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review 2018-04-19 17:52
This isn't a love story...but it is a story about love...
Crocus - Amy Lane

First off...if you haven't read 'Bonfires' you need to scoot off and do that because reading this book without that one is like going to a movie and not having popcorn...you can do it, but it's going to feel like something's missing and honestly, it's just not going to be as much fun.

 

Ok, so you've been warned this is one of those times when book #2 needs to follow book #1.  In the first book we got to meet Deputy Aaron George and Principal Larkin (a,k.a. Larx)  and see them do their adorable mating dance and cheer for them as they figured out how to make their lives mesh...kids and all.

 

So here we are after the events of 'Bonfires' and Larx and Aaron are together...well, there's Larx and Aaron and their combined family of 5 kids (Larx has 2 and Aaron has 3) and then we have some strays...see, Larx and Aaron are both nurturers in their own right and they're men with big hearts and a lot of love. So as we lovingly say at my house they take in strays and I'm not talking about four-legged furry ones, either...although I'm pretty sure they take in those as well. I'm talking about kids who got the short end of the stick in the life lottery...kids who's parents weren't bright enough or unselfish enough to get what being a parent really means...kids who just need someone to love and believe in them so that they can show the world what an awesome person they really are.

 

'Crocus' is still Larx and Aaron's story but it's a busy one and you can't have the jobs that these men have and the number of people depending on you that these men have and not have a busy life...it's neither possible nor realistic. 

 

You can't have a big family and not have chaos and confusion...I know  I came from a big family and whether it's the family you're given like mine was or the one that you've created like Aaron and Larx's the results are pretty predictable and this family that we get see here is just filled with love.

 

'Crocus' is about two men who are in love but like many of us they don't live in a bubble and much of what happens in their world intersects with their private life whether they want it to or not and luckily for these men love is something that the more you open up your heart and share the more you seem to have and 'Crocus' shows that in so many ways.

 

Larx and Aaron are already living together in a house that's packed tight not just with love but with kids...they've got Christiana, Kelsey and Kellen living with them and then there's Dozer...Larx's (read Aaron's) big blonde retriever dog. So do they really need a pregnant Olivia knocking on their door followed by Elton (Wombat Willie) and Jamie and his brother Berto...of course not but sometimes life gives to us that which we can handle and not necessarily only what we want.

 

I have to admit I loved this. I'm not bothered by big, noisy family type stories for me it's the familiar and having lived away from mine for a few years now for me stories like this are becoming comfort food and I'm not sure that anyone does this recipe better than Ms Lane. 

 

For me 'Crocus' was about family and love. It's set in a small town and sure there's more going on in this small town than the usual but let's face it if there wasn't a little extra imagination added to this...well, we'd all be bored silly. Yeah, I've lived in small towns for most of my life and really there's only so much of neighbor 'A' sleeping with neighbor 'C' while neighbor 'B' gets quietly sloshed every night that one can take before 'neighbor 'D' falls asleep from the sheer boredom and repetition of it.

 

While Larx and Aaron both seemed to frequently have the same objective...one that, while it seemed simple enough, was often a task of monumental proportions for them to accomplish and that was simply getting some time together...alone as couple...trust me when I say while it may not have happened often when it did these two men know how to take full advantage of their time together and it as worth the wait.

 

We've got a world of opportunities here for what can happen next in this series and while I'm on board for pretty much anything even different MCs for the next story. I'm still hoping that no matter what we'll always get more Aaron and Larx because truthfully I'm not even close to having had my fill of these two men. I'm so enjoying having a series with 'mature' men as the MC's, men who love and have messy, busy, crazy at times overwhelming and larger than but still real lives that we get to be a part of.

 

From start to finish for me it never felt like the happiness that Aaron and Larx had found was at risk it was more about the reader getting to see what as individuals we already know...if you are lucky enough to get an HEA in life, then keeping it means a lot of hard work and effort, keeping it takes a lot of effort and hard work, you have to hang on to it with everything you've got...but and I'm sure that Aaron and Larx would agree with me when I say...it's worth it, so very worth it.

 

This one definitely gets 5 big, shiny, messy, happy family stars from me as I try to patiently wait for what comes next.

 

*************************

An ARC of 'Crocus' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-04-02 23:03
Shiny! by Amy Lane 4.5 Star Review!
Shiny! - Amy Lane

Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia are both having sort of a day. Will gets fired for letting fifth graders read Harry Potter, and Kenny finds his boyfriend and his sex toys in bed with a complete stranger. When Will knocks over Kenny's trash can—and strews Kenny's personal business all over the street—it feels like the perfect craptastic climax to the sewage of suckage that has rained down on them both. 

But ever-friendly, ever-kind Will asks snarky Kenny out for a beer—God knows they both need one—and two amazing things occur: Kenny discovers talking to Will might be the best form of intercourse ever, and Will discovers he's gay. 

Their unlikely friendship seems like the perfect platonic match until Will reveals how very much more he’s been feeling for Kenny almost since the beginning. But Kenny’s worried. Will’s newfound sexuality is bright and glittery and shiny, but what happens when that wears off? Is Will's infatuation with Kenny strong enough to stay real?

 

Review

 

This book is over the top, adorable, sweet, hot, comfort read fun. I liked it a whole bunch.

The storytelling mode really worked as the narrative was set for most of the book in telling someone their love story. It had great pacing. The "cute meet" was super funny.

The fact that Will just realizes he is gay is a little not realistic in a whipped cream of a love story, I roll with it.

Will and Kenny have great character development but the star of this book is their romance. 

They become friends. They do an awesome project together. They date. They move in. They get in engaged. Its everything. Tons of relationship building so you believe in their love and plenty of sexy and non sexy couple time.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-31 10:03
Duke of Desire
Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:


All the good things must come to an end. :( Every year for the past 7yrs. I’ve eagerly waited for a new Maiden Lane book. It’ll be so difficult to not have to wait for another new installment, even if the storyline veered away from the original characters. Even if Ms. Hoyt is writing a new series out later this year; even if I’m really excited about it. Duke of Desire marks the 12th installment, the final one, bidding adieu to our much beloved series. Though I still have 2 short stories to read, this is the last full-length novel.

Before I get into my review, starting with quite a bit of discussion on the backstory and how the characters are connected—because trust me they are connected through each-other and through ongoing events—I need to talk about the following...

I came to learn about Ms. Hoyt’s books a few years after I discovered Romance as a genre and was binging through some popular authors’ backlists. I don’t exactly remember why I picked up her books but so glad I did! Ms. Hoyt was still a bit of newbie, with 2 short series under her belt but making quite the splash. The first installment of Maiden Lane, Wicked Intentions, was out and waiting for the second installment. But before I could finish the first two series of hers, second book, Notorious Pleasures was out as well. By then I was SO hooked in her writing style and her stories that I was more in the lines of ‘oh goodie! gimme gimme!’ LOL I promptly began the reading of book 1 of Maiden Lane, which also prompted my love affair with this series.

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review 2018-03-31 00:00
The Secret Thief
The Secret Thief - Nina Lane As a poet, I am a lover of words. The Secret Thief fed into my love of prose using lyrical delivery and imaginative dialogue. Nina Lane used beautiful words and captivating emotion to unite two broken people. Flynn and Eve are in need of a second chance. Ms. Lane gave them the courage to find one. With each other. A surreal love song, that needs to be experienced.
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review 2018-03-28 00:48
Murder on Black Swan Lane (Wrexford & Sloane Mystery, #1)
Murder on Black Swan Lane - Andrea Penrose

This is one of those books that I liked in spite of demonstrable problems; a good example of when characters can overcome the flaws in a plot.

 

Lord Wrexford is an accomplished chemist and has the means to devote his time to it in the privacy of his own home.  He has a rather black reputation, although it's never specified why; only off hand references that include womanising, a disrespect of protocol, and a dismissive attitude about social conventions.  He has a valet named Tyler that acts as his lab assistant and all-around Bunter, only with a sharper tongue.  I like Tyler.

 

Mrs. Sloane is the widow of the famous satirist A.J. Quill.  An even better artist than her late husband, she secretly picks up his pen after his death to stave off certain penury; she also allows two homeless waifs known only as Raven and Hawk to shelter in her downstairs, feeding them when she can, and attempting to educate them and give them a bit of polish.  Mrs. Sloane is up to her eye-balls in secrets, her new profession seeming to be the least of them.  She reads and speaks Latin, and has a copy of DeBrett's in her desk drawer.  Half this book's weight is comprised of hints about Mrs. Sloane.

 

Wrexford has been verbally and publicly sparring with an influential member of the church.  When the man is found dead with chemical burns on his face and his throat slit, Wrexford is the obvious suspect and is set upon by a Bow Street Runner.  And all the while Quill has been faithfully satirising the events, with details that are frighteningly accurate.  Wrexford sets out to find out who the mysterious Quill is, and when he does, strikes a bargain with her:  His continued silence in exchange for access to her information network in order to prove his innocence.

 

So far, so good.  Even though this isn't a new premise, I can't help but get sucked in.  Unfortunately Penrose's plot doesn't really work.  It's two different plots that she attempted to merge into one with a single weak scene.  What could have been a very tight and gripping plot ended up being undermined by the forced connection, and left clunky and underwhelming.  This, combined with much too heavy-handed hints about Mrs. Sloane's 'mysterious' past resulted in a book that was good, but not great, and only mildly entertaining when it could have come closer to edge-of-your-seat stuff.  Penrose also qualifies for the dubious award for most overused idiom.  I love the phrase "pot calling the kettle black", but using it a dozen times in the same book is an excessive display of exuberance.

 

Still, Penrose has put together a great cast of characters and I'm interested in finding out what happens to them next.  I'm hoping, too, that subsequent books (there's at least 1 more out now, and 1 planned, I think) will see her finding her groove and writing stronger stories.

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