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review 2018-02-24 23:50
ARC Review: New Heights by Quinn Anderson
New Heights - Quinn Anderson

Insta-love done right, this is.

James is traveling home from NYC to Charleston, SC, after attending a friend's wedding. Mika, pronounced Mee-kuh, is heading the same way as part of work. Except, they don't initially know this.

The meet-cute happens when both of them need a power outlet at the airport after their respective flights are delayed. James is hogging the outlet, and Mika is irritated. Then Mika hogs the outlet and James is outraged. 

It's difficult to flesh out your characters in what amounts to a novella, but the author succeeded in weaving plenty of background info for both James and Mika into the plot. It's also admirable how well this book worked for me, considering that most of this novel takes place in an airport - there's not a potential for change of scenery, and you're somewhat limited in what you can get your characters into. 

The characters had immediate chemistry, and none of it felt forced. The attraction burns brightly from the start, despite James' prank (that was so funny) and Mika snagging the outlet when James isn't looking. They have a rough start, for sure, but ultimately, they both call a truce, give in to the attraction, and realize that there might just be something there. 

I liked this a lot. It's a quick and easy read, and it just flows and flows, and before you can blink, they're in the family bathroom doing not-so-family-friendly things. Which, as fiery as the attraction was, isn't really a surprise.

The sweet epilogue just sealed the deal on this book - that was fabulous.

Recommended for when you need a little pick-me-up for a long lunch break or some such. This was a lot of fun to read.

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

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review 2018-01-13 03:03
ARC Review: Worth His Salt by Ofelia Gränd
Worth His Salt (Tattooed Corpse Stories) - Ofelia Gränd

Quirky is the word I'd use to describe this book. Quirky, with a large dose of paranormal and magic, and such an adorably odd character in Eldred. 

I didn't read the first book in this series, but I had no issues following the plot, so I would definitely classify this as perfectly doable as a standalone.

Eldred Henstare is a not so powerful witch responsible to help the lingering spirits in his city move into the light. His twin brother is his anchor, as we find out. Eldred is also a shameless flirt, something that he does without even really thinking about, and a bit of a smartass, but in a good way. The latest spirit is calling him to the old lighthouse where he meets Mo Vin.

Mo sees the younger man and has no idea what's happening. Befuddled but intrigued by Eldred, he kind of just follows along, pulls the wet and bedraggled man from the shore into his small cottage, and offers him the couch for the night.

Then things get weird for Mo, because he sees stuff that doesn't seem to be real, but maybe is. Or maybe it isn't. Mo still has no idea what's happening, but Eldred says what must be done, so Mo just kind of stumbles along. Eldred's shameless flirting certainly helps. 

As I said, this is a quirky story with magic and salt circles, and I had fun reading this. Not my usual fare, but certainly something I might want more of. It had witty dialogue, fun characters, and a nice paranormal plot. My only complaint is that this wasn't long enough to let me see what happens after Mo becomes Eldred's anchor and how that will play out going forward. 

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

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review 2017-07-23 00:00
Quickies in the Kitchen
Quickies in the Kitchen - CQ Products Some nice ideas for quick and easy dinners.
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review 2017-06-07 02:26
ARC Review: Texting, Autocorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church
Texting, Autocorrect, And A Prius - M.A. Church

Cute premise - the blurb had me interested, and I was looking forward to reading this book.

It started off well enough. Darrell, early forties, is a car mechanic who recently repossessed a Prius from a customer for not paying the repair bill. Darrell doesn't need or want the Prius and hopes to sell it to recoup some of the money. What better place than Craigslist, amirite? So on suggestion of his brother Bert, Darrell puts the car up for sale.

Enter Clay, mid-thirties, who needs an inexpensive car that won't break the bank in gas consumption for his daily round-trip to work, something he's no longer willing to do in his truck.

There are a couple of almost-meets early on that set the tone for the soon-to-come romance, but then the meet-cute happens when Clay texts Darrell about the Prius and autocorrect strikes.

"Is your penis still for sale?"


The attraction is sizzling when they first meet at Darrell's house to look at the car. A test drive and some light innuendo-filled banter later, a deal is struck for a Prius and a date, sealed with a hot kiss.

This is also where the book had its first WTF moment for me - I couldn't believe that two grown men would actually yank their dicks out in the driveway upon first meeting. This just rubbed me wrong - like it was perpetuating some gay man myth about promiscuity and unrelenting horniness, without any thought to who might be observing them in the driveway during their display of public indecency.

But I moved on. The sale is agreed upon, as is a date for the next evening, and then the book took a nose dive into a 2nd WTF moment.

Sure, it's all explained and what not, but I wasn't expecting Clay to be such a massive idiot. Seriously, what a stupid assumption to make. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he had his reasons with past hurt and trust issues, but come on - really? Really?

So, meet-cute, followed by a handjob in the driveway, followed by a huge misunderstanding and lack of communication, and a HFN at the end. The two MCs were nice enough, as were the supporting characters, but at supposedly 35, Clay sounded and acted at least a decade younger, and I wasn't quite buying Darrell's supposed age either.

The writing includes quite a few minute details that stretched the word count but didn't really add anything to the plot. I usually like this author's writing, so I'm a little sad that this book didn't work for me.


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

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review 2017-01-10 00:38
ARC Review: Do Not Disturb by Chris Scully
Do Not Disturb: 3 Short Stories of Erotic Romance - Chris Scully

I snagged an ARC of this when it was offered on FB (thanks, Chris) and got to reading. Three erotic short stories with a bit of romance? Sign me right up!

I love Chris Scully's stories. Until September still ranks high on my list of excellent books, and while Do Not Disturb isn't so much about the romance as it is about the erotic bedroom exploits, it delivered what it promised - a great fun time! All three stories take place at the same small hotel.

In Watch Me, we meet Win, a night audit clerk who works the overnight shift, and Lucas, his colleague, who works the shift before him. Win is also dealing with his father's Alzheimer's and the realization that he'll have to put him in a home sooner rather than later. Lucas is a bit younger than Win and flirts shamelessly with almost everyone he meets.

The author introduces her characters easily and gives the reader information about them by weaving it effortlessly into narrative and dialogue. And quickly sets up the plot - Win spilled coffee on his suit jacket which necessitates borrowing Lucas' jacket which leads him to find a handwritten note in the jacket pocket which leads him to a website which lets him see something he never expected. Win is also a jealous ass and a bit stupid and a bit closeted, so not only did I get some erotic scenes, but also some real plot. I adored Lucas, who seemed steadfast and not a pushover, and I liked Win well enough to forgive him his stupid jealousy. Written in the first person, past tense, this was a lovely little amuse-bouche.

In Wedded, we meet Dave, married for 25 years, who's sitting in the hotel's bar and just took his wedding band off his finger. He's thinking about Pat, his spouse, and how things with Pat have gotten a bit boring in the sheets after so many years of marriage. He loves Pat, there's no doubt, but he's also in need of a bit of excitement. And the tall and broad-shouldered guy Dave is ogling in the mirror above the bar looks like he might fit the bill to bring back some spice into Dave's life.

While this little ditty is written in the 3rd person, present tense, which fits the mood of the story perfectly, the author again effortlessly weaves in sufficient information about Dave (and Pat) to make him seem like a real person with real desires and needs. Dave is about to embark on a clandestine meeting in one of the hotel's rooms. There's a twist to the story at the end, one which I saw coming, but I didn't mind that at all. What I enjoyed especially was how well the author brought across her characters' almost breathless excitement - super hawt too!

In Wanted, we are introduced to Evan who nearly died in a mall shooting and is now determined to check one huge thing of his bucket list - having sex with a man. See, Evan realizes he's at least bi-curious. Sex with girls is fine, but there's something about a hot, sweaty man. One Craigslist ad later, and Evan is at the hotel bar hoping to meet up with Graham, who answered his ad.

Except Graham is expecting to meet his sister, not another guy, and things are a bit awkward for a little while, and seem to derail before that train has even left the station. Eventually, they do end up in the room Evan has reserved and bi-curious is curious no longer - he's all in.

What I really liked about this story is that throughout their encounter, the two men share more than just bodily fluids. They talk. They confess. They're open and honest, and their connection grows by leaps and bounds. I would LOVE to see more of them, even if it's just a novella. I think there's potential here. Lots of it. How they meet is unconventional, sure, but their story has only just begun. This short is written in the 3rd person, past tense.

Three very different stories, with three very different couplings, all connected by a common thread. In each, the author gave me something to like about her characters and a reason to take a cold shower. What's not to love?

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

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