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review 2017-10-16 08:10
Release Day Blitz - In Over Our Heads
 
 
TitleIn Over Our Heads
Series: Stories from the Shore
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 67,000
Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation
 

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Synopsis

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Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.
 
Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

 

 

Excerpt

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The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.
 
“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”
 
“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”
 
I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.
 
“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”
 
“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”
 
“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”
 
“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”
 
She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”
 
I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”
 
“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”
 
“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.
 
“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”
 
“Doesn’t it?”
 
“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”
 
“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.
 
“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”
 
Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!
 
Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”
 
Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

 

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

 

 

 

In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore, #2)In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book #2 in the Stories From The Shore series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading in order.

Anthony AKA "Tony" & Walter have a hot and heavy history that Tony is sure had its time and has since burned out. However, fate has more than one surprise in store for this couple. Can time and proximity change the result this time?

This book was such a roller coaster ride! Lots of happenings in such a small package. The MC's have excellent chemistry, however, I wish we had seen more actual couple time. This series seems to be heating up. Cannot wait to see what is next.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24

 

 

Meet the Author

 

 

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After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
 
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
 
CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail |

Dreamspinner | Amazon 

 

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review 2017-10-09 00:45
ARC Review: In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott
In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore Book 2) - CJane Elliott

This is a cute sequel to All The Way To Shore . We met Anthony Vallen in the first book, as Jonathan's quirky, sassy cousin, who didn't do romance or relationships. 

He still doesn't in this book either, for reasons that are explained within. See, many years ago, when Anthony was a wee teenager, he met a boy, a super smart boy, whom he loved, but the boy left him abruptly after a near-drowning for which the boy blamed himself. Ever since then Anthony has given up on love - it's for others, not for him. 

Even if he might be occasionally a bit jealous of what Jonathan found with Marco, but those moments don't last long, because there are just so many other men to have fun with. Who needs love, amirite?

And now Anthony is headed to Key West for a fun vacation with Jonathan and Marco, who've gotten married since the last book, and he's looking forward to sun and fun and possibly some scuba diving. Or maybe not, since putting his head under water is still something Anthony doesn't do all that willingly. 

But who should be the owner of the bar and the scuba diving place but his old boyfriend, Walter Elkins. The boy who broke his heart is now all grown up, but no longer a scientist for reasons. 

Getting a first row view of Anthony's deeper side was fascinating. His sassiness and easy flirting routine is a front, something he hides behind. If you don't open your heart to anyone, you can't get hurt, right? But behind that facade is a person who yearns for someone to call his own, for someone who understands him and takes him as he is, for someone who loves him.

While Anthony can be a little OTT some of the time (or most of the time, at least outwardly), he's actually a really nice and thoughtful person with a huge heart, even if most people don't get close enough to realize it. The things he did for his cousin Jonathan in the first book, standing by him, helping him, supporting him - all that is part of what really makes up Anthony Vallen. Sure, he's flamboyant and in your face, and he talks and talks and talks, but I liked him quite a bit. 

Walter, on the other hand, pissed me off for most of the book. He suffers from severe Edward Cullen syndrome, and his reason for bailing not only on Anthony but also a lucrative career as a brilliant scientist was ridiculous and felt contrived. I mean, the guy needed some serious therapy. Seriously.

I'm all for "Opposites attract", and I usually love second-chance-at-love books, but I didn't love this one, primarily because of Walter. Yes, sure, Anthony is a super crazy queen, though that's his persona, his protection, and he never tried to crap all over Walter's hesitations, but Walter's constant waffling and one step forward, two steps back, hurting Anthony in the progress, just made me angry. 

If I had been in Anthony's shoes, I would have made Walter grovel a LOT more than he did. Yes, Walter did eventually find the courage to work through his issues, but that was long after he'd broken Anthony's heart again. Though, and this must be said, I did love that Anthony had backbone and said, Look, I'm worth more than what you're begrudgingly giving me, so adios, I'm done trying.

I did believe that the two men loved each other, the first time, and the second time too. I think it is that love that carried them both to their happy ending, even if getting there was fraught with pain and hurt. Walter's brilliant mind is more of a hindrance than an advantage to their road to forever, but he eventually puts his smarts to the right use. In the end, they realize that they have to compromise, and the book ends in a really good spot for them both. 

On the supporting cast, we have Jonathan and Marco, blissfully happy, and Miles, who works for Walter, who flirts with Anthony and who, it turns out, provides them with a catalyst to start getting their act together.

There are sexy times within, and it's clear that Walter and Tony have no issues whatsoever inside the bedroom at all - it's outside of it where they struggle. 

I don't know if this concludes this series, though I'd like to see Miles find the person for him as well. Perhaps that's still to come.


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

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review 2017-10-08 14:11
Only you
In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore Book 2) - CJane Elliott

This is book #2 in the Stories From The Shore series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading in order.  

 

Anthony AKA "Tony" & Walter have a hot and heavy history that Tony is sure had its time and has since burned out.  However, fate has more than one surprise in store for this couple.  Can time and proximity change the result this time?

 

This book was such a roller coaster ride!  Lots of happenings in such a small package.  The MC's have excellent chemistry, however, I wish we had seen more actual couple time.  This series seems to be heating up.  Cannot wait to see what is next.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2017-09-16 13:42
Non-Flash-in-the-Pan SF: “Counting Heads” by David Marusek
Counting Heads - David Marusek

“I am not pouting, and I am certainly not indulging in self-pity, as Eleanor accuses me. In fact, I am brooding. It is what artists do, we brood. To other, more active people, we appear selfish, obsessive, even narcissistic, which is why we prefer to brood in private.”

 

In “Counting Heads” by David Marusek

 

 

SF stories often regurgitate medieval themes and settings, including wars, sword fighting, emperors, dukes, and so on. Star Wars and Dune do this, too. They would have us believe that people still fight with (light) sabres although they master FTL travel as well. Light sabres may be entertaining, but to me they are not serious SF. I prefer another kind of SF, the kind that shows NEW forms of human/alien behaviour induced by alien settings and new technology, NEW dilemmas and choices, and shows how current developments will play out in the not-too-distant future. In short, it kind of sheds light on the human condition as I’ve been writing “ad nauseam” on this blog. David's Marusek brilliant "Counting Heads" has no sword fighting, no laser guns. It does have court cases being pursued by Artificial Intelligence Assistance up to the Highest Court within milliseconds. People being "seared" - deprived of their online identity and thereby being unable to live a normal life. Societies with large numbers of clones such as "Maries" (that often marry Freds, who are fond of making lists for everything they do).

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2016-12-06 12:01
Game of Thrones lookalike?
TWO HEADS TWO SPIKES (The Pearl of Wisdom Saga Book 1) - Jason Paul Rice

Although I've not read the Game of Thrones series, this first part of a fantasy saga may seem derivative or similar to George R R Martin's work.

 

I found the beginning of it disjointed and some of the text is not particularly good English in my opinion (split infinitives etc..).

 

There is a long Dramatis Personae at the beginning which I skipped and hopefully keeping track of the various characters will not prove too difficult.

 

Another criticism would be the excessive use of description, especially when it comes to clothing and ornamentation. Do I really need to know what each character is wearing in every scene in which they appear, especially in such a long book?

 

The plot is quite complicated, jumping from one character to another, and I'd like to know where this is going but feel that the book is overlong. Not as good as I'd hoped.

 

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