Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Tour for Designs on You by Carrie Pack (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Fans of the m/m genre will find themselves drawn to Designs on You by Carrie Pack, a sweet and sexy story that you can learn more about as you keep reading.  You'll also get my impressions of this book, as well as Ms. Peck's thoughts on getting people to read more m/m-themed stories, and you can learn even more about this book by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Carrie will be awarding a $25 BN GC and a free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack to a randomly chosen entrant too!

How do you bring in readers to the m/m genre who don't normally read these kinds of books?
I think we’re lucky to be at a point in time where LGBT media are growing in popularity and also where the marketplace is clamoring for fresh takes on the romantic tropes that we all know and love. Many readers no longer worry about what it means to read gay romance; they’re simply enjoying the story as it unfolds, regardless of the gender of the protagonists.
For readers who have never read a love story featuring two men, I’d encourage them to give it a try. Not only will they find a fresh perspective on romantic relationships, I think they’ll also be exposed to a lot of exciting authors who are interested in exploring what love, in all its forms, means in the 21st century.
My mother, who is not at all interested in the m/m genre—she wouldn’t know it existed if it weren’t for me—said she got so caught up in the dialogue in my novel that she forgot details. (OK, yes, she’s my mom. She’s inherently biased, but she’d also tell me if it sucked.) The point is, she wanted to know how the story ended; she wanted to read faster to know if it had a happy ending. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for when we read? A reason to turn the page.
Fiction is where you can explore fantasy and imagination, worlds to get lost in, ways to find yourself. As children we read fairy tales where princesses kiss frogs; as young adults we might read about teenage girls falling in love with vampires or Hobbits going on epic quests; we read about time travel and demonic cars, zombies and superheroes. Nothing is outside the scope of human imagination. So why would it be a stretch to read about two men falling in love?
I think the trick to getting someone to read any genre is to write characters that people can relate to. Scarlett O’Hara. Harry Potter. Atticus Finch. Holden Caulfield. Bella Swan. Whether we love them or love to hate them, whether it’s about vampires or soccer moms or gay men, whether it takes place in the past or on a distant planet, we just have to be able to understand them. To find something familiar in them. It’s that simple… and that tough.
At its core, Designs on You is a love story about two people who are scared to reveal their true selves for fear of getting hurt. What if who they are is rejected? What if they’re not good enough? I think we can all relate to that on some level. So I would encourage anyone who enjoys character-driven romances to give it a shot and let me know what you think.

If graphic designer Scott Parker has to design one more cupcake company logo, he might lose it. So when he is tasked with retouching photos for a big fashion client, a stunning, lanky model mesmerizes Scott and occupies his fantasies long after the assignment is finished.
When the model is assigned to one of Scott’s projects, Scott discovers that the object of his desire is nothing like what he imagined. Despite Jamie Donovan’s aloof and dismissive behavior, Scott struggles to forge a friendship with him, all the while trying to keep his attraction at bay.
Will Jamie follow through on signals that he may be interested, or will he forever be the beautiful man in the photograph, an untouchable fantasy?


His previous dance partner seemingly forgotten, Jamie puts his hands on Scott’s hips and guides his movements until he relaxes a little. At some point Scott manages to calm his nerves enough to sync his dancing with the pulse of the driving bass line. He lets himself get lost in the music and the simple feeling of Jamie pressed against him. And God does that feel good.
When the song changes up to one with a slower beat, Jamie’s arms find their way around Scott’s neck, and he pulls him in tight to his torso. They’re touching from chest to hip and their feet are tangled as they sway together. Scott grabs onto Jamie’s waist in order to keep himself from falling over, the sensation making his skin feel warm and tingly at every point of contact. And even trapped in the midst of a sweaty, drunken mass of guys on the dance floor, Jamie smells amazing.
It’s so different from staring at him on a screen. In pictures, he’s stunning, a perfect specimen of what a model should be, but the reality of him is something else entirely. He’s almost a different person, this mess of sweat and cotton with a hint of cologne wafting toward Scott’s nose as he leans forward a little more and allows himself to get lost in the music.
By the third song, it becomes apparent that Jamie is more than a little drunk.
“I really hate you, you know,” Jamie says into Scott’s ear, loud enough so he can be heard above the music, and close enough that it sends shivers down Scott’s spine, even though Jamie’s words are slightly slurred.
“No you don’t,” Scott says, leaning in just as intimately.
Jamie pulls back, and his eyes are hooded and dark for a moment before he squares his shoulders and shakes his head slowly. It seems to clear the fog in his head.
“I need a drink,” he declares and pulls Scott by the hand toward the bar.


On the surface this looks to be your average boy meets boy love story but as you read further you get a story of emotional intensity and having the strength to go after what you really want both in love and life.  With its two larger than life main characters and sweet and sexy story I found myself put through the emotional wringer but enjoying the journey wholeheartedly.

Scott is a true talent but he's not where he wants to be in his career.  He longs for more challenge and something of worth, both in his work and play.  After being dumped by a cheating ex he's finally ready to move on after becoming obsessed with the object of his lates advertising job, the sexy and seemingly perfect Jamie.  Scott sees immense promise looking into his eyes and at a body made for sin.  Too bad the reality isn't as good as what Scott created in his head for Jamie is cold and aloof.  Despite all that Scott still sees something worthwhile behind that crusty exterior and becomes his friend and ultimately something more in a journey full of heartbreak.  Scott is immensely loyal and accepting of Jamie working through his issues.  I loved Scott from the start with his self-deprecating humor and cheered him on as his patience finally paid off in an ending that made me smile.

Jamie is a sexy man who uses his looks to make a living.  People see what they want to see when looking at him and it's led to heartbreak in the past for him.  He's closed his heart off to keep the hurt away which gives the impression of being cold, aloof, and unlikable.  His first meeting with Scott crackles with sexual tension as he's drawn to Scott but he constantly gave mixed signals that left me frustrated.  Because of his wishy-washy nature and ill-treatment of Scott it took almost the entire book before I warmed up to him.

The characters in this book were easy to relate to despite their foibles.  Their romance evolved in a believable way that put them and me through the emotional wringer as they both knew they had something beyond friendship but Jamie refused to fully commit to Scott in a turbulent journey to an immensely satisfying HEA.  Fans of the m/m genre will find this a delightful read with good romance and a few laughs that I wholeheartedly recommend and I look forward to reading more from this new-to-me author.

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


A former graphic artist, Carrie Pack turned to her early career experience as the backdrop for her first novel. She lives in Florida with her husband, where she teaches advertising writing at a local college.



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  1. Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest and for the great review!

  2. I love the amazing and interesting cover!

    1. Thanks! Interlude Press has some an amazing cover artist!

  3. I was interested to read your comments about writing in the M/M genre and that as long as you enjoy the book what does it matter its genre or if you love or hate the characters. At the core of any good book, regardless of its genre, is something the reader can understand or relate to. Which your characters do, as I am sure a majority of readers can recognise and empathise with the characters fears of rejection and revealing to much of themselves due to past bad experiences with a potential new partner.

    Thank you for a chance of winning a copy of this book :)

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed my post... and good luck in the giveaway!

  4. I loved the comments about getting your mother to read the genre. Kudos to you. My mother would faint from shock. ;-) I also appreciate the review.