Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Spotlight on Anton by Brenda Rothert (REVIEW)


Unrequited love fuels this romance between an honorable hockey player and the woman still trying to recover from a painful marriage.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Anton by Brenda Rothert, along with my impressions of this emotionally intense sports romance, then add this first installment in the Chicago Blaze series to your bookshelf!

He’s known as Father Anton to his teammates—the brooding, sexy captain of the NHL’s Chicago Blaze has a reputation for…not having a reputation. Just like his diet and sleep routines, celibacy is part of Anton Petrov’s on-ice mojo. Or so they say. Anton stays mum on the subject. If the world thinks he chooses to abstain from sex, so be it. Better that than the truth getting out: there is a woman he burns for, but he can never have her. She’s his teammate’s wife, after all.
Mia Marceau is finally on her own. Now that she and her husband are living apart, she’s finding the peace she was desperate for. She spends her days in classes and late nights bartending, making her own way in the world at last. After what she’s been through, as long as her husband leaves her alone, she doesn’t plan to rock the boat. He still has the power to hurt those dearest to her, and she can’t demand a divorce with such a high cost.
A chance encounter with Mia has Anton hoping for a shot he never thought he’d get. And while she’s drawn to the intense, serious hockey center, Mia’s leery about playing with fire. That’s all Anton has ever known for Mia, though—a living, burning desire that won’t be denied—no matter the cost.

FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  KOBO  |  iBOOKS


MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

Hockey-fueled romances seem to be all the rage right now and yet into this crowded field comes this series starter about unrequited love and friendship, all wrapped up in a sweet and sensual blanket.  It’s a slow-burn romance between a star player with a heart of gold and a woman struggling to rediscover herself after years stuck in a marriage that’s tore her apart.  Along the way readers are introduced to an entertaining and drool-worthy roster of hockey players that I look forward to seeing more of in future installments in the Chicago Blaze series.

Anton Petrov and his brother Alexei have always excelled at playing hockey.  For Anton it involved lots of hard work and a regimented existence, while for Alexei it was pure talent that he doesn’t have to work too hard to achieve.  Coming to America gave them a new family, a chance to join pro teams, and for Anton...an attraction to a woman he has no business wanting to claim as his own.  From the minute he first saw Mia, his teammate Adam’s wife, he was drawn to her and it’s been a frustrating wait for him to get to spend time with her.  As an honorable man though it’s a wait that has him offering friendship while hoping for more.  Throughout this story his support for her shines through, his kind heart has him offering kindness with no strings attached, and it endeared him to me.  He treats Mia like a queen, helps her unconditionally while also caring for his uncle who’s a laugh-inducing curmudgeon.  Anton’s a highlight of this story, a new addition to my list of book boyfriends, and through each word and deed he warmed my heart even more as he made this book end with a definite HEA. 

Mia Marceau came from rough beginnings, a woman who cares deeply for those she claims as family and who’s not afraid to work hard.  She was a strong-willed woman focused on a future of success, helping her grandparents live a life of comfort.  Getting married to the charismatic hockey player Adam was her downfall though as he pulled her from her plans for the future and stole her self-esteem through his abusive words and deeds.  Though she’s desperate to divorce him, her need to take care of her grandfather keeps her tethered to him as he continues to leave his mark on her soul in a heartbreaking reveal.  There’s tension and fear surrounding Mia when readers first meet her, but her burgeoning friendship with Anton has her becoming empowered and taking whatever steps necessary to get her old self back.  Their friendship is heartwarming and just what she needs as she’s been alone for far too long.  It’s a friendship teeming in sensuality that doesn’t go any further until her future is settled in an immensely satisfying interlude that had me cheering.  Mia’s journey was full of tears, degradations due to Adam’s vileness, and it pulled me in wholeheartedly for its realism and for her being able to overcome her past.  Through it all she’s a likable heroine, one who just wants to be loved for herself, be accepted by Anton despite her imperfections that made her all the more likable.  Theirs is a formidable pairing, one that’s hard-fought, and it put a smile on my face for their sweet and sensual journey to HEA.

This was an engaging series starter that presents readers with an immensely appealing main couple and their epic love story of friends to lovers.  With a hero who’s earned the title due to his unconditional support of Mia, his blatant love and concern for those he claims as his, readers will be charmed.  Mia is the easy to relate to heroine whose life pulls at the heartstrings and who you’ll be rooting for from the very first page to the last.  Their journey from friends to lovers felt natural, powerful in their unconditional support of each other, and it drives this story with heart and soul.  Surrounding this memorable main couple is an equally compelling cast of secondary characters that I’m longing to know more about it.  Anton’s brother Alexei is the exact opposite of his brother, an unrepentant player who lives life without a care in the world.  He’s almost living too much on the edge though, partying and drinking to excess, and it feels as though he’ll crash and burn soon.  Despite his devil may care attitude I still find myself tempted by him and hoping his story gets told soon.  Anton’s teammate Luca is another character that tempts me as he’s a good guy who has custody of his three nieces and nephews.  He’s trying to be a good father figure, balancing time on the ice and off, and I look forward to seeing his personal life take center stage.  Anton’s uncle Dix also pulled at my heartstrings, making me smile and bringing a tear to my eye in the end.  Though this story is set in the hockey world, this story is definitely focused on Anton and Mia’s relationship.  The moments spent on the ice are exhilarating though and I hope to see more of these scenes in the next installment.  The only criticism I have of this story involves Adam and the less than satisfying conclusion to his involvement in Mia’s life.  On a whole though this was an engaging series starter that has me counting down the days until we revisit the men of the Chicago Blaze.

My rating for this is a B+

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

AUTHOR INFO:

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Book Tour for For Her Honor by Holly Bush (GIVEAWAY)


Two people unlucky in love deal with the fallout of their pasts through an unexpected connection in this engaging historical romance.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of For Her Honor by Holly Bush and discover even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour.  In honor of this fourth installment in The Gentry’s of Paradise series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC too!

1873 -
Adam Gentry, heir to the celebrated Paradise Stables in Virginia, is haunted by the visions of his lost love. Feeling cursed by fate, he slips deeper into grief, shrouded in a cloud of liquor and depression, and neglects his duties and responsibilities. But when Adam is forced to accept that there’s nothing he can do to change his past, he knows he must move on.
And he accepts his own destiny: that he will never love again.
Emmaline Somerset finds herself in the worst possible position any unmarried woman can be in. She will have to abandon all of her plans, hopes, and dreams for an independence using her own talents. The only viable solution is to move to a distant relative’s home and reinvent herself as a widow with an infant. No one will ever be the wiser.
Adam, now determined to secure the Gentry legacy, plans to save longtime family friend Emmaline from her embarrassment with an offer of marriage. But what Adam didn’t plan on was how his unexpected attraction to her would stir something inside of him, something he's kept locked deep within.
Can love finds its way between two troubled souls, one driven by duty, the other by honor, both determined to find their way home?

EXCERPT:

Adam thought that she really did need some rest as it seemed to him she was holding herself upright by sheer will alone. He stood at his place. Everyone turned their heads to him as if he would be giving another toast like Matt had done, making everyone chuckle, and then Jim, whose wishes for them had everyone in the room misty-eyed, including him. But his mother and Mrs. Somerset, his mother-in-law, strange as that sounded, both looked at Emmaline and stood.
Come along now,” Louise said to Jane and Phillip and Betsy and motioning to Edwin to help her from her chair. “This has been a long day and I am exhausted.”
Yes. I am as well,” Eleanor said. “And these children have near worn themselves out.”
Everyone drifted to the front hallway, gathering wraps and kissing children. Jim had Nettie’s two in his arms, carrying them outside to their carriage. Adam helped Louise into her seat and kissed her cheek as Edwin gathered the reins and nodded at him.
See that Emmaline lies down, won’t you, Adam? I’m so worried for her,” Louise said.
Of course. It’s been a trying week, but I think it was a beautiful and memorable day.”
She nodded and looked at him with watery eyes. “It has. Thank you.”
Matt and Annie were walking home, and he waved at them after kissing the children and thanking them. He went back inside and found Emmaline hurrying to the door.
Tell mother to wait,” she began and then looked at him, her face going scarlet. “I don’t live there anymore, do I?”

BUY AT AMAZON here.

AUTHOR INFO:

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S. in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.



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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Book Spotlight on Mixtape: A Love Song Anthology (REVIEW)

Readers will find themselves entertained by this love song-inspired anthology that will put a sentimental smile on your face along with a blush or two.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of the Mixtape anthology, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf!




What’s more romantic than a love song? A mixtape full of them.
Twelve bestselling and award-winning authors have curated an anthology of brand-new, standalone stories inspired by love songs, featuring a foreword written by NYT bestselling author Laurelin Paige. Press PLAY on this limited-edition collection that’s guaranteed to make you swoon.








FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  iBOOKS  |  BN  |  KOBO  |  GOOGLE PLAY


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LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST THAT INSPIRED THIS ANTHOLOGY here.


MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

Like other anthologies this collection offers a wide variety of themes, couplings, and steaminess.  There’s definitely something for everyone here, from sentimental stories that charmed me to erotically-charged tales that made me blush.  It’s ultimately a blast from the past as music and romance are blended together in these twelve tales that kept me entertained for hours.

While I found something satisfying in each entry in this collection, there were a few that were particularly entertaining.  The first story (Guys My Age by Saffron Kent) features an older man/younger woman romance that started when she was young and has been slowly burning ever since.  Fallon’s always struggled with depression but being around the older Dean gave her childhood a sense of security and acceptance that has turned into a woman’s love.  Dean however has felt only guilt for the intense feelings she’s always engendered in him in a battle he’s finally tired of fighting.  Theirs was a sweet and sexy connection, one that spanned years in a bittersweet build-up.  Issues of mental illness were briefly touched on as well as concerns over their age difference to add deeper layers to this couple in a satisfying story.

The next story to capture my attention was Toothpaste Kisses by Xio Axelrod, a m/m romance set in the art world that brings together a struggling artist and a rich lawyer starting over after being dumped by his business and personal partner.  It’s an atmospheric tale that uses art to amp up the eroticism.  While it’s not a definitive HEA it’s a scorching slice of life that hypnotized me.  Malcolm’s a bit bitter at the start of the story, but finds a savior and a reason to start over when he discovers the colorful artwork of Pellam.  Theirs is a crackling connection, one full of sexual tension, that had them crashing together in a steamy encounter that promises to be just the beginning.

In a story of unrequited love between two men who’ve been friends since they were young, emotions become even more conflicted as Shane makes a surprising marriage proposal to their mutual friend out of fear of admitting his true desires and disappointing his family.  Think I’m In Love by Leslie McAdam is a fully fleshed-out tale full of heartbreak as Randy’s feelings for his best friend Shane pulls at reader’s heartstrings.  Friendship and love war with the truth and obligation as their true feelings flare to life repeatedly with Shane continually fighting his feelings in this scorching story that frustrated me often but kept me glued to the pages too.  Their battle is hard fought, one that punches the gut, but once the smoke clears it’s an ending that had me cheering and ready for the fallout to arrive.

On a whole this was a satisfying collection of stories that gave me hours of afternoon delights.  Scorching stories and remembrances of classic love songs wove a web of sweet and sexy moments featuring appealing characters.  Readers will find much to like in this collection that will be a decadently delightful addition to your bookshelf!

My rating for this is a B+

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

An Exciting Giveaway!

Hello to all my lovely followers!  It was just a day ago that I posted my impressions of the amazing Parrish by Janine Infante Bosco and I’m still thinking about it.  I want you to have the chance to get your hands on this epic romance too, so fill out the form below for the chance to win a signed print copy of this book!


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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Book Tour for Parrish by Janine Infante Bosco (Review & GIVEAWAY)


From the moment readers met Jack Parrish they knew they’d discovered a complex and unforgettable hero, a hero who’s a bit tarnished, but a hero nonetheless as he gives his all to help those he claims as his own.  This story is his story, his and Reina’s story of love, and it’s one heckuva ride.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Parrish by Janine Infante Bosco, along with my impressions of this emotionally intense read, then add this powerful tale to your bookshelf.  In honor of this fourth installment in the Satan’s Knights series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a mystery box too!

It’s not a wicked world that drives a man to sin, it’s a deranged mind. Baptized in dirty water by Satan himself, I’ve spent my whole life fighting the good fight, searching for the light in the darkness of insanity. Now, the light I’ve basked in for so long is finally dimming and the time has come for me to take my final bow before the curtain closes on my sanity.
After making a deal with the district attorney and providing my club with full immunity for the crimes we’ve committed, I have twenty-four hours to remind my wife, Reina, why she fell in love with a bastard like me before I turn myself in and break her heart.
But twenty-four hours isn’t enough.
Not for me and certainly not for the Devil.
Tragedy strikes, and my world implodes. It’s lights out for Jack and Reina and a man can’t survive without his sunshine. Engulfed in darkness, consumed by the crazy, I’m a weapon of mass destruction, ready to wreak havoc on the wicked world.
Word to the wise—proceed with caution, motherf*ckers.
The Bulldog is back!

EXCERPT:

Jack’s mood was ping-ponging. One minute he was the loving man on the cusp of signing his life away, the next he was a desperate creature, trying to prove his existence. If he could paint the world and leave his mark, I’m sure he would. Instead, he painted me, branding me in front of a faceless stranger in a parking lot.
It was nothing I pictured our final time together would be and yet, at that very moment, it was everything I needed. Desperation will make you insane and I’m starting to wonder if maybe Jack isn’t the only one losing his mind because I am not ashamed of what we did.
I’d do it again.
And again.
In front of thousands of eyes.
I’d paint the world too, letting everyone know I’m his.
The other half of Jack’s heart.
The broken piece he’ll leave behind in a few hours.
“Reina,” Jack calls from behind me, pulling me away from my thoughts. Shrugging my jacket off, I drape it over the back of one of the kitchen chairs before glancing over my shoulder at him. Leaning against the door frame, he crosses his arms and studies me for a moment.
“Are you okay?” he questions, narrowing his dark eyes.
“Of course,” I reply, turning around to completely face him. I comb my fingers through my hair and stare at him. “Why wouldn’t I be okay?”
“You barely said a word to Grace before she left,” he points out.
A frown ticks the corners of my mouth as I realize he’s right. I was too lost in my own head to pay much attention to Grace. I didn’t even bother to thank her for watching Danny or ask if she had heard back from her husband’s lawyer. Truthfully, I was relieved when I heard the door close behind her and for that I’m ashamed. In my defense, I’m terrified of the sun coming up and all I want is to lay next to my husband. I want to memorize the rhythm of his heartbeat and the way I perfectly fit in the crook of his arm.
I’ll have plenty of time to talk with Grace.
Plenty of chances to thank her for watching my son.
But I won’t have my husband.
“I’ll call her tomorrow to apologize,” I say as he pushes off the doorjamb and takes a step closer to me.
“Talk to me, Reina,” he pleads. “Tell me what’s going on inside that head of yours.”
I smile at his choice of words.
“Isn’t that my line?”
He cocks his head to the side as he reaches me and lifts his hand to my cheek.
“I love looking at you,” he says softly. “In the morning when you wake up. When you’re cooking and helping Danny with his homework. When you smile and fuck, I love watching you laugh too. After you come when you’re completely satisfied and look at me like I’m some kind of fucking king—that’s another look I love.”
Pausing, he lifts his other hand to my face and cups my cheeks as he leans his forehead against mine.
“But this look, the one you’re giving me right now, it’s fucking breaking my heart Reina.”
“What look?”
“Your light is dimming, Sunshine,” he whispers.
As much as I hate to admit it, he’s right. I told myself I wouldn’t fall to pieces, that I’d stay strong until he surrendered, but I’m losing my will. It’s all too much and I can’t help but feel like I’m grieving a living man. The very last thing I want is our final memories of one another to be these. I want us to remember each other as lovers and know the part of him that is me, will never die.
“I’m fine,” I tell him.
“You’re breaking.”
“No,” I argue, shaking my head free of his hold. “I don’t break, Parrish.”
The words sound weak to my own ears, but I refuse to show defeat. Smoothing a hand down his chest, I force a smile.
“Go check on Danny, give him a kiss and tuck him in for the night. I’m going to take a quick shower before I meet you in bed.”
“Reina—“
“Please, Jack,” I interrupt hoarsely. Something snaps deep inside of me and I lose my filter. “I haven’t asked you for a thing since you told me you were taking the deal. I didn’t beg you to change your mind or ask you to choose me. I stood by your side and performed the role of the supportive wife like it was my God given right. In reality, I’m mourning my husband and he’s standing right in front of me. Do you have any idea how that feels?” I cry, balling my fists angrily. “My heart is broken and in the back of my mind I’m wondering how I’m going to go on without you, but I can’t let that consume me because we’re not going to remember our love this way. We get one chance at goodbye, Jack. One shot at closing the story with a beautiful memory. Now, I’m asking you to pretend like you don’t see the cracks in my bravado. I want to remember how loved I felt every time my husband looked at me and how safe I felt in his arms. I want to remember his gruff voice in my ear and the scent of his cologne on my sheets. I want to remember you the way I saw and felt you since the day I met you. Give me that. Please, give me that memory.”
I wait for the regret to seep into my soul but the need to wish my words away doesn’t come. Not even when he takes a step backward and flinches as if I’ve smacked him across the face. We’re a lot of things but what we’re not are liars. Our marriage is full of ugly truths we’ve both accepted, this is just another added to the list.


FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON (US)  |  AMAZON (UK)  |  AMAZON (CA)  |  AMAZON (AU)  |  BN  |  iBOOKS  |  BOOKBUB


MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

From the moment I was introduced to the tarnished white knight that is Jack Parrish I knew he’d take us on an incredible journey.  Whether in the forefront with guns blazing, or in the background making plans like a master chess player to keep his brothers safe, he’s always been larger than life.  His journey has been joyous, sensual, scary, and heartbreaking at times throughout the Satan’s Knights series of books and with this latest release he once again takes center stage in an exhilarating ride that kept me frantically turning the pages to see what happens next.

With the previous book’s jaw-dropping conclusion, readers are still reeling as it appears that time’s run out for Jack and left him with no more options to save his club and his son-in-law, Blackie.  Ready to make the ultimate sacrifice Jack makes the most of his final day of freedom to take his soulmate Reina on a journey that reminds readers of their undying love and gives us even more reason to adore Jack as he sweeps her off her feet in a sweet and sexy goodbye.  Just when you think you know what’s coming though, things take an unexpectedly shocking turn that unleashes “the Bulldog” as he once again fights to save those he loves while proving to Reina that he’s worthy of her love in a sentimental and emotionally intense love letter.  Jack’s a character not easily defined as he’s done some very bad things in his life, though they were done in protection of others.  He’s not exactly a hero either, but he’s definitely not a villain as his love for his club and the unconventional family he’s created shines bright in all that he does.  He has a big heart and has repeatedly shown it throughout the series by making many other bruised and broken characters “Property of Parrish”.  Helping others has led him to this tumultuous point, along with his deteriorating mental health, and the low point he reaches here broke my heart.  I shouldn’t have counted him out though as, like a phoenix, he rises from the ashes to once again make right the wrongs that befall those closest to him.  It’s a ride full of shocking twists and turns, suspenseful moments, and pulse pounding action that made for an unforgettable story that I never wanted to end!

Standing by Jack’s side is the strong-willed Reina, a woman with plenty scars of her own who never saw herself as the Old Lady to a club president.  It’s forced her into being stoic, hiding her fears of Jack’s losing battle with insanity and their uncertain future.  This book shows a chink in her armor, but it’s a sweet and sexy reminder of their love for each other too.  It’s a love that’s put through the wringer, broken down before being beautifully rebuilt.  Theirs is an epic love story, set against the backdrop of danger and suspense careening towards the club, and all I could do was hold on for dear life.  Along with solidifying his connection to Reina, there were the changes going on in the club that Jack also had to deal with which added another level of heartache to the story. His brothers were always there for him in the past, could always be counted on to follow him into the fire, but there’s doubt in this story caused by the fallout from the previous book and Jack’s declining mental health.  For all that Jack’s sacrificed for them I was a bit disappointed, but Ms. Bosco quickly reminds them and us of what being “Property of Parrish” means in a story that ultimately has you cheering after all sorts of heart pounding and action-packed scenes.

Throughout this series Ms. Bosco shows why she’s my go-to author for MC-themed romances as she’s a master of balancing love with suspense, heartwarming encounters with heartbreaking events, all in order to tell a story full of heart and soul.  Her characters are far from perfect, but their imperfections make them perfect in my eyes and have kept me wholeheartedly invested in each one of these characters.  The depiction of Jack’s mental demons was vivid, realistic, and added a sense of foreboding to a story that already had me on edge.  This was a story worth waiting for, an end in some respects, but a beginning in other ways that has me greatly anticipating where Ms. Bosco takes us next!

My rating for this is an A.

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

AUTHOR INFO:

Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.
She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Book Cover Reveal for Lord Have Mercy by Lani Lynn Vale...


Naughtiness abounds in this scorching tale of opposites attracting in a small town where the past is never forgotten.  Keep reading to get a drool-worthy glimpse of Lord Have Mercy by Lani Lynn Vale, then start counting down the days until this second installment in the Southern Gentleman series releases on April 23rd!

Poor judgment: knowing better yet doing it anyway.
Flint Stone is a professional in every way.
He’s a police officer with the K-9 unit and works at Gun Barrel High as the school resource officer. In his spare time, he’s working his heart out to create a successful gym from the ground up.
He’s loved by every single person he ever encounters—student, faculty, and employees—Everyone but Camryn Elvis Presley.
The only thing they have in common is their mothers’ poor excuses for names.
Period. The end.
So why is it every time she crosses his path that he has the urge to mess up her perfectly curled hair? Or unbutton a few of her prim and proper buttons?
He knows he should stay away, yet like the high schoolers he’s around every day, he has no choice but to react first and think about the consequences later.
Side note—bad decisions are made, leading to lapses in judgment that threaten both of their jobs. Yet when the time comes, neither one can seem to find the wherewithal to care. Why? Because being bad feels so good.


FIND AT GOODREADS here.

PRE-ORDER LINKS:  AMAZON (US)  |  AMAZON (UK)  |  AMAZON (CA)  |  AMAZON (AU)  |  KOBO


AUTHOR INFO:

Lani Lynn Vale is a USA Today Bestselling Author of over thirty titles.  She is married with three children, two dogs, two cats, a donkey, and a couple (a couple also meaning over twenty) chickens. When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair reading.
Lani is married with three children, and lives in the Great State of Texas.



WEBSITE  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  INSTAGRAM  |  GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE  |  BOOKBUB

Book Spotlight on His Uptown Guy by Felice Stevens (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Two men from very different backgrounds find an unexpected connection in a romance full of heart and soul.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of His Uptown Guy by Felice Stevens, along with my impressions of this powerful read, then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this charming m/m romance make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $20 Amazon GC too!

When Jesse Grace-Martin loses his father on 9/11, his charmed life is gone forever. People look menacing, and the streets no longer seem safe. After experiencing a brutal mugging, Jesse retreats to his apartment in the landmark Dakota building. Five years later, his first attempt to walk outside those famous gates again is a disaster—except for meeting the gorgeous maintenance worker who helps him through his crushing panic attack. Jesse can’t stop thinking about the guy but hesitates to reach out, knowing he has little to offer.
Dashamir Sadiko has big dreams. Money in the bank tops his list, and his peek into the life of the uber-wealthy at his job at the Dakota is all the incentive he needs. Struggling to work full-time and go to college, Dash desperately wants to break the cycle of poverty his parents had hoped to leave behind in Albania. When the two men become friends, Dash isn’t sure what to expect but can’t help his growing attraction to sweet and sexy Jesse. It’s nice to see how the other side lives, but his affections can’t be bought; Dash wants to be his own man.
Defying the Dakota’s co-op rules, the two share lunches, their hopes and dreams, and ultimately their hearts. Jesse slowly regains his courage, but he’s worried he’ll never be the person he once was and that he’s not good enough for Dash. And Dash isn’t convinced the son of poor immigrants’ has a place at the table with a blue-blood, trust-fund man. Jesse needs to realize that money can’t buy happiness and love, while Dash must learn to trust that what they have is real, that he’s more than Jesse’s walk on the wild side with an uptown guy.


FIND AT GOODREADS here.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON (US)  |  AMAZON (UK)  |  AMAZON (CA)  |  AMAZON (AU)


MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

The theme of opposites attracting has been done many times before, but Ms. Stevens has put a fresh spin on the familiar theme with a storyline that charmed me from the first page to the last.  The personalities of the two leads shone through to pull me in wholeheartedly through the ups and downs of their journey to HEA.  It’s a journey weighed down by inner demons along with intrusions from the outside world that pulled at my heartstrings a time or two as I cheered this couple on through their hard-fought battle to its very satisfying conclusion.

Life in The Dakota Apartments seems lavish and comfortable, with money no object for the residents who live there.  For Jesse Grace-Martin though it’s become a prison of his own making.  After the death of his father on 9/11, and a mugging a few years ago, he’s been unable to go beyond his front door.  He works from home, has help from friends and others who bring necessities to him, and watches out the window as life goes by.  He’s been feeling a bit restless lately though which has him attempting to go outside with disastrous results as he’s overcome by a panic attack.  Luckily for him the caring and supportive Dashamir Sadiko comes to his rescue in the first step of them becoming friends...and eventually more in a romance that deals with their different financial backgrounds as well as Jesse’s agoraphobia.  Jesse’s an immensely appealing character, kindhearted and quick to lavish gifts on his friends.  He isn’t fixated on the financial differences between him and Dash, he just wants to be with him as Dash is a strong support to him in working through his disability without judgement or guilt.  I cheered him on as the realities of agoraphobia were vividly depicted, the palpable fear that had my heart aching for him.  His fractured relationship with his mother caused me even more heartache, compounded by the beautiful relationship between Dash and his own mother, in scenes where Dash played a pivotal role in helping Jesse and his mother work through their pain.  Their support for, and care of, each other warmed my heart and made them a formidable couple.

Dash comes from a working class family, one where he and his sister want more for their parents and themselves.  He’s a hard worker who dreams of success and keeping his job at The Dakota is paramount, which is why he fears his burgeoning feelings for Jesse so much as relationships are forbidden between workers and residents.  He’s drawn to him the moment he comes to his rescue, in awe of Jesse trying to go out in the world again, yet protective too.  He’s very aware of the financial differences between the two of them, tries to keep their relationship a secret as he doesn’t want to jeopardize his job, but their connection binds them together and has them slowly becoming more than just friends.  Dash is a sweet and caring soul, supportive yet never pushy in helping Jesse deal with his agoraphobia.  His relationship with his sister and mother was endearing, while you could sense the tension between him and his father.  His past is what makes him the man he is today and I enjoyed the glimpse we get of his home life, a glimpse that was realistic in its dichotomy to Jesse’s life of wealth.

This was a slow-burn romance that started out with a crackling first meeting. From there Jesse and Dash spent time as friends with tons of sexual tension surrounding them as they dealt with the internal issues weighing on them, issues that never overwhelmed the story but made their romance all the richer for the work they put into being together. Jesse and Dash were a very likable couple, easy to relate to, and I became quickly invested in their HEA. Surrounding this likable main couple was an equally appealing cast of secondary characters, ones who were larger than life and who added color and heart to this standalone story.  Miranda, Jesse’s assistant, was especially memorable for her protectiveness which sometimes flared too brightly but was always well-meaning. This was ultimately a sweet and sensual tale that wrapped me up in its warm embrace and I look forward to what Ms. Stevens crafts next.

My rating for this is a B+/A-

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

AUTHOR INFO:

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.
Felice has written over twenty books in the gay romance genre. Her books been translated into German, French and Italian. Her novel. One Call Away, part of her Soulmates series, was mentioned in Buzzfeed as one of the best “Out for You” gay romances of 2017.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. She recently retired from the practice law and now daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


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