side character)

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4.25ish Stars

“On our way home, he doesn’t ask why I disappeared or why I’m acting skittish. I don’t tell him it’s unbearable being in love with him.”

Gahhhhh!!! Anyta spun her magical web again and pulled me right in… which is probably for the best since it seems like the story started long before the story actually starts. I’ve read the past books in the series but this can definitely be a standalone.

Mort and Felix have an entire busload of history, baggage, and emotions prior to the first words. Mort has been best friends with Felix’s older brother for much of his life while Felix pined for Mort for the same amount of time. Obviously, the brother’s best friend trope is the main show in Happy for You. As I mentioned, we are essentially thrown into the middle of Mort and Felix’s story but much has to be done in order to get to the HEA.

This is Anyta so a slow burn is guaranteed. I love Mort and Felix and I felt for them and the plethora of emotions from Mort coming back into their lives to the feeling of unrequited love. Anyta says sooooooo much with so few words that my heart hurt for them at times. There are outside circumstances that separated Mort from the family which I’m still a tad unsure if that storyline was wrapped up tight. There are lots of kids throughout and that’s usually a hard limit for me since I get plenty of kid action in RL. But, I liked the kids, their personalities, and the parts they play in this book.

Mort and Felix get their HEA after Anyta makes us burn for a tiny bit long ass time. As always, I enjoyed the writing style, the feels, and the characters. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Natural Disaster by Erin McLellan

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Natural Disaster

Author: Erin McLellan

Publisher: Erin McLellan

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Release Date: October 11, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary m/m romance, workplace romance, action/adventure romance

Trope/s: workplace romance, forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers

Themes: storm chasing, weather, trust, finding a home, partnership/friendship

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 50 000 words/190 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Universal Book Link | Amazon | B&N | Google Play

iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

 

Blurb

When two tornado chasers form a reluctant team, the pressure between them builds…

Human-interest reporter—and son of a famous storm chaser—Guthrie Gale wants nothing to do with severe weather. But his station’s director insists he join the storm chasing team, or else, and worse yet, she pairs him with hotshot rookie chaser Luke Masters.

All Luke wants is to be a part of the KTTY family, and he won’t let prickly Guthrie Gale spoil his chance. Little does he realize Guthrie’s anxiety around storms is more than justified.

As Oklahoma’s unpredictable tornado season picks up, Guthrie and Luke strike up a turbulent working relationship that shifts between lust and bickering. But when they are forced to outrun a dangerous twister, their trust is tested and the desire between them flashes quick as lightning, threatening to burn more than just their careers.

 

 

Excerpt

Guthrie Gale hated spring in Oklahoma almost as much as he hated meetings right after lunch.

Rain spattered against the windows of the KTTY news station, the sky a deep and ominous blue. Clouds darkened the city skyline, casting a murkiness over the land.

Guthrie had read the forecast and weather maps this morning. They weren’t expecting anything but rain, but he was still on edge.

He jumped as Debbie Debarr cleared her throat to bring the news team’s attention back where it belonged—on her, the boss.

“We’re expecting an active tornado season, as always, and we’re short-staffed. That means some changes are coming down the pipeline. With Mack out on maternity leave, we’d like someone to do double duty.” She paused dramatically before dropping her bombshell. “Guthrie, guess what, bub? You’re up.”

Guthrie fought a frown. He glanced around the room at the anchors, reporters, writers, weather team, and storm chasers. No one was surprised he’d been picked. Most of them knew his history. His dad’s history.

But he wasn’t part of the weather team. He was a field reporter, for heaven’s sake. Not a storm chaser.

“Me?”

“Yeah, you. You’ve got the experience we need out there. Plus your down-home country charm is evidently soothing to viewers.” Debbie said that in a way that made it obvious she did not find his slight twang soothing at all. “At least that’s what the focus groups say.”

Being stuck in a truck in the middle of a tornado was the last thing Guthrie wanted. Maybe that charm would come in handy now.

Throwing on his best fake smile, he said, “But I’m a pretty face for the camera. I’m not a storm chaser.”

He’d happily let Debbie believe his reticence stemmed from his own vanity at not being on-screen as opposed to the reality—tornadoes scared him shitless.

She rolled her eyes. “Your ego will live.”

Not if a tornado got him, it wouldn’t.

He’d figure out another way to fight this when he didn’t have an audience.

“Whose truck will I be in? Johanna’s?” Mack had been paired up with Johanna last year, spotting and filming while Johanna did the driving and reporting.

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Debbie said, tapping a bright red fingernail on the table.

Guthrie heaved a discreet sigh of relief. Johanna was KTTY’s veteran storm chaser and the most likely to be in the middle of the action, exactly where he never wanted to be again.

Debbie snapped her fingers. “I know. We’ll put you with the rook. You can give him a big ol’ Okie welcome, show him the ropes, help him settle in.”

Crap on a cracker.

The rook was Luke Masters—KTTY’s newest storm chaser. Guthrie had seen Luke around the station a few times since he’d been hired a month ago after an old-timer retired. Luke was from California of all places. Who’d ever heard of a Californian storm chaser? Guthrie disliked Luke on principle. He was a thrill-seeking newbie, for one. Worse, he was hot.

Luke had the type of face the KTTY brass would have loved to force in front of a camera, but the guy evidently wanted to chase giants, not smile and read from a teleprompter. Plus they’d probably make him cut off his man bun, which would be a right shame.

Guthrie had to force himself not to glance at the beautiful man in question. “Shouldn’t Luke shadow one of the veteran teams for a while?” Guthrie asked. “He’s pretty green.”

Luke sat up abruptly from a sprawl and drew Guthrie’s eyes like greedy little magnets. The muscles of Luke’s arms bunched as he shifted, and his smile was ornery as a rattlesnake’s.

“I spent three years with a team monitoring and chasing coastal tornadoes and hurricanes. And I even have my learner’s permit.” He winked at Guthrie, which incited a rumble of chuckles around the room.

That wink kicked Guthrie’s heart rate up a notch. Made him angry and turned on in equal measures.

“Those coastal twisters ain’t got nothin’ on the ones here. It’s different.”

Debbie grinned and her gravity-defying blond hair ruffled in the draft from the air conditioner. “And that, Guthrie dear, is why I’m pairing you together. It is different here. Who better to teach Luke that difference than someone who knows firsthand what an Oklahoma tornado can do? You have more experience than anyone in the room. Now, let’s talk editorial strategy….”

Guthrie tuned Debbie out as he got his thoughts in order. Luke was staring at him, an eyebrow raised, so Guthrie stared back. Such pretty brown eyes on such an infuriatingly arrogant man. Normally, Guthrie liked men with a bit of arrogance.

Not today.

The only thing worse than being in the field during a tornadic weather system would be babysitting an irresponsible, hotshot Californian while in the field during a tornadic weather system.

 

 

About the Author

Erin McLellan is the author of several contemporary romances, all of which have characters who are complex, goodhearted, and a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after. Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska 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. Erin is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Alaska chapter.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website | Facebook Group | Facebook

Twitter | Instagram

Newsletter Sign-up | BookBub

 

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win your choice of ebook from Erin McLellan’s backlist, plus a small paper swag pack (bookmarks, postcard, bookplate, etc.)

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

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Dine With Me

Dine With Me by Layla Reyne: Review by Lost in a Book

Dine with Me

Blurb:

Life never tasted so good.

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

 

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3 Stars

To say I was hungry throughout this book would be an understatement… I was hangry. If you’re a foodie, this might definitely be your cuppa. I’m not a foodie, I don’t have a sophisticated palette but with all the food mentioned, I lived in a perpetual state of hunger throughout the duration of Dine With Me.

The blurb does a great job of setting up the story and there weren’t any surprise plot elements outside of the outline mentioned that had me scratching my head. Miller is very much on a goodbye tour hitting all of his bucket list restaurants with Clancy by his side before the inevitable hits.

Outside of being hungry, the romance fell flat for me. I didn’t believe in the I love you when it happened and it happens late, like after 70% late. I believed their friendship but not a romantic relationship. The pacing is very slow and the relationship stayed on the back burner for most of the book as they find friendship (I think?) through food.

There’s a heavy presence of secondary characters, especially the ex-wife which may work or not work for some. I stopped thinking of her as the ex and mentally thought of her as a BFF and that helped a little.

This read wasn’t really my cuppa and landed in the it’s alright zone. I need more romance in my romances… *shrug* As always, YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Beard with Me

Beard with Me (Winston Brothers #6) by Penny Reid: Review by Cupcake

Beard with Me (Winston Brothers, #5.5)

Blurb:

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.

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4 Stars

God gave us free will so that we’ll stumble and learn how to pick ourselves back up. But He also gave us folks who love us, to clear away the obstacles before we trip and fall.</b

Let’s just start with the obvious, this is the prequel to the long, long, looooonnnnnggggg awaited Billy-n-Claire HEA that everyone and their cousin has been waiting for since forever. We all know they have a small ocean’s worth of water under their bridge and this book gives insight into where and how all that water got there.

If you’ve not read the series, this is a fantastic place to start, actually, because not only does it cover Billy and Scarlet/Claire but all of the Winston brothers are featured to varying degrees from Cletus and his… Cletusness to the twins and their yin/yang thing to Roscoe and his preciousness.

However, it is not the easiest book to read. Scarlet and Billy have monstrous fathers who play pivotal roles in their development. I knew that but I did not know the details of Scarlet’s backstory, most of which is awful. So, if you’re triggered by abuse this might not be the best read for you.

On the other hand, Billy’s backstory didn’t surprise me and probably won’t surprise fans of the series. He’s responsible, altruistic, loyal and intense through circumstances beyond his control foisted upon him at a young age. Case in point:

I redoubled my resolve. She deserved someone looking out for her first, someone who’d set aside selfishness for her sake. So, yeah, I would keep her safe, even if it meant sending her away.

My heart broke (again) for both of them and I am beyond ready for them to be exceedingly selfish when it comes to each other. Enough with the doing the right thing and always putting others first nonsense.

It’s your time, #Clairilly! Carpe diem!

My only quibble is the lack of a more comprehensive backstory; the whole thing takes place in 2003 when they are 14 and 16. They fall in love in a week which was a surprise to both of them and extremely gratifying for me to read. But I know there are more heartbreaks, more disappointments, more sacrifices and more missed or wasted opportunities and I wish a couple of them would have been included as well.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It applied to life and hopes and dreams and expectations too.

Needless to say, I would like Beard Necessities and my equal and opposite reaction, like, yesterday. I find Green Valley extremely comforting even when things are tense so while it might seem counterproductive to long for the final installment (a) I will always have this series and (b) there are not one but TWO spinoffs in the works!!! One of which involves Cletus and Jennifer and undoubtedly some shenanigans so I’m owning my greediness. I’m ready to soak in a tub filled with Billy and Claire’s happy happy joy joy until my fingers get pruny.

Recommended with the caveat mentioned above.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Beard with Me by Penny Reid

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“This is Penny Reid at her finest.” — L.B. Dunbar, author

Beard With Me, an epic and breathtaking story from New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!

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No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

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Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2lAQAj8

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2kwugqz

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/BeardWithMe

Nook: http://bit.ly/2kz1KV8

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2k8J1zM

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kwnscx

Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2koehLl

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2lzgOCt

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Enter the giveaway for a signed paperback set of The Winston Brothers Series!

http://bit.ly/2mGr64Q

Excerpt

*Scarlet*

“Do you want me to leave?”

Yes. That would be best, a wise voice said between my ears.

So of course I inhaled deeply and said as calmly as I could manage, “I thought we were going to go get firewood.”

“Okay. Good.”

“But then,” I blurted, flustered and irritated with myself for not speaking wisdom, “You should go. You can’t tell me carting firewood back and forth between your house and here is how you want to spend the last of your Thanksgiving weekend.”

“I didn’t say it was.” He began making his way up the incline.

“But you just said—”

“How about we make a deal.” Billy dropped the kindling next to my little woodpile, dusting his hands off on his pants. “I’ll cart the firewood, and you sing.”

“You want me to serenade you while we carry firewood?”

He smiled, slow and easy as he walked to me and reached out his hand. On autopilot, I accepted it and allowed him to help me up.

As soon as I was standing, his gaze moved from my hairline down to my nose, lips, and then chin, saying quietly, “I’ll take a serenade from you anytime.”

Thunk ka-thunk. That was my heart. It had been doing the thunk ka-thunk quite a lot around him. I ignored it, because what else could I do?

“And you’re not carrying the wood.” He tugged on my hand, pulling me out of my daze and past my tent.

“I will too carry wood.” Struggling to find my bearings, I stumbled after him. “I can carry logs just fine.”

“You’ll carry a log.” Billy fit his fingers between mine, pressing our palms together and grinning at me like he was waiting for me to argue and he couldn’t wait.

Snapping my mouth shut, I glared at him.

“Nothing to say?”

Maintaining my glare, I walked next to him. I wasn’t being led anywhere I didn’t wish to go. Not anymore. He wasn’t talking me into anything else.

“That’s an awfully mean look, Scarlet.” His grin grew, his brutally attractive eyes glowing happily as he peered down at me.

“Well, you deserve it. Always trying to tell me what I can and can’t do. I’m not arguing with you about this. I’m carrying as much wood as I want and you can take your stupid, chauvinistic opinions and shove them up your pretty-boy ass.”

Goodness. Where had that come from?

Billy’s steps faltered and his mouth fell open, his eyebrows rising high on his forehead. He stared at me, looking shocked as hell. And then in the next moment, he threw his head back and laughed. But he did not let go of me, instead bringing my knuckles to his chest as his deep, rumbly laughter filled the empty spaces between the trees, surrounding us.

Crushing me.

Yes. I was well and truly crushed as I could only watch Billy Winston laugh, desperately basking in the image of him so delighted and relaxed. I had the odd sense that his laughter also filled the empty spaces inside of me, the neglected, vacant rooms, and even a few places that felt brand-new, like he’d created them.

All that noble honesty he carried around like a boulder abruptly lifted, revealing him. Just him. Carefree and young and happy. Someone he might’ve been if his burdens hadn’t been so heavy, his responsibilities so broad.

It lasted only a minute, maybe two, maybe less, but I had the sense of being caught afterward. Billy’s laughter had receded, but he’d spun a web while I’d been staring at him, holding his hand.

His grin became smaller and he bit his bottom lip, his gaze dropped to my mouth. “You think I’m pretty?”

“You know you’re pretty,” I said, bizarrely out of breath, rattled, needing to anchor my focus to a tree beyond him and waging war against the heat climbing up my neck to my cheeks. Oddly, my eyes stung. I blinked.

His attention was still on me. I felt it, but I didn’t dare look at him. I couldn’t handle one of Billy Winston’s intense stares right now. He’d probably use my scattered wits to his advantage, talk me into something I shouldn’t want to do, and then I’d be kicking myself later.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, his voice deep with concern, all trace of his earlier humor gone.

I huffed, trying half-heartedly to steal my hand back from him. He didn’t let it go, instead taking my tugging as a signal to step closer, filling my vision.

“Scarlet—”

“Are you ever going to teach me how to play the guitar?” I closed my eyes.

He didn’t answer right away, and I felt him hesitate, his mind work before he muttered, “It’s only been a week.”

A quality to his voice made me think he wasn’t answering the question I’d asked, but rather he was reminding himself that it had only been a week since we’d struck the deal.

Was that only last week? Why does it feel like so much has changed?

Then he said, “Don’t be angry.”

“I’m not angry.” I was muddled, my head and heart hurt, I was incredibly confused, but I wasn’t angry.

The air shifted and I felt him move closer. A second later, the fingers of his free hand were at my ear, tucking my hair behind it, his fingertips lingering at my neck, sending wave after wave of goose bumps every which way. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t think. Every nerve in my body strained toward him and I didn’t understand it. What is happening?

“Have you ever been kissed, Scarlet?”

 

Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Connect with Penny:

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

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lakzsD

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Mailing List: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/

www.pennyreid.ninja

 

The Fiance

The Fiance by Christopher X. Sullivan: Review by Lost in a Book

The Fiancé (It's Just Us Here #6)

Blurb:

Chris and Mark have been apart for eight months.

Will they get a second chance? They both want it.

And will they do it the right way this time? Chris needs to be open with his family, and that means coming out. Mark needs to be the solid foundation in the pairing, because otherwise Chris is just going to run, run, run.

[The Fiancé is Book Six in a ten book series. The series is broken into three major ‘arcs’. This second-chance romance is the middle of the “Lovers and Second Chances” arc.

It’s Just Us Here: The Fiancé is a 105,000 word journey of two men deciding if they want to give themselves a second chance. And if they do, then there’s no more playing around. Chris won’t settle for anything less than forever. Is Mark that kind of guy?]

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“This is us…. This is the new us. And the making of us is going to be the best part… the best part of my life.”

The Fiance installment definitely provides insight on the making of Chris and Mark… but, unlike the quote, it isn’t quite the best part of their lives yet; more like a bridge with a few trolls under it that you have to cross before you get to the greener pastures (sorry for the imagery, we’ve been on a Three Billy Goats Gruff kick lately in the Lost household).

This installment spends more time explaining family, friends, histories, and the dynamics between them all. Although the title sorta gives a happy image, there are more melancholy parts to this book than and they live happily ever after parts. Readers are also painted a more in-depth picture of the post “Big Fight” life and how it affected Chris, Mark, and the many people in their lives.

I’m waiting for them to find their groove but it still seems they are struggling to find their footing. Which, hello… real life. Shit happens, feelings are real, and there isn’t a manual to flip a switch into relational bliss. There’s much more internal dialogue from Chris in The Fiance than in the previous installments which is a good thing and at the same time you just want to shake him… a teeny tiny bit. Sometimes because of his thoughts/actions and also oddly because of information that seems to be withheld (I’m assuming anything withheld will be divulged in the remaining installments).

This book is necessary in the grand scheme of their relationship. Just to note, there isn’t sex in this book (would have been totally out of place) and the topic of it’s almost avoided (which might not be best).  Trigger warning for mentioned addiction.

I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey and seeing how they grow towards “the best part of my life.”

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review and I’ve also purchased my own.