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review 2018-01-05 19:15
Emergency Contact by Elle Brownlee Review
Emergency Contact - Elle Brownlee

When Liam's best friend has to leave town on business, he asks for a favor—be an emergency contact for his cousin who is new in town. Liam doesn’t think twice before he accepts. He's great with numbers and confidently plays the odds, because nobody ever uses those emergency contacts, right? Wrong. The very next Sunday, cousin Garrett shows up at Liam’s apartment, fresh-faced, devastatingly gorgeous, and nothing like Liam had dismissively assumed.

Garrett arrived in New York City hoping to make it in the modeling world, and Liam isn't sure what to do with him. While he eventually warms to welcome the distraction, he’s not prepared to have his steady, predictable world overturned. Liam is sure Garrett will soon tire of him and find someone closer in age and less eager for the quiet, settled life Liam prefers. But Garrett is too sweet-natured and naïve to recognize Liam’s dismissal, and he’s not as shallow as Liam presumes.

Although Garrett sees a future for the two of them, Liam manages to push him away. It is only then Liam sees the Garrett-shaped hole in his life.




I really like the characters in this book but the lack of communication on both their parts gets old. It would have been a richer book if we could have seen them be vulnerable to each other for a few chapters at the end.


I like a Math based character a lot but whoa does Liam have trust issues.


Garrett is wonderful but even he needs to speak up more.


I would read more books by this writer.

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review 2017-10-02 06:56
Snoozefest delight
Two for Trust (Dreamspun Desires Book 34) - Elle Brownlee
A Tag Team Review with Sara!

--How to sum up Two for Trust?

I've been wanting to read something from this author for a while. And once I read the blurb and saw the cover... I rushed to read it.

After reading, it was not a great first impression of this author's work.

The elements are there for a winning story:

Finch - down and out dorky ginger ex-nurse who struck out on life in the work and love department
Benedict - a very stiff upper lip Brit with a mysterious air
A British countryside vacation filled with historical talking points

The air for romance while on vacation was there.

The thing is, neither main characters were interesting or charismatic enough to have a believable romance. I hesitate to call this a romance. There is a HEA and the right words showed up at times. But the delivery is so wooden, so stiff, so dry, so crusty.

My favorite part is stolen instant oatmeal. I think it was the highlight.

The book spends so much time on the English historical artifacts and research that the non existent romance and chemistry suffers from the boring and dry characters. Finch was pathetic and too similar in disposition to make any impact. Benedict... he was too "reserved". He just manipulated Finch and didn't share anything until it was too late.

And that ending? Please. *side eyes*

If you're new to the Dreamspun line, do not try this. I can't recommend. I do enjoy a quiet romance but this was too staid, too reserved and too boring.

So in closing, if you're having difficulties going to sleep or need something to start a nap, I'd give this book a try.

It worked wonders for me.

A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-05-16 02:25
Release Day ARC Review: Two For Trust by Elle Brownlee
Two for Trust (Dreamspun Desires Book 34) - Elle Brownlee

Well, that was mostly lovely. No steam but a few hot kisses and a lot of longing, and a super slow burn romance between an American nurse/tourist in England and the well-off owner of a manor. Finch is utterly adorable and exactly what the somewhat stuffy Benedict needed in his life.

Finch Mason, young, single, and a nurse, is on the trip of a lifetime - two weeks in jolly olde England, armed with a National Trust pass, that turns out to be a pass for two for one week, instead of a pass for one for two weeks. No matter, because why not offer the 2nd entry to the old mill he's visiting to the handsome Brit who shows up ever so fortuitously. And then Finch and Benedict meet time and again, and share a week of visiting historical sites in that particular area of Britain.

Over the course of the week, Finch rescues a puppy from a hole in the ground, has tea and crumpets with Benedict, and starts to have feelings for the handsome older man. He's quit his job in the States because they wouldn't grant him the vacation time, and he is not looking forward to returning stateside because of that pesky job search he'll have to undertake.

His funds are limited, but he's optimistic and a bit of a history geek, and admires Benedict and his charms.

I could see how Finch would look to the older Benedict as someone to admire, but I just didn't really buy the developing relationship. More often than not, Benedict comes across as a cold fish - I'm not sure whether that was his personality or if he acted this way because he thought it was expected.

After the first week, Benedict plans to move on to the next hostel, but his plans are dashed when he returns to his room and discovers someone has ransacked it and stolen nearly everything. And Benedict rushes to the rescue.

I had already figured at their first meeting that Benedict wasn't quite who Finch assumed him to be, so the reveal wasn't a big surprise to me. I also at that point became a little bit uncomfortable with the manner in which Benedict takes over control, and starts telling Finch what to do. It could be said that he was doing this only because he too had started to look at the young man with something like desire and longing, and possibly even love, but it wasn't well explained and not really shown.

At about 2/3 in, Benedict asks Finch to take his grandmother across the Channel to visit her sister in The Netherlands, for payment, and Finch agrees to play nursemaid for the trip across and a few days in the Dutch countryside, and then catching a flight to London and get there in time for his return to the US. There's an unexpected kiss at the dock. Except things don't exactly go as planned once they've made it across, and Grandma gets herself into a spot of trouble, and then Finch... well, you read this for yourself.

Finch ends up staying longer than initially planned - not that he has a job to go home to - and then there's a bit of a misunderstanding, and an impetuous Finch runs off, thinking he's unwanted.

As this is a romance, we get a happy ending, of course.

I quite adored Finch. He had a really bad relationship experience prior to getting to England, and I don't think he saw himself as someone who was worthy of Benedict, or anyone else, for that matter. He's unfailingly polite, gracious, and always very grateful to everyone who helps him, but also not a complete doormat. He loves animals, he's kind and optimistic, and he doesn't let life get him down. I do believe he was good for Benedict, and helped to loosen the chap up a bit, and maybe pull the stick out of his arse.

Benedict - well, I guess he grew on me by the end, but I didn't like it when he said things that sounded a bit too much like scolding Finch for my taste, or giving me the impression that he was bothered by the young man's presence in his home. Sure, we're told that he doesn't feel that way at all, but it doesn't really come across that way in his actions. I guess I was missing the chemistry here - there just didn't seem to be much passion at all - and while I don't need steam in my romance books, I found it strange that the two men would share nothing but a few hot kisses before the grandiose ending, not even off-page.


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

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text 2015-05-21 13:35
ARC Review: Emergency Contact by Elle Brownlee
Emergency Contact - Elle Brownlee

This book took me by surprise, to be honest. I liked the blurb, which made me request it for review, but I wasn't quite prepared for what I found within its pages.

It's part character study, part life lesson for making assumptions, and part quiet romance that grew on me. I was initially a little bit bored, because nothing really happened, but as we get deeper into Liam's mind, seeing how quickly Garrett makes himself a part of Liam's life, how well the two men fit together, I was more and more spellbound.

Yes, the writing tends to be a bit on the drier side, with lots of big words being used, but that actually fit the character the author created in Liam. Someone who's educated, highly analytical, mathematical to the point of using precise calculations on where to put ornaments on a Christmas tree - such a man will not use small, everyday words. No, such a man will use words that most of us won't employ in our daily lives, and thus it fit.

I almost thought that Liam might be borderline on Autism spectrum, though that is never mentioned. He has a difficult time believing that someone would like him or love him, and he is insecure about himself. He doesn't think that his lifestyle is something a man like Garrett, young and open and enthusiastic, might want, and he is quite adept at talking himself into self-doubt at every corner.

I liked Garrett. He was steady, steadfast, and continued his path despite Liam's hang-ups. He had convictions, he acted by them, and he got his man in the end.

There's very little on-screen sex, which actually added to the overall experience of this book, and while the two men engage in bedroom antics relatively early on, this also felt right in the overall story line.

I would have liked to have reached into the book on occasion to smack Liam a little, especially when he almost succeeds in giving up that what he's come to need, but I did feel rather proud of him when he realizes the mistake he's made and sets upon correcting it. With a little help from Garrett, of course.

Lots of self-inflicted angst, for sure, but I think this is worth your time reading. It is a quiet book, for sure, but it packs a punch.


**I received a free copy from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2015-04-08 17:09
Elle Brownlee – Emergency Contact
Emergency Contact - Elle Brownlee

Reviewer: Barb

Genre:M/M Contemporary


Liam, a loner, math genius, and lover of just hanging out at home, agrees to a request by his friend Carl to be the emergency contact for Carl’s cousin Garrett while Carl is out of town. Garrett, a farm-raised Iowan, is in town to pursue a modeling career and it’s his first time in The Big Apple so Carl wants to be sure that if he needs anything, someone will be available to help him.


Calculating the odds that Garrett will actually contact him, Liam figures it’s no big deal so he agrees, but in this case the odds were against him because Garrett shows up at Liam’s apartment on Sunday morning with his arms loaded down with grocery bags. Garrett is planning to make dinner for Liam in thanks for being his contact. So much for Carl conveying all the necessary information. Liam is a bit peeved because he was planning to veg out and just play with his mathematical formulas by drawing elliptical and spiral designs or just nap. But he quickly gets over being upset as he starts to learn more about Garrett and finds out the two actually have a lot in common.


They have so much in common, in fact, that from that point on they are rarely apart, and before Liam knows it, Garrett has virtually moved in with him. He has reservations about his age, his personality, and how long Garrett might actually stay, though. Garrett is gorgeous and before long it’s quite evident Garrett is in demand as a model. And, after accompanying Garrett to a few parties and model assignments overseas, Liam becomes more convinced that he doesn’t belong in Garrett’s world. He never gives himself fully to the enjoyment of their time together. He tries, and a few times he comes close to being carefree, but that’s not the way he was raised, and it’s not the way his mathematical mind works. He’s convinced he’s boring and refuses to believe Garrett when he tells Liam that this work is only temporary. His real goal is to become a research librarian. He’s truly a geek at heart and enjoys nothing more than a good book. Readers are even given a sneak peek into Garrett’s organizational skills when Liam accidentally discovers a spreadsheet on Garrett’s notebook. Long story short—Liam remains clueless about his own attraction to Garrett and just doesn’t hear Garrett’s words when he talks about the future.


When Liam discovers that Garrett has been offered a role in a TV show, he starts to take steps to remove himself from Garrett’s life and break the spiral he had created in his mind that would have eventually bound them together. It may be evident at this point that this reviewer, being a typical reader, wanted to smack him upside the head more than once. It was so frustrating to listen to his thoughts! Yet, the author did such a good job in her storytelling, that I just knew that eventually we’d get to the moment when he’d smack himself. And we did! And it was so worth waiting for.


I enjoyed this story very much. One little quirk though—the two began to more or less live together right away, but it wasn’t until the second half of the book that we find out they were actually having penetrative sex. There’s very little on-page sex in the story, and very little mention of it in the first half, so it was actually hard to figure out if they were in that type of committed relationship. It might have been assumed, but sometimes I wondered if they just slept together with an occasional hand-job since the focus was so often on Liam’s self-doubt.


There’s lots of math-related terminology in this story so if you know of any math gurus who love M/M romance, this is the book for them. I enjoyed the calculated mathematical thinking because I know a lot of heavily left-brain thinkers who struggle with the abstract and have difficulty just feeling, and I could easily picture them in this role. It’s all about thinking to them—they have trouble getting out of their heads and into their hearts. And Liam fits that bill to a T. Liam is so deeply into his left brain that he even calculated distances for patterns when he was ready to decorate his Christmas tree. But, he’s also a sweet, chivalrous gentleman raised by his upper class parents to be polite and to always keep proper etiquette in mind so it tends to make him seem older than he is. About eight years younger, Garrett seems more youthful—he’s more outgoing and spontaneous, yet he’s also quiet and comfortable, wrapping himself in a blanket on the lounge chair, popping on his glasses, and settling in to read a good book. The two together make a great couple. In fact, they are the perfect formula for a nice story that will have you rooting for their HEA all the way to the end.


Recommended for lovers of M/M romance who enjoy self-inflicted angst, age gap, and a sweet finale.

Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/?p=33092
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