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.

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

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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

 

Happily Ever Asher Series

Happily Every Asher Series by Nash Summers: Review by Lost in a Book

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1) Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher, #3)

Rating for overall series: 4.25 Stars

When Red Cried Wolf is a great set-up to this series. The characters are all very likable, especially Asher. Asher is absolutely adorable and I just want to put him in my pocket. He has this unapologetic all knowing (especially in all things romance) attitude that doesn’t allow anything to get in his way (so far). There are nerds, jocks, awesome secondary characters, and a budding friendship relationship (even if it’s mainly grunts and other noises from his roommate) that I think will be so sweet as we continue on this journey.

In book two and then three, Asher and Morgan’s friendship, flirting, and eventual relationship grows slowly but there’s substance and respect in each stage, even if they drive each other crazy… which apparently is totally their brand of foreplay. Their text exchanges are everyyyyyyyyything and had me cackling throughout.

This three part series is adorable, feel good, turns my insides warm and squishy, AND is the perfect follow up to angsty reads. They have the classic running/avoidance thing going on that many do at that age but Asher is a helper of true love and he will damn well get his HEA.

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

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Information on each specific book below:

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher #1) by Nash Summers

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
It’s probably one of the reasons he makes such a fantastic matchmaker, love guru, and romance expert. And now that he’s in college, it’s finally his turn to shine.

Asher’s relationship advice column in the school newspaper is his strongest matchmaking instrument, especially when it comes to helping hopeless romantics find their soulmates.

But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
There’s a damsel in distress Asher’s best friend thinks is a psychopath, a handsome prince Asher can’t stop drooling over, and a huge, mysterious roommate Asher can’t help but pester.

It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *
When Red Cried Wolf is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher #2) by Nash Summers

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
His column is thriving, fellow students trust him with their relationship woes, and he’s on his A-game when it comes to matchmaking. At least, matchmaking other than his own.
After a heartfelt letter written to his column, Asher is set on aiding the two love-struck heroes who desperately need his help.
But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
Randy and Red can’t stop passing looks whenever Asher voices his plans;, the handsome Christopher might not be quite what Asher expected, and his dark, mysterious roommate, Morgan, might have a surprise or two up his sleeve.
It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *

Golden Boy and the Two Bears is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3) by Nash Summers

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
Or at least he was, until it all came crashing down.
He made a mistake. And even Asher himself, arranger of marriages and aider of lovesick hearts, doesn’t know how to fix it.

And like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
His inability to focus on love has turned his column into a disaster, his best friends are acting weirder than usual,  Christopher turns out to be a man of many surprises, and Morgan, well…

Maybe this time it does matter. Because when Asher’s heart finally realizes what he’s been looking for all along, it may be too late.
And too broken.
But there might just be a shred of hope somewhere deep down in his heart. Maybe Asher can fix everything and have his prince charming.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

Superfan

Superfan (Brooklyn, #3) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Superfan (Brooklyn, #3)

Blurb:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

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3 Stars

Truth.

I had to think on this one a few days primarily because there’s nothing wrong with it other than it not being super memorable.

While reading Superfan I was invested in Silas and Delilah’s journey. I wanted them to find a way to navigate the obstacles both of their careers inherently pose. I was rooting for them but when it happened I found myself thinking, (a) that was easier than I envisioned it being and (b) how many Bruisers are going to end up with their sweethearts in the same building in Brooklyn?

Quibbles aside, Superfan is extremely readable, something I’ve come to expect with SB’s writes. It’s a second chance romance that’s packed with good feels and two likable protagonists. It also fulfilled my desire to peek in on previous couples and how their coupletry is progressing, which is something I find comforting.

Silas, simply put, is the guy you marry. He’s caring without being overbearing. He’s protective without sliding into alphaholedom. He’s generous both in and out of the bedroom and, mostly importantly, he’s crazy about Delilah; his most fervent desire is to share his life with her. In short, he will melt reproductive organs far and wide.

Delilah is a bit guarded having been burned multiple times in her life but the bottom line is she too is ass over teakettle when it comes to a certain hockey player. But she’s also trying to break into the next level within the music industry and doesn’t want to rely on Silas for the wrong reasons. I appreciated her independent spirit as well as the details regarding the music biz that SB included.

Their romance largely evolves smoothly. Told in flashbacks from both of their perspectives that illustrated their instantaneous attraction which I found touching. Maybe their romance could’ve done with a bit more conflict but that would’ve detracted from the fluffy. Plus, I think the storyline involving Delilah’s wanker of an ex was supposed to satisfy the conflict quotient of the romance algorithm.

Special shout out goes to Mr. Muscles who referred to Silas as a unicorn which, frankly, deserves a bajillion stars in and of itself. I sincerely hope we’ve not seen the last of him because I soooooooo want that gentle giant to find a unicorn of his very own.

I’m looking forward to whomever comes next in this series and would recommend Superfan to fans of the series or anyone in need of a feel good read.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Gideon

Gideon (Finding Home #3) by Lily Morton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Gideon (Finding Home, #3)

Blurb:

Gideon Ramsay is so far in the closet he should be a talking faun.

A talented, mercurial, and often selfish man, Gideon has everything he should want in life. Fame, money, acting awards – he has it all. Everything but honesty. At the advice of his agent, Gideon has concealed his sexuality for years. But it’s starting to get harder to hide, and his increasingly wild behaviour is threatening to destroy his career.

Then he’s laid low by a serious illness and into his life comes Eli Jones. Eli is everything that Gideon can’t understand. He’s sunny tempered, friendly, and optimistic. Even worse, he’s unaffected by grumpiness and sarcasm, which forms ninety percent of Gideon’s body weight. And now Gideon is trapped with him without any recourse to the drugs and alcohol that have previously eased his way through awkward situations.

However, as Gideon gets to know the other man, he finds himself wildly attracted to his lazy smiles and warm, scruffy charm that seem to fill a hole inside Gideon that’s been empty for a long time. Will he give in to this incomprehensible attraction when it could mean the end of everything that he’s worked for?

From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to realise that being true to yourself is really just a form of finding home.

This is the third book in the Finding Home series but it can be read as a standalone.

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4.5 Stars

Soooo… in the previous book there was an element that was really off putting for me that centered around Gideon and I even mentioned it in my review for book #2. I was all wtf… grrrr…. Gideon sucks (even though the name is 🔥🔥).

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Gideon starts off with a bang as he’s drinking, doing drugs, and all about sex with as many people as possible. All those vices at the same time with multiple partners is a bonus. He’s self destructing as rapidly as his declining health and he’s doing anything to remain in a state of numbness. This gets him in trouble and he ends up in the care of nurse Eli.

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Eli is a giant ray of sunshine in Gideon’s stormy world. He’s kind, funny, bossy, sarcastic, and has zero issues calling Gideon out on his behavior while he ignores his bastard persona. Soon, Eli becomes one of the very few people in Gideon’s world that cares and looks out for him; not their paycheck.

I adore Eli and Gideon together. They have great banter, lots of chemistry and heat. There’s some dirty talk, a bossy top, and some entertaining attempts to top from the bottom. This is a hurt/comfort that left me with all the warm/fuzzy feels. Gideon had an incredible redemptive character arc that was fully fleshed out. I was rooting for him very early on and he didn’t let me down.

The secondary characters in Lily’s books are always on point. Constance is a dream and the patchwork family that continues to build throughout each book in this series is highly entertaining and fun of warmth.

I really enjoyed Gideon but I had one niggle… where are MY LETTERS? Ahhhhhh!! I’m a HUGE sucker for written communication between MCs (whether it’s texts, emails, or actual letters). When they start writing letters I gear up to read a bunch of correspondence with witty lines and heartfelt sentiments. But I only got two? Total? One from each? That’s it? #sadface #GIVEMEMYLETTERS

I was able to turn my frown upside down with the amazeballs epilogue. It’s full y’all. You’ll walk away with so many answers about the future and their HEA. I adore this series and will continue to read any that come out. Recommended.

Trigger Warning for drug and alcohol usage.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

The Doctor's Secret (Copper Point Medical #1)

Blurb:

The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

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Tag Team with Adam

2.5 Stars

Ermm… *checks author name*

Heidi Cullinan wrote this?

I was all ready to play doctor when I cracked this open but the sugary fluff was wafting off the page very early on.

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My past reads with Cullinan have raked my emotions over the coals while chasing it down with tissues and a bottle of wine. This wasn’t that experience at all. I’m all about branching out but The Doctor’s Secret left me wanting more substance while trying to come down from a sugar high.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu moves to Copper Point to live a slower paced lifestyle and just be a general surgeon. He ran away from Texas to a small town and is greeted at the airport by his new surgical nurse, Simon.

Simon is a very positive and competent surgical nurse that has lived in Copper Point all his life. He’s very involved in the community and has a thing for K-Pop, Asian TV, and apparently hot AF Taiwanese doctors. Unfortunately for both of them, the hospital policy prohibits getting together with other employees.

I didn’t get Simon and Dr. Wu together. They had insta-love with no real depth. They wen’t from we can’t date to I love you way too fast. Dr. Wu remains closed off throughout (which might be more his culture than poor character development) and the way his “secret” was hyped, I was ready for something huge. Like it has to be a BFD. *sigh*

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Everything seems so fantastical and the lack of strong characters was off putting. I hate to say this but I was bored reading the story.

I did enjoy the town, the endearing secondary characters, and the antics of Simon’s surgeon friends- My favorite parts didn’t involve the MCs.  I’m still a big fan of Heidi’s other works but this just wan’t for me. Not recommended but YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Superfan by Sarina Bowen

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BLURB:
Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.
Three years ago I met the most amazing woman. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.
But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.
While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.
But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.
She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.
Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

LINKS:
Amazon      Apple      Kobo      Nook

EXCERPT

“Would you like a beer?” the cute bartender asks me.
I glance at the pile of mint leaves on his cutting board and hesitate. “Sure,” I say. But the mint looks so fresh and pretty.
“I could make you something different.”
“Beer is great. A cold…”
“—lager,” he finishes. “No glass, no opener.”
When I look up to flash him a smile, my heart does a little somersault. Those kind eyes are smiling at me, too. “Thank you,” I whisper.
“It’s really no problem.” He turns toward the beer cooler. “You’re an easy customer, trust me.”
But I really meant—thank you for remembering. As he leans down to grab a bottle for me, I find myself admiring the strong muscles in his back. Stop it, I admonish myself. It only gets worse when he turns around and places the bottle in front of me. I’ve never seen hands like his. I didn’t even know wrists could look muscular.
Even so. Ogling him is not why I came here. I pull out my keychain opener and remove the cap from my beer.
He discards it, gives me another pleasant smile and then picks up his paring knife again.
I take a sip, wondering when he’s going to mention my show at the Coconut Club. He was there. I saw him.
He separates some mint leaves from their stems and says nothing.
I last about seventeen seconds. “Well?”
“Well?” He looks up. “Sorry?”
“Jesus lord.” I close my eyes and then open them again. This is not going how I’d hoped it would. “What did you think?”
“Of…?” His amazing eyes are studying me.
“Forget I asked.” I take a swig of beer.
“Think about what?” He pushes the cutting board aside, and his smile turns knowing.
“My set at the Coconut Club! I saw you holding up that wall in the back. Don’t lie.”
He tips his head back and lets out a sudden laugh. “I’m so busted. I loved your show, but I didn’t expect you to spot me.”
“You loved it so much you weren’t going to say anything?” The sentence sounds crazy to my own ears. I put down the beer. “You know what? Never mind. I’m just being psycho right now. This town is getting into my head.”
“Listen, girly.” He braces both (muscular!) hands on the bar and looks me right in the eye. “I loved it so much that I don’t even know what to say about it. From that moment at the beginning—when you shut that asshole’s maw? To the part where you made a lady cry.” He shakes his head. “I couldn’t look away. And I never wanted it to end.”
I give him a slow blink, just trying to take that in. It’s so much more than I was even hoping to hear.
“Shit, Delilah. If that set doesn’t win you whatever contract you’re looking for, they don’t even deserve you.”
Something warm and unfamiliar settles into the center of my belly. “That might be the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. Which only means you’re still trying to get my phone number.”
He laughs immediately. “Can’t both things be true? Both my musical assessment and my interest in your evening plans?”
“Because you know so much about music.” I flip my hair and take another sip of beer.
“Look. I don’t know shit about music. But I know plenty about talent.” He leans down on a set of forearms I shouldn’t be noticing. “I know that talent sometimes takes a nap at just the wrong moment, but it never stays asleep for long. I also know that luck matters, too. If they don’t give you what you want, it won’t be your fucking fault.”
“Thank you,” I say quietly.
But he’s not done. “I saw something else valuable the other night. You’re good in the clinch. And that counts for double, I swear to God.”
“The clinch?”
“Yeah. You’re not just good at practice.” He pauses, wrinkling up his interesting nose. “What word would a musician use? Okay—you’re not a rehearsal musician. That stage was like your home. Either that or you fake it really well. That’s going to pay your rent someday, I promise.”
“Wow.” It’s like he looked right into my terrified little soul and found the very thing I needed to hear. Those beautiful eyes of his are practically burning me right now, so I have to look away. “Thank you. Really. I really needed that pep talk.”
I make the mistake of looking up at him again, and, for a split second, I see pure yearning. It’s like our souls vibrate at exactly the same frequency. And I have no idea what to do with that.

GIVEAWAY

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Be the first to read! Three winners (US or Canada) will win early signed paperback copies of Superfan!

Enter HERE

Giveaway Link: https://geni.us/SuperfanGiveaway

 

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