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review 2018-08-08 02:52
Release Day ARC Review: The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster
The Missing Ingredient - Brian Lancaster

About a year ago, Marcus, a busy chef in London, lost his best friend Raine in a car accident, and in one fell swoop, Raine's husband and their children as well, due to being asked to "give them time to grieve".

Marcus respected Tom's wishes, though he misses his two "nieces", never mind the grief of losing his friend and ersatz family. 

But then he runs into them by chance and realizes that Tom doesn't look like's holding it together at all, and it's obvious that Marcus is needed. He immediately steps up despite Tom's feeble protests, and soon, he's caring for the girls and taking care of Tom as well. Obviously Tom is straight, and any resurrected attraction Marcus may be feeling mustn't be acted upon. Because Tom is straight.

Or is he?

This is by design a slow burn romance, covering almost a year's worth of time, and the relationship between the two men develops realistically and organically, as Marcus and Tom and the girls start to mesh their lives together, with Tom relying on Marcus, and Marcus giving more and more of himself to prop up his late friend's family. 

There's also a bit of a side plot with the mystery of why Raine was in the location of the accident, with someone not her husband in the car. This side plot's resolution also serves as a point of conflict between Marcus and Tom, as Marcus relays to Tom what he found out, and as Tom has a hissy fit when he does. 

Tom struggles with his feelings for Marcus, and even goes so far as to attempt to deny that part of himself by showing apparent interest in dating a woman. This leads to him using Marcus' revelation of the mystery behind Raine's travel that fateful day to break off their budding romance, and mostly cut off communication. I really, really didn't like this Tom at all. I felt for him while he was coming to terms with his feelings for Marcus, but he then treated Marcus abysmally, and the man didn't deserve that at all. 

Despite the slowly developing romance, the book is actually quite fast-paced, and the pages just flew by. Marcus forgives Tom's behavior time and again, the fact that Tom is hiding him, until Tom does a really hurtful thing and Marcus has had enough. 

And then Tom comes to his senses, finally, realizes what's he lost, and makes the "grand gesture" to regain the man he loves. That scene had me a wee bit choked up. 

The epilogue - OMG! For a few moments there, I was in utter shock, not quite believing what I was reading, because seriously the epilogue is supposed to be where we get their HEA, and it just didn't seem to start out that way at all. I was all like "WTF?" and "WHY?" and then I turned the page and about died laughing. Clever, Brian Lancaster, real clever. 

The supporting cast was well-rounded, with Tom's parents, Moira and John, Tom's two daughters who were front and center but never overshadowed the relationship building, Tina, who's Marcus assistant... even some of the more minor characters who all played a role in moving the plot forward.

The book is told entirely from Marcus' third person POV, and we thus don't get a whole lot of insight into what makes Tom act the way he does, but we do see them both grow, retreat, and grow some more. In many cases, due to the circumstances, Marcus felt like the more mature of the two, even though he's 10 years Tom's junior. 

I enjoyed reading this book, and I think this would be a good choice for anyone who loves the hurt/comfort stories. Incidentally, while Tom's wife dies at the beginning of this book, it never feels as if this is simply a plot device to clear the way for Marcus and Tom - it's more that Raine's death leaves them both adrift, and they honor her memory in a myriad of ways, always mindful that they are in each other's lives because of what she meant to both of them - a wife to Tom, and Marcus' best friend, the person who's stood by him since their school days. 

Recommended.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2018-07-30 14:55
Review: “Vanilla Clouds” by Roe Horvat
Vanilla Clouds - Roe Horvat

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2018-07-27 17:11
Review: “Dirty Mind” by Roe Horvat
Dirty Mind - Roe Horvat

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

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review 2018-07-25 17:41
Risk Taker
Risk Taker - Lily Morton

This just really didn't work for me and honestly little things annoyed me more than they should have over time. I loved both men so it was not that. But were they really 34 years old? There is a gap of about 10 years in their relationship and in Ivo's artistic endeavors or lack there of, that seemed missing completely. Referencing a photograph and possible exhibition at the beginning that went unresolved, then comments about picking back up painting and implications that he had not painted since his father died, back during college (what I assume is 12 years earlier???)...and yet he is a well-renowned artist?  I am also not really sure they ever really talked to each other the way they should have and by the end I was just worn out on them both.

 

Hate it for me. Book 1 in this series is brilliant and definitely my favorite of the 3.

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review 2018-06-19 23:58
Release Day ARC Review: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey
The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever - Andrew Grey

I've never been to Bonaire, but after reading this book, I want to go. There are quite a few sections inside that read like an advertisement for the place, and I want to go. If you pop over to my blog, you'll see a couple of images of the reefs as well, taken by none other than the author.

Here's a link.

Tommy Gordon is getting ready for his wedding, straightening his tie just moments before the ceremony is supposed to start, when his groom-to-be tells him the wedding is off. Xavier (remember the name of the rancid jerkface) has cold feet/second thoughts, and it's goodbye, Tommy. 

Heartbroken, Tommy wants nothing more than to hide, but there's the honeymoon trip, already planned and paid for, and what shall he do with that, amirite? Who wants to go alone on what's supposed to have been the honeymoon?

Tommy's best friend Grayson, who made the suggestion that Tommy take the trip anyway, finds himself and his young son Petey invited to join Tommy in paradise for a bit of snorkeling, relaxation, and enjoying the scenery.

Grayson's had a crush on Tommy for a long while, but he hasn't been a position or brave enough to change the status quo and ask for more.

And off they are, because when you have money, last minute ticket changes are not a hindrance, and thus the romance begins.

Slowly, of course, because Tommy is still mourning what might have been, and kicking his own rear end because he's just so pathetic and worthless that not even a gold digger like Xavier would want him. 

Grayson is no gold digger, just a dude with a heart of gold, and while he has his son to think of, he is all on board with wooing Tommy, with Petey's encouragement. 

I really, really want to go to Bonaire. The descriptions in the book are vivid and enticing, and the author did a fine job transporting this reader into paradise with his words alone. 

Obviously, there's a bit of angst, what with Tommy's self-doubts and Grayson's fears of losing his friend, but they overcome all that. They overcome Xavier showing up at the resort uninvited (the nerve of that guy) and threatening Tommy (the NERVE of that guy), and Grayson making the unwilling acquaintance of a Man O' War (ouchie) and a bit of drama at the end just before all is well and they live happily ever after.

So yeah, this is fluffy fluff, with a wee bit of angst, and beautiful scenery, and would someone please invite me to go to Bonaire? 

It's the perfect beach vacation read, so get this book and enjoy it on a day in the sun.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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