Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Tour for The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a great way to end the week I'm thrilled to bring you a book with an unconventional but compelling character.  Get to know the endearing Ginsberg and a real life person reminiscent of the character.  Keep reading to get a taste of this book, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more about it by visiting the other sites hosting this tour.  You'll also learn about a worthy charity tied-in to this book along with a great giveaway!  So let's get the fun started!

Hi, and welcome to the Burnt Toast B&B blog tour! We’re Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz, the authors of the book, and we’re so thankful to have you along for the ride, and thankful to our host, Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess, for having us here today!
Normally on a blog tour, we like to share all kinds of behind the scenes goodies to do with the book: inspiration images, glimpses into research and plotting, deleted scenes, conversations about our process, character bios, etc. For this tour, though, we’re doing something a little different, but we hope you’ll still find it worth your while.
When Heidi first pitched The Burnt Toast B&B, it was as an opposites-attract story centring around the world’s worst B&B . . . and an M/M romcom where one of the lead guys just happened to be transgender. Writing solo, she’d done a trans book before, but that was very much a Trans Book, all about exploring gender identity, defining who you are, and coming out to your friends and loved ones. This book . . . isn’t that. It’s the story of an optimistic hipster stuntman and a pessimistic lumberjack who learn to make espresso, fix up a failing B&B, and generally butt heads in between loads of laundry.
Ginsberg, our hipster, is much like many of our other favourite M/M heroes: he’s funny, resilient, romantic, and sexy as hell. He’s also transgender; secure in his identity, his body, and his sexuality; and working in a career he loves. But his life isn’t without hardships. Ginsberg made his own family after his biological one turned out to be too toxic to live with. He scrimped and saved and borrowed to pay for the medical care he needed to be happy and healthy. He found a roof over his head as a “considerate couchsurfer,” living with friends and acquaintances on a temporary basis when money got tight. In Derrick and his failing B&B, Ginsberg finally finds an opportunity to have a real home, if only he can convince Derrick to keep the place open.
Ginsberg’s background of financial hardship and lack of family support is all too common among many people who, like him, are trans and trying to live happy, fulfilling lives as their true selves. As such, we the authors, our publisher Riptide, and our generous blog tour hosts will be using the next few days to highlight the personal fundraisers of real trans people in need. We hope that if you’ve got a little extra money this month, you’ll consider donating, and if money’s tight, maybe you can help by spreading the word, too.

After breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.
Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.
Not outright, at least.
The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than how to put out kitchen fires.


The Bluewater Bay series continues with this intriguing, heartwarming, and endearing tale of two very different men finding solace and a sense of family with each other.  Theirs is a rocky road to HEA though as they're both very strong-willed with complications from within themselves and the outside world weighing on their burgeoning relationship.  It's an immensely satisfying journey dealing with issues of sexuality and living up to expectations that takes readers on an intensely emotional ride that makes us stronger too.

Derrick hated growing up and working at his family's B&B as it felt stifling and embarrassing.  The moment he could leave he did but after losing his dream job he was left crawling back home with only the B&B to support himself.  The loss of his parents soon after made working there even more oppressive and it's led to anger at what he could've been and loneliness as he feels lost with no one to support him.  Derrick just doesn't care anymore and it's clear through the simmering rage hiding behind his quietness and belligerence.  He desperately wants to leave it all behind but doesn't want to be a disappointment yet again.  I ached for Derrick's loss, loss of his dreams and of himself.  His sadness was palpable and radiated off him at the start.  Upon meeting the perky Ginsberg though his outer shell begins to crack and he finally crawls out of the standstill his life's become as the sparks and fireworks start flying.

Ginsberg is one of the most unique characters I've come across in a long time.  He's exceptionally positive considering all the hardships he's gone through.  After being tossed out by his family for his transgender identity he's flitted from one place to another just trying to eke out an existence.  A broken arm leads him to Derrick's crumbling B&B and for the first time he finally feels at home.  As he and Derrick morph from friends to lovers the B&B is resurrected too in an uplifting juxtaposition.  Ginsberg was an endearing and admirable character quite comfortable in his skin and lives by his own expectations, undefined by others.  His being transgender is never made out to be a big deal, it just is and this acceptance was refreshing.  I adored his positivity and for being the impetus to Derrick's coming back to life.

The romance between Derrick and Ginsberg was slow to develop, there wasn't much steaminess to their relationship but rather a comfortable warmth as they bathed in mutual acceptance.  There were rocky times too though, especially at the end where I felt Ginsberg was a bit too hard on Derrick.  Luckily a grand gesture has them reaching a well-deserved HEA and left me smiling.  Along with these two compelling main characters that we get to know through alternating POVs is a cast of colorful and supportive secondary characters that left their indelible mark.  From start to finish I was completely immersed in this sweetly romantic battle between the bearish Derrick and the perpetually perky Ginsberg.  I ached when they ached and cheered for them finally finding each other and I recommend this tale for its message of love and acceptance.

My rating for this is a B+

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


Learn more about Heidi Belleau at
Learn more about Rachel Haimowitz at


For our part, Rachel, Heidi, and Riptide will be giving donors a $5 Riptide credit code for every $10 in donations you make (up to $50 in codes per person, up to $5,000 in codes overall)--just email your donation receipt(s) to with the subject line “Burnt Toast Tour Donation,” and Riptide will send out all $5 codes a week after the tour ends. (It’s totally cool, by the way, to spread your donations across multiple fundraisers if you’d like; we’ll add up all your receipts sent in a single email and base your credit vouchers on the grand total.)
We’re also hosting a special contest for people who donate: every dollar in donations to any of these fundraisers will earn you an entry into a drawing for a full paperback set of Riptide’s current Bluewater Bay lineup, OR two signed paperback copies of The Burnt Toast B&B. We’ll draw one week after the blog tour ends. Every dollar helps, and every dollar counts!
Lastly, we’ll randomly select three commenters from all the tour stops and donate $50 apiece in each winner’s name to the trans charity or fundraiser of their choice. (Please be sure to leave a way for us to contact you if you win by LEAVING AN EMAIL ADDY!)

*****Today we’re signal boosting for Nika, who’s happily living full time as a woman, but desperately needs help for non-transition related medical care that would greatly improve her quality of life:  Like so many trans people, Nika struggled with years-long depression, and as a side-effect of that, was unable to care for her body/health, especially her teeth. Now she’s fundraising to undo that damage by having her old teeth replaced with dental implants. Nika lives in constant pain because of her teeth and has suffered illness due to a compromised immune system and life-threatening abscesses. In her own words, she needs help to “smile again”. If you’d like to find out more, or help her receive this life-altering procedure, visit her at


  1. Thank you for highlighting another person who can use some help from readers!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  2. Thanks for the review and the great tour/fundraising!

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

  3. Great post and such an awesome tour! I think this fundraiser/giveaway is truly wonderful! Thanks, allyswanson at hotmail dot com!