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The Mistletoe Effect by Cate Ashwood Review

  The Mistletoe Effect by Cate Ashwood 3 Stars

Although Christmas is his favorite time of year, all is not merry and bright for Danny Ellis. After being laid off and facing eviction, he’s eager to make a fresh start. When a friend mentions an opportunity in Sin City, he packs up and heads west. Unfortunately, plans run awry when his truck breaks down a little more than halfway there and he’s stranded in the cold with no money, nowhere to stay, and no way to get to Vegas.

‘Tis the season, but not for Merrick Holland, who loves being a part of the community in the small town of Rowley Bridge. Christmas has been a little tainted since his father died three years ago, and when people start to deck the halls, he withdraws. When Merrick finds a man asleep inside his bakery one morning, rather than call the police, Merrick makes him a cup of coffee, and after hearing his story offers him a job and a place to stay.

The two men strike up an unlikely friendship, but with Christmas only three weeks away, could a little holiday magic bring them together?

Review

A sweet little Christmas romance with a down on his luck and a broken down car hero and a baker hero who takes a chance on him. Both heroes are kind and the novella is a bit like a gingerbread cookie–fast and sweet.

Delivered Fast (Portland Heat, #3) by Annabeth Albert 4 Stars Review

Review:

Delivered Fast - Annabeth Albert

Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns.

 

Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt.

 

Review

 

I like low angst character driven romance so I am really fond of this series and this book.

 

I love how it is not the older hero Chris that is in pursuit but Lane the much younger delivery guy.

 

The joy in this book is all the little details about each hero that are revealed and how they make their relationship work.

 

A lovely read. I love a sunny hero paired with a grumpy one.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581478/delivered-fast-portland-heat-3-by-annabeth-albert-review

Clique (Heartsville) by Jayden Brooks Review

Review:

Clique (Heartsville) - Jayden Brooks

Adam Locke’s youthful looks aren’t the blessing everyone seems to think. At twenty-eight, he’s a successful photographer with his own studio and respected by his peers—but that doesn’t seem to matter to the men who catch his eye. Instead, he’s brushed aside like an underage twink with a daddy fetish.

When a hot, bearded stranger stops him from accidentally walking into traffic, Adam looks up and finds the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, his first meeting with Brandon ends with him being dismissed as a kid. Again. Adam can’t help his annoyance. He also can’t help staring (and drooling) whenever he spots Brandon walking through the neighborhood with a different dog.

He watches from afar, wondering about Brandon’s story—until the day he’s dared to take another chance. It’s just the push Adam needs, and finally, he catches Brandon’s interest. Now if only he could figure out the key to getting taciturn Brandon to open up and let Adam in. But Adam knows sometimes all it takes is a little patience for the last piece to click into place.

 

Review

 

There are parts of this novella that are really, really good . It is super funny in several places. I like the characters and the world.

 

Then there are places that the writer just doesn’t follow up so we get a lack of connection which makes the romance less powerful. (Like Brandon’s past)

 

And then there is conflict that is kinda dumb.

 

I will read more by this writer because the funny and charming parts.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588203/clique-heartsville-by-jayden-brooks-review

What’s in a Name? (Foothills Pride #1) by Pat Henshaw Review

    What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw 2 Stars 

Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.

Review

There are seeds of a good book in here. I didn’t not enjoy it but the plot took the easy way out too many times and several ideas were undeveloped.

Here is what I liked: The setting in the foothills of the Sierra’s during the migration out of the Bay Area for a portion of the queer community. The heroes are kind. I like that even though this romance is super fast, they have really been falling in love for months. I like the friends and businesses.

The wish fulfillment of dating and courting is a bit saccharine but I enjoy that sometimes. The villains are cartoonish–especially the ex boyfriend.

If the characters had been more developed, out side of the Twink and the Bear, then the book’s plot would have been driven more by internal factors rather than a bit manic external ones.

The sex is off page. I don’t mind that but sex scenes based in their character would have let us seem them intimately and moved the romance plot forward in ways that this book lacked.

I liked the writing so I will try again with this author.

Bloom Box (Heartsville) by Cate Ashwood Review

Review:

Bloom Box (Heartsville) - Cate Ashwood

If there’s one thing William Sullivan knows less about than how to run a business, it’s flowers. When Will is left carrying responsibility for the flower shop he’d leased for his cheating ex-boyfriend, he is sure it will lead him into financial ruin. 

Just when he’s about to abandon all hope, in walks Milo Hart—young, overflowing with energy, and perhaps best of all, a genius when it comes to flowers. Will hires him on the spot and they begin a working partnership that might be Will’s only saving grace. The more time they spend together, the more Will’s feelings for Milo evolve and Will must choose between keeping things strictly business, or taking a chance to let love bloom. 

 

Review

I love Milo. He is so much himself and in hot pursuit of the man he wants.

 

Watching the flower shop come together is as fun as the romance. I would have liked more of the couple’s outside relationships and less plot holes  but this is a lovely little sexy romance.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588201/bloom-box-heartsville-by-cate-ashwood-review

Bookmarked (Heartsville) by Piper Vaughn Review

Review:

Bookmarked (Heartsville) - Piper Vaughn

To save his bookstore from closing, Mark Werner realizes it’s going to take a miracle—like getting reclusive, best-selling author Shepherd Knight to agree to appear for a signing. 

After their disastrous last encounter, Mark doesn’t hold up much hope Shepherd will agree. Shepherd’s never made a single public appearance. In fact, Mark wouldn’t even know what he looks like had he not accidentally discovered the sexy stranger he’d been flirting with for months, aka “Tall-Dark-and-Grumpy,” was also his fanboy obsession.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. If Mark can convince Shepherd, it’ll be a major coup in the book world and might just save Bookmarked from sinking. Too bad Shepherd won’t reply to his e-mails. Yet Mark didn’t earn the reputation of having a “sunshine-and-rainbow-fart” personality for nothing. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his man… and hopefully not make a fool of himself in the process.

 

Review

 

This is quick romance set in a wonderful neighborhood so you get the pleasure of a small town, circle of friends romance with recurring characters.

 

I love the bookstore setting and the romance had some intersting turns. I wanted the heroes to be a bit more complex and detailed than they are but it is a nice read.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588197/bookmarked-heartsville-by-piper-vaughn-review

The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles Book 1) by River Jaymes Review

   The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles Book 1) by River Jaymes  3.5 Stars!

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn’t have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex’s company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec’s new boyfriend.

The ex suspects Dylan is lying.

Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.

And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.

But Dylan’s a master bullshitter, and the phony PDA soon turns ultra-hot. Alec can’t afford to get attached, and Dylan’s learned everyone eventually leaves. Unfortunately, playing the backup boyfriend is starting to feel way too real…

 

Review

I like the journey Alec and Dylan take in their love story. The are each well defined interesting characters whom I like very much. The conflict comes from who they are and for me that it is always the best kind.

Each hero grows and the romance is a real pleasure.

Alex’s day to day work life was missing and would have added depth but Dylan’s work was well integrated.

I do grow weary of the “no labels” arguments and think that the resolution for their difficulties is a bit too rush given the ups and downs of the relationship. I would have liked to wallow a bit even the the epilogue is good and I know they are found in later books in the series.

Kayson (Kennedy Ink. #1) by Jenny Wood Review

   Kayson (Kennedy Ink.(by Jenny Wood 3 Stars

Kayson Kennedy and his family pack up shop and move to tiny town, Georgia in order to get to know his newly found baby sister.
After the passing of their mother, Kayson and his brother Kingsley are determined to hold on to the only family they have left.
Opening up their tattoo shop in a small, conservative, town; Kayson never imagined he’d find love at all, most especially not right across the street…

Conner Allen owns his own bookstore in a plaza of other small stores, directly across the street from gorgeous, tatted up, Kayson Kennedy. Daydreaming for days about what it would be like to see him up close; his wish comes true when he’s attacked outside of his bookstore by a scared, angry teenager.

Now that the ice has been broken between the two, Kayson realizes he’s pretty smitten with the bookstore owner from across the street…. and his overweight cat, named, Pickles!

What will they do when the threat may not be over? Will the backlash of conservative, small town bigots keep Conner from the real life fantasy, he’s been dreaming about since Kayson moved in across the street? Or will Kayson do everything in his power to make those daydreams a reality?

Review

Okay. This book is a hot mess and ridiculous. But notice I still gave it 3 Stars. Hold on and I will explain.

It needs editing. The author has a little note about that. However, its is crazy sauce. The errors are about plurals and possessives and not about regional speech. I am not a grammar fiend and the errors made my eye twitch so if you have grammar based trauma, please avoid this book. It is really the first few chapters that are terrible and teeth gritting with these issues. Please let a copy editor reach out to Ms. Wood.

There is a both a slow burn and an insta love here. Slow seduction and then WHAM crazy intense love. So, what I am saying it the love story is tonally irregular.

We get the start of a small town gay romance and yay out characters who aren’t commitment phobic. Then, WHAM, crazy stalker/crime action. This is sorta of fun (if that kind of thing can be fun) but again tonal shift in these scenes and we never get back to the fun couple time we were having.

I am promised a lot of cat action. There is some but really I need more hero and cat time.

The reason the brothers move to the town are a little ….far fetched but whatever.

Both heroes are great–not man whores and they really like and value each other.

The circle of friends is good.

The romance just gets jerked around a bit.

Sooooo, far from stellar but lol I will likely pick up the next one and see if the ride is less all over the place.

Married for a Month by Cate Ashwood 4 Star Review

Review:

Married for a Month - Cate Ashwood

Best friends since high school, Chase Bradley and Alec Montero are opposites in almost every way. The one thing they can agree on, though, is that marriage is for suckers.

Everything is going their way until a drunken bet leads Alec and Chase to the altar. Their temporary “I Do’s” aren’t as amusing in the sober light of day when they find themselves thrown into married life and everything that goes with it.

The question they have to ask themselves now is, can their friendship survive being married for a month.

 

Review

This low angst friends to lovers romance was right in the sweet spot with a great fake marriage plot, conflict only based on character, sexy love, and well earned happily ever after. True love. 

A lovely low angst romance that is engaging because of the wonderful relationship and well its sexy. 

I adore a fake marriage plot and the live with each thing and that gets even better when we have to grown men who are best friends for a lot of their lives. They know their sexualities and have rich professionial lives as well as family and friends. They haven’t found love and then, of course it is right there in their best friend. They worry a bit about ruining the friendship but not so long it feels false and then they take the risk. So wonderful.

So, far I have found Cate Ashwood to be a writer’s whose books I can turn to when I just want to be delighted by love and have a cuddle,. Good stuff!

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1587985/married-for-a-month-by-cate-ashwood-review

Served Hot (Portland Heat, #1) by Annabeth Albert Review

Review:

Served Hot (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

n Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…
 
Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?

 

Review

 

Sweet and character driven with a dash of hear.

I love Annabeth Albert’s books. I can count on her for great characters and conflict that comes that builds from who the characters are. Love it!

Both hero’s are impacted by their past relationships and it is really a joy to watch them fall in love and work it out.

Very pleasurable read.

 

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1575848/served-hot-portland-heat-1-by-annabeth-albert-review