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review 2017-04-16 05:55
Gimme gimme that cracky fluff... aaahh!
Tall, Dark, and Deported (Dreamspun Desires) - Bru Baker

A tag team review with Sara

4.5 HEARTS--
And now I have another book to add to my top favorites Dreamspun Desires list!

I've been fluffed. Pour it all over my face, baby. Just watch me melt.



Mateus is a Portuguese botanist who is staying with his brother and pregnant sister-in-law on their orchard in Washington state. Mateus is helping with his family's failing orchard and wants to stay in America. Unfortunately, he has an expiring tourist visa and searched online for a scheme to stay in the country: go to Canada, get his visa stamped and reset and return to America for another 3 months. Sounds too good to be true?

It's because it is.

Luckily, older stoic boutique hotel auditor/ businessman Crawford is being forced to Canada for work. His boss is sending him to the chain's failing Vancouver hotel for the next two weeks... along with Crawford's ex-husband. The bitter divorce happened three years ago and he's still jaded from his cheating ex. He doesn't believe love exists.

Thanks to a plane delay in Seattle, love weary Crawford meets Mateus and the connection is imminent. They strike up a conversation and are just vibing off each other over Auntie Anne's pretzel nuggets out of all things. The delay becomes a cancelled flight and the new acquaintances are thrown together through a series of events. And events get crazier as an impromptu drive to the Canadian border becomes Mateus not being able to cross either side of the border.

Ring a ling ling, did someone call a knight in shining armor?

Crawford obviously heard the call and he rescues Mateus.

Older, jaded hero meets younger loyal family man who just wants to stay and help the orchard...

And then a fake marriage trope is added to help save the day.

Those tropes were a cracky fluff jackpot and I... ate... it... up!



Bru Baker wrote fleshed out main characters in Crawford and Mateus. She built a solid foundation by showcasing a glimpse of their daily lives. Crawford is a point where he's not exactly happy, his only family connection a brother and nephew he helped raise are going to move away. So there is nothing really holding him in Los Angeles. And Mateus wants to leave Portugal to help out with his only sibling's growing family. All the characters read like real people.

The cracky fluff button was engaged once the fake marriage to get a visa to stay in the USA came up. But reading how Crawford is, it worked. The two get married and thankfully the author showed the real side of marrying an immigrant...it's not as easy as they originally thought. The couple stays in Canada for two weeks due to Crawford's job. And we even get to experience his ex-husband, a good antagonist that didn't overtake the plot with obscene dramatics.

The bread and butter of the story is the undeniable, easy connection Crawford and Mateus have. The attraction is there and it's a slow burn. Crawford being a knight in shining armor tries to be noble and a gentleman. His heart is iced in the middle... good thing Mateus knows to make him melt.

There is only one sexy moment throughout the entire story. But the sexual tension was written strongly and was well paced. I lived for each kiss. Were there times that I wanted to knock Crawford in the back of the head? Yep... he's a stubborn one. And has bad Tim Hortons judgement. (I'm still trying not to hold it against him) Other than that, he's a dream guy, as is Mateus.

The story is split between Vancouver and Washington. And even when apart, they're still connected. And when the sexual tension finally comes to a melting point. Let's just say it was a swoon worthy moment.

And the last 5% of the story?

So damn romantic, I want to get drunk off the cracky fluff. *swoons* *gulps*




Recommended for fans of the Dreamspun Desires line, this is definitely not one to skip. Crawford and Mateus as a couple left a lasting impression from the Dreamspun Desires leading men I've read so far.

Not my first time reading this author, but I enjoy the way she writes her characters a lot. And if you're a fan of any of the tropes I mentioned, get ready for quality cracky fluff.

What a sweet treat!



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-06 05:55
Sometimes easy breezy and sweet is all you need.
Rainbow Sprinkles - Anna Martin
3.5 HEARTS--In the mood for something cute, light, easy and breezy? Anna Martin's Rainbow Sprinkles fits that description to a T.




Set in California, Cooper Reed is perfectly content working two jobs, one as a bartender, the other as worker/ ice cream creator at the Dreamery Creamery. He makes enough to get by and he also gets to fawn over his weekly customer with questionable ice cream tastes, Drew. Drew will combine some crazy flavors but never, ever forgets the rainbow sprinkles.

Is it a little pathetic that Mr. Rainbow Sprinkles has been delegated to wank fodder? Maybe, but Cooper's happy to keep his man of his dreams as just that in his dreams. Until one day, Drew shows a little interest.

Then dream man becomes real man. *smile*

Drew is a real live Disney prince! Okay, okay, he acts as one in nearby Disneyland. And he shows behind the Disney scenes in this book. I enjoyed the glimpses. Drew's sweetness and romantic side draws the more sarcastic Cooper in.



Both men are in mid twenties and they read their age. They fall for one another kind of quickly, kind of not, since they shared the employee/customer relationship for sometime prior to the start of the book. And like some twenty-somethings, they don't have it all figured out as of yet. The story has zero angst. We get meet cute into budding relationship into first fights and learning that when it matters, you have to communicate.

The boys drag their feet into resolving the internal conflict. That part kinda pissed me off a little. We go from one of them sending texts over and over on a daily basis (loved that) to just dropping off the face of the Earth when the going got a little tough.

I hope they work on it. I think they could.

The side characters are great and compliment Cooper and Drew. Their BFF's are cute and I was super happy with their development as well at the end.

It's my first foray into Dreamspinner Press' States of Love collection. I'd definitely return. The setting read authentic - down to the temperature, the traffic, the laid-backness. I never been to Cali but I imagine it to be something like this from what I've seen through media. There were tiny spots when the dialogue read British here and there if I had to nitpick.

I think this would work best for Anna Martin fans who like the quieter romance, fans of light, no angst reads and of course, Disney-stans.






Overall, pretty sweet.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-03-30 06:30
Expect pure friends to lovers cowboy fluff and laughs with Two Cowboys and a Baby
Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires Book 30) - BA Tortuga
Tag Team review with Sara

3.5 Hearts
--

"Wings?"
"Only if they don't make you poot. Buffalo sauce poots make the baby Jesus cry."
"Well sure, nothing rules out ass-fucking like buffalo poots. 'Cept maybe Taco Bell."

Expect pure friends to lovers cowboy fluff and laughs with Two Cowboys and a Baby by BA Tortuga.

With a baby on the doorstep trope thrown on top!



No babies were harmed. Promise.


Set in Texas, this book features a little bull rider/cowboy with the nickname of Hoss (his real name is Wyatt Earp!) and his childhood best bud/digger/cowboy, Bradley. See Hoss is out of the closet and is painfully in love with straight best friend, even after his friend stopped talking to him after coming out to Bradley. After that year in high school, the two continued to go back to the way things were: being best friends.

Thing is all the time Hoss has pined for Bradley, if he looked a little closer, he might have noticed the same looks from Bradley.

Unrequited love fans out there? It's all fluffed out in the latest addition in the Dreamspun Desires line.



Giddy up the fluff!


The unrequited love with my straight best friend angle gets help from the unwanted baby plot. While the two cowboys share like feelings, they're two clueless to do anything about it. Thankfully, the little blonde baby girl on Hoss' doorstep helps bring them together.

The girl's mother just leaves her and Joanie, the adorable pet of Hoss, alerts her owner of the little bundle. Reading Hoss come to grips with his life changing as he knows it once the little girl arrives is hilarious. Hoss is a simple man whose only contact with babies are with baby farm animals.

So not the same.

But too funny.

Bradley, Hoss's #1, comes to the rescue as the two try to hunt down the little baby's birth mother. With the the help of the small town's Sheriff Pooter (I kid you not), Doc and Hoss's Momma and a whole slew of hilarious side characters. The country twang just oozes through this book's pores. I found myself charmed with it.




The romance doesn't happen immediately. And I definitely got the sense of the cowboys shared lives prior to the baby.

They sat together, arm to arm, not looking at each other. Then B reached out, twining their fingers together, holding on like they'd done this a thousand times.

Reading them slowly become a unit with the baby who Hoss didn't originally want, but now needs, is the magic for this title.

"Is this the way it normally happens with two guys, Hoss?"
"I'm usually the handjob in the barn type of guy, B. I've never been the type to be on love,so I don't know."
"I've been in love with you since high school. I don't know how the handjob in the barn even works."

It's not a smooth sailing; there is a big misunderstanding that provides a solid speed bump on their path to love. But the baby is the glue to making Hoss and Bradley stick.

And then there is the mega plot twist that took into into OTT-ville. Seriously, couldn't believe half of that happening in real life.

Thank goodness it's fiction, huh?

The crazy that gets twisted in, made for a fun read. Plus, it's why the Dreamspun line works for me. It's a good time that doesn't take itself too seriously while delivery cracky sweet romance.

The story isn't without minor issues but overall, the good outweighed the bad. It wasn't a life changing read, just something you can unplug your brain with.



Obligatory yeehaw!



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-02-03 05:05
Fluff, hotness and fluff...le yum!
Loving Djinni - Beryll Brackhaus,Osiris Brackhaus
3.75 HEARTS--Genies!

Or in Loving Djinni's case, the djinn.

Genie, djinn, whatever you'd like to refer to these magical entities, I've been a fan for a LONG time. I've put out the call for authors in the past to think genie. I think it's an untapped magical treasure chest of fun just begging to be written. In the paranormal sector of Romancelandia where werewolves and vampires reign supreme, genies are practically nonexistent.




You could just imagine my excite when I saw this title. Once I read the blurb, I quelted. Thieves? A twink? Dub Con? NY? Nerd? Humor? Not only did the entire thing read like it was written for me, it was like manna was delivered directly into my hot hands.

Nerdy doormat New York arts dealer David is trapped in a sealed tomb in Cairo at the beginning of Loving Djinni, written by the Brackhaus husband and wife team. He's been dumped by his over confident sleaze of an ex-boyfriend, lawyer Stanley. And David thought maybe going on a grand adventure with questionable thieves in Egypt might catch his wayward ex's eye. All he gets is impending death for his trouble in a nearly empty tomb...save for an oil lamp containing a cursed djinni who shall be called Sharu.

The mischievous spirit was enslaved be an evil sorcerer (who is actually a historical figure - cool tidbit) and forced to grant whoever rubs his lamp three wishes and serve them as magical servant to their Master. And his form changes to whatever is most pleasing to his new Master. It's demeaning and Sharu hates humans with an unholy passion. Imagine his surprise that he's been locked up in his lamp for over thousand years.

Imagine the culture shock...

Imagine the hijinks...

I happened to read over one important tag in the beginning: fluff .

Oh cracky fluff how you make me happy.




The story spans a couple of days. But it didn't read like it. Or maybe it was the fluff haze *shrug* Where the story really shined is getting deeper into David and Sharu's characters. We get to learn of their insecurities and feelings. Both have baggage: Sharu was once mighty and powerful, brought down by a human. David is a nerd, average looking and just wanted to find someone to call his own...and did some questionable things for a guy's attention. His self esteem is lacking. And both of their hang ups endeared them to me.

And the fact that the sex didn't start automatically. Consent and feelings were a key factor in the development of David and Sharu's relationship that started in the beginning with a healthy animosity in Sharu's part and nerdtastic wonder on David's. The asshole ex made for a good enough villain. A little OTT, a little predictable, but within the fluff category, he worked.




It all worked.

And the sex...seriously, it really was like it was written for me. *coughs* public shenanigans *coughs* More than once!

 





Is the story perfect? Nope. I don't think it's trying to be. (Thank goodness)

Overall, the pacing is good. It could have been better in a few areas. The main characters would hit a decent stride, then either of them would say something slightly out of character or a little odd, making it a little disconcerting. I had to reread passages or sentences maybe 3-4 times at most to see of a character switched POV, or if there was a jump, the authors would weave the story back around the oddity. And there were about once or twice where the story got to be indulgent for the writers, more than the characters (ex. that elevator scene: hot, but what did it really add to the story?)

And the ending was so abrupt. I literally was stunned at the end of the story. I kept hitting the corner page of my Kindle as if it'd give me the last pages of the epilogue, Loving Djinni, could have benefited from. So many it could have been a touch longer?

Does the story need a sequel? No.

But the history intertwined with the fantasy of djinn made for interesting would building. It would be cool to read more about Sharu's world, how the beings came to be, what other magical beings there are, or at least learn of his actual name.

It's trope-y. The fluff tag is definitely put to good use, so please keep it mind when reading for maximum enjoyment.

The is a quick, fluffy read with endearing characters, a cool little historical sprinkling with magic dosed all around

Because genies djinn.




This story proves genies romances needs to continue being a thing.

Recommended for readers who don't mind the blurb's tags, enjoy light, low angst, trope-y bonbons with magic and historical strokes.





A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2016-10-08 07:32
Established couple fans, this one's for you!
Take Two - Shira Anthony

3.5 Hearts--


"We don't feel like a couple. It's like we're running in the same direction, but we're not on the same team."


I've had this song [Charlie Puth - "We Don't Talk Anymore"] stuck on my brain the entire time while reading Take Two by Shira Anthony. This awesome song and a fave couple from Sense8 (fans of the show should figure out which closeted couple) on my brain I should say.

Why? This story is about how non-communication can break down a relationship. A couple who suffers from "right person, wrong time." Love, sex and compatibility are definitely big key factors to have a great relationship, but the biggest is communication. Without it, the strongest can even fail. As what happened in Take Two.





Thirty nine year old NY history professor Wesley Coolidge is finally getting his life back on track. Work's great, he has a new academic boyfriend and...he's weeks away from having his divorce finalized. His soon to be ex-husband is famous actor thirty five year old Sander Carson aka Sam Carr. With a marriage of ten years and a separation of three years, it's time for them to move on.

Even though Wesley loves Sam just as much as Sam loves Wesley.

Even though their spark never faded.

The problem is the lines of communications faltered as Sam made it in Hollywood and hid their marriage in the closet. (The closet isn't to blame for the divorce)

The author bills the story as funny, and it might have had a moment or two that made me smile...I don't think it was funny. It's more fluffy and cute. It could have easily been another addition to the Dreamspun line, if you squinted just right.

Second romance, established couple, big grand gestures and sneaky machinations to make your lover realize the spark is still there...all key elements for a light second chance romance. Sam is very stubborn and charming. He tricks Wesley to North Carolina to his pirate set for a job and goes out the way to make sure Wesley know he doesn't want the divorce. (There's no cheating & low angst)

There is something about Shira Anthony's writing that is infectious for me. I get swept away in her characters. They're not outrageous or OTT, simple men who have real life problems and don't mind a little romance.

I do have quibbles. My main one being Wesley realizes why he needs to divorce Sam. At least, I think he did. Wesley is shy, doesn't seem to like grand, dramatic gestures (which after a decade....Sam should have known) and he didn't want to fall under the charismatic Sam spell. He admits it's hard to resist but seems to be on the same communication wavelength that Sam wasn't trying to find. Sam was more of a talk at Wesley than listen and talk to him type of man.  I wanted more from Sam. I needed more from Sam. I could see the new boyfriend plot device. from a mile away. I could see the natrual disaster plot device from ten feet away.

What I wanted to see was Sam finally get the light bulb upstairs and quit the personal 'CGI' and get real with his man. Wesley held strong...mostly. It might come off as wishy-washy, but I think Wesley explains his reactions.

I did wish the boyfriend angle was non existent. I don't think it really added to the story. The entire HEA seemed like a rebound which defeats the purpose of reconciliation for me, if they're trying to avoid making the same mistakes again.

But it's light and happy. And I shouldn't go looking for depth and maturity. That's not this book.

It's a good read. Sweet love scenes (minimal sex scenes, it's more about reconnection) Not my favorite Shira Anthony, that of course being the deceptively angsty ones like Prelude.

Sweet, light, big romantic gestures, established couple yum yum (not my kink, tbh), pirate actors (definitely my kink), geeks and hunky actors can all be found in Shira Anthony's Take Two.



A copy provided for an honest review.

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