Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Random Review: Up For Heir by Stella Starling #Review #Giveaway



Title: Up For Heir
Series: Rosavia Royals #1
Author: Stella Starling
Self Published
Publication date: June 16, 2020
Length: 315 pages 

Reviewed by Nikki

Synopsis

A playboy heir needs: a man to marry, right now.

After spending half his life dodging his duty to the crown, the rebel heir to the Rosavian throne has been told in no uncertain terms that it’s time to settle down. Crown Prince Leopold has one month and a vetted list of suitable princesses, and he will announce his engagement during Rosavia’s Royal Ball. But Leo’s got his own ideas about what really suits him…

Royal Librarian Edvin Blom is good at not attracting attention. Shy and self-conscious of his stutter, he’s used to being overlooked and more than happy to stay in the background. At least, until the crown prince with a wild reputation shows up at the library’s new opening and decides to flirt with Edvin’s sister…

Edvin isn’t at all what Leo thought he wanted, but turns out to be everything he can’t stay away from. Edvin’s been burned by falling for someone out of his league before, though. And believing that Leo has really fallen for him? While Edvin’s drowning in his own doubts and insecurities, that might prove impossible… unless love gives them both a reason to come up for air.





Review


Up for Heir is the first book in the shared world series, Rosavia Royals. Each book is written by a different author but happen at the same time and in the same place. They don’t have to be read in order but there are some characters in each that you might recognize.

As the crown prince, Leo needs to find a suitable match ASAP. Of course, that plan doesn’t exactly pan out the way he thought when he meets shy Edvin.

I really enjoyed Edvin. He was so, so sweet, and even though he had some self-esteem issues from a horrible ex, he was fierce in his love for his family. Which is a total weakness for me—characters who are normally quiet getting to stand up for those they love? Perfection.

I liked that there wasn’t an issue within this “world” when Leo fell for a man instead of a woman, but I sort of wanted to see him at least react to his attraction since he’d only ever been attracted to women before. Without any sort of reflection or realization, the story doesn’t really fulfill the “awakening” of bisexuality.

The pacing was a little slow in places with a lot of navel gazing during conversations. I’m all for internal realizations but there was a little too much rambling between lines of dialogue sometimes.

Overall, it was a sweet read and I’m interested to see how the rest of the series turns out. Having a whole series of royals finding true love? Definitely sounds like fun!




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Friday, July 10, 2020

New Release Review: Fakers by Lucy Lennox & May Archer #Review #Giveaway





Title: Fakers
Authors: Lucy Lennox & May Archer
Self Published
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Length: 311 pages 

Reviewed by Sammy

Synopsis

Brooks Johnson’s Words To Live By:
When returning to Licking Thicket, TN, for the first time in ten years to reunite with your nosy neighbors, heart-broken ex-girlfriend, and matchmaking mama who never quite believed you were gay, it’s best to bring a fake boyfriend as backup...
Just don’t be surprised when your ex-girlfriend does the same.
And when her incredibly hot fake boyfriend becomes the one island of calm in a sea of bovine-based insanity, it’s best to exercise caution… especially when he pushes you up against the rough barn wall to check you very thoroughly for splinters...
Just don’t be surprised if you fall head-over-hooves in love with him.




Review


Brooks is a rising star in the advertising world—a fixer and he sure needs to do just that after someone else screws the pooch and nearly loses the agency their biggest client. Now on a mission to save the deal, the last thing Brooks needs is a call from home telling him he’s needed. But his dad is sick and someone has to take over Head Licker duties—unfortunately it has to be him. Dragging along his coworker, Paul, who he is passing off as his boyfriend due to the fact that his mother doesn’t believe he is actually gay, he goes home to Licking Thicket for the 200th celebration of the annual Lickin’ festival.

There is a reason Brooks left town ten years ago and has rarely been back and that has to do with the huge debacle during the last festival when he accidentally came out to the entire town and broke his girlfriend Ava’s heart. They were the golden couple and the entire town expected him to marry her—just like she did. Well, Brooks is about to get a big dose of Ava and her “boyfriend” Mal—a metal artist who uses reclaimed junk to create masterpieces. He’s waiting for his work to be picked up by a gallery, she’s his best friend, he’s gay, she’s pregnant and ready for revenge on Mr. Perfect aka Brooks. It’s a tangled web of fake relationships and half-truths. In between there will be contests to judge, the Lope to run, apologies to be made and more than one person falling for the wrong boyfriend.

I honestly laughed till I had tears coming out of my eyes. Lucy Lennox and May Archer have released a brilliantly funny and sweet romantic comedy called Fakers. Between the endless puns, the insane side cast of characters who seem hellbent on making poor Brooks jump through as many hoops as possible, and the sizzling attraction between Mal and Brooks, this story is just marvelous. When Brooks’ dad makes the statement about two Nutters (another family in town) and a Johnson (their surname) I think I died. Ava may start out as a bit of a witch but she morphs into the classiest, sweetest friend Brooks or Mal could ever want. Honestly other than the fairly transparent plot (no new ground is broken here) I have nothing to complain about with this story.

Even though you can guess everything that is about to happen next in this novel, the way in which Archer and Lennox create such dynamic and hysterically funny characters and then place them in impossible situations that are just crazy enough to be real makes this story a hit for me. I flew through the chapters-each funnier than the last. Mal and Brooks are both slightly broken—coming from small towns where they couldn’t be themselves to escape to big cities only to feel lonely and frustrated. Licking Thicket will turn out to be a haven for them both—much to their surprise. The town will embrace their lost son and add another during this book and it is really very lovely to watch happen. Paul and Ava will meet and fall in love further complicating the already tangled foursome’s dynamic. Paul, by the way, is absolutely hilarious and I love him to death. It’s all a bit clichĂ© how it turns out but I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

Fakers takes a small town with a big heart, her wayward returning son/hero and his ex and their fake boyfriends and creates a dual love story that is just fantastic. I highly recommend this novel to you.





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Random Review: Redemption by Garrett Leigh #Review #Giveaway




Title: Redemption
Series: Darkest Skies #1
Author: Garrett Leigh
Self Published
Publication Date: June 25, 2020
Length: 248 Pages

Reviewed by Sammy


Synopsis

Reformed gangster Luis falls hard for his boss. When friendship turns to love, it’s up to Paolo to convince him second chances are worth the pain.

Luis Pope is back on the street after a six year stretch in prison, but life on the outside seems just out of reach, especially when the whole neighbourhood knows his face for all the wrong reasons.

Paolo’s temper makes it hard to keep staff, and he knows Luis’s rep all too well. But his nonno believes in redemption, and Luis isn’t the tough guy Paolo remembers. Prison has left its mark, inside and out, and all the kindness in the world can’t fix the three inch scar on Luis’s skull.

And it can’t keep ghosts locked up. Luis’s the best worker Paolo’s ever had, and Luis’s happier than he’s ever been. But his old life doesn’t want to stay in the past. Trouble comes to call, and when it makes him an offer he can’t refuse, keeping Paolo safe hurts the most.

Redemption is an angsty, standalone MM romance novel, with second chances, found family, friends-to-lovers, and buckets of hurt/comfort themed loveliness.





Review



Luis Pope is not sure what frightens him more—the idea that he must find a job or his brother finding him. Being an ex-con and a “road man” who once was the second in command of a lucrative gun and drug business means that if his face is not recognized his name will be particularly since his brother, Dante, still runs the neighborhood with an iron fist. But he is a changed man—one that just wants to get along and find peace. But convincing anyone else of that is not going to be easy.

Paolo runs himself ragged working the family business—a small cafĂ© that is always busy but barely breaking even. With the bills for both his nonna and nonno’s home care mounting, Paolo is barely keeping afloat and the fact that he can’t seem to keep on any other staff due to his temper does not help. When the guy comes in for a cup of tea and asks about the job he has posted in the window Paolo recognizes him at once. There is no way he’s going to get involved with a Pope—ex-con or not the guy has a reputation and it isn’t a good one. He makes the mistake of discussing it with his nonno who reminds him that everyone deserves a chance at redemption so Paolo decides to take a chance on Luis. Not only does he turn out to be an incredible worker but the attraction between them simmers instantly. Now if only Paolo can trust that Luis is really ready to be a new man and not return to the life he once led.

Garrett Leigh is ready to rip your heart out with their latest release, Redemption, and did so quite successfully to me. If there is another character more deserving of a second chance than Luis Pope than I defy you to name them. By the second page of this novel I was ready to gather this man up and keep him from all harm just like Paolo tries to do eventually. But oh my the claws of his brother run deep and sure and poor Luis is trapped in an endless nightmare of having to either ignore the threat his brother Dante presents to those he cares about or risk going back to prison by becoming a road man once again.

I can’t exactly express to you how emotionally captivating this story is—how deeply it affected me and angered me on Luis’ behalf. It was so patently unfair that this man who simply wanted to make a fresh start just wasn’t allowed to do so. Even though he had someone who wanted to protect him and love him, Luis not only couldn’t see his own worth but couldn’t escape his past either. He is a flawed man who never stands a chance at finding peace—not because of anything he chooses but because of a life forced upon him.

 I could go on and on but suffice it to say that this love story broke my heart and then put it back together again and I loved every minute of it. With gorgeous writing, beautiful characters and resilient love Garrett Leigh creates a gorgeous story called Redemption and I highly recommend it to you.






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