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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 2017-04-03 07:41
Fantasy lovers, this is one to read! O_O
The Mutt: An Order Series Short Story - Kasia Bacon

4.5 HEARTS--


I wanted his attention, but he refused to give it to me.
So I had to find a way to claim it.


This story... listen, this story? It's phenomenal. And for just 41 pages, it packs a wallop into a fantasy world I want to be a part of.





The Mutt by new author Kasia Bacon is a prequel of sorts set in the Order universe, a fantasy based world with a contemporary feel. The author begins with a note stating the characters would not let up until she told their beginning. I personally want to thank Lochan and Ervyn. And I also want to let them know, I hope they nag the author (I mean it in the sweetest way possible) because this a winning concept and the novel needs to be out like yesterday.

Highland Dark elf, Ervyn, sees his man at training camp and wants his eyes on him. His man, Lochan, half human/half elf aka mutt, doesn't know it yet but he's been claimed. The aloof, talented assassin in training doesn't notice anyone and it perplexes and frustrates Ervyn. Nothing gets the blue eyed half breed's attention. Ervyn is set to be an archer once training camp is completed. It's a family tradition. Watching Lochan tests what he wants, Lochan's skills are some of the best seen. And he just wants to bask in his greatness.

And kiss him too.


"There was a fair amount of feral in that grin. I longed to be the one to tame the predator in him."



Fantasy fans this is going to be a winner. The world building, the taste that the author introduces is layered. There is even a language! And if you love reading sexual tension as much as I do, this story is filled with it. That even a mere kiss blew my top.

Plus the elves are reminiscent of Prince Nuada from Hellboy, who I have a major nerd boner for. So anything remotely written like the (misunderstood) bad guy with dark elves, emotionally stunted communication, baggage, sword and killing skills...I am ALL over it.





My one complaint is probably going to be it should have been longer. But that's the greed talking.

The author states this is a beginning and it reads just like that. We know the two men (late teens at this point, the cusp of adulthood) will have a deeper story as they hint at the future from the beginning. The story while filled with sexual tension, doesn't have an overabundance of sex. This works highly because it made me want to know more and appreciate every second either two interacted.


"What are you doing?" he breathed.
"I want to kiss you. If you want that too, you'll say, "Please, Ervyn."
[...]
"Please, Ervyn," he said in a guttural voice.


Have I mentioned there is a hint of future D/s? Someone's possessive. I'm all about it.

I haven't been as impressed with a short story in sometime.  If the author continues with the rich writing, she'll have a fan in me. I'm kind of in love with this couple already.





Highly recommended especially for fans of fantasy, elves, assassins and cool concepts.



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 2017-03-18 23:27
This is definitely going to be a series to watch...
An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

A Tag Team Review with Chelsea!

FOUR HEARTS--K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.


"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out there."




Swoon.

The words were, as usual, a joy to read from this author. And the shared moments between 28-year-old Clement Talleyfer - lodging house keeper and 35 year old, Rowley Green, a solitary preserver (taxidermist) made this book special.

Clement, or Clem, is of Indian descent and grew up an outsider for his entire life. Rowley has not had an easy childhood and bears the scars to prove it. The author has a fine hand on writing inclusive characters be it race or QUILTBAG, no one gets left out. And An Unseen Attraction is on par.

But what makes this book even more special was including a character with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia). She wrote the character in such a way that respected the disorder and an affected person's feelings, rather than using his disorder as a characteristic and not following up. (I'm not a fan of books that write characters with intellectual disabilities and can't back it up with thorough research). Based on the obvious research alone put into this tale, it's rated all the hearts.

Clem runs the lodging house and crushes on his lodger of eight months, the small, quiet Mr. Green, who runs a preserve shop next door. Clem's not one to easily discern if Mr. Green would welcome his affections, so quiet friendship is what he relies on to keep in respectable contact within that time period. You know what they say about the quiet ones? Because quiet Mr. Green notices Clem just as much.

Told in dual POV, the two become closer while surround by interesting characters at the lodging house. Their shared attraction obvious. A mystery is literally dropped on the house doorsteps by way of a dead body. The pair bond even more, trying to figure out what is the cause of the violent acts. Both men have damaging pasts, with internal and external scars. Clem is gorgeous (great cover by the way - it's very close to how I picture Clem). But with DCD, most treat him like an imbecile. Rowley, knows he's not as handsome and he tends to downplay himself. Not to the point of annoyance but thankfully Clem sees him as a worthy partner and vice versa.

I loved both main characters. (Can you tell?) Flawed individuals who make each other stronger together and bring out the best in each other without losing a sense of self. They aren't overt characters, rather it's the quietness and the little things that they both do that grabs the attention.

And their compatibility exists both in and out of the bedroom!


"I like to be...undemanding in bed. To, well, have the other person make the decisions. there's something about someone doing what he wants to do with me..."






I-- *clears throat*

Yes, I'm very fine with that.

Edging and submissiveness...oh yes, these two were definitely hot together.

While the two check off so many boxes on my characters-I-enjoy list, the story isn't without minor flaws.

Why not full throttle and dump all the hearts at this book's feet? There are some open ended issues that I would love to be answered. There's an arc that has enough mystery to probably cover the entire series. (That epilogue is everything)

But...something about the 'villain(s) ending'-- something about it s sticking in my craw. Maybe it could be more of a me thing but I wanted justice. I wanted a big never ending battle royal as a climax to the action scenes scattered about the story.

The cowardice irks me. Who is the accomplice? Mastermind? Ah!

But I do think the author kept the main character's personalities at the forefront at all times, so I'll just have to swallow and build a bridge to get over it.

Or read the rest of this series, which I DEFINITELY will be. Because I am all in for "Polish Mark". This author has me pining for themes I tend to shy away from - mysteries and psychics. *shakes head*

The writing is that good.

I don't plan on running through the ignored lists of books with those themes but it seems that if K.J. Charles has written it, I'll make an exception.

The secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. And the story overall, is well written enough, suspenseful enough and romantic enough to check out!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review via Netgalley.

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review 2017-02-08 05:56
Jizzmas approved! ;D
The Fortune Cookie (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Matt Burlingame
It's the spookiest time of the year...CHRISTMAS JIZZMAS time!!

A lot of readers are going to smother themselves in Christmas Jizz. Whelp at BMBR, we're reviewing Dreamspinner's Bah Humbug anthology - Grumps vs. Jizz Lovers (1 guess what team I'm on)



Here's my 2 cents:

4.25 Hearts--I feel!



Possibly the Jizzmas spirit? *squints*

This Santa jizz Grumpcorn was tickled by this adorably snarky story. I swallowed this load easily.

I think this year's anthology theme of Scrooges reigning supreme is great. (You can't tell me that the Scrooges don't reign) It's the only reason why I even looked at this year's Dreamspinner anthology. I felt one with this story's Scrooge, Laurence. He's 33, single and not a big fan of the Christmas commercialism. And if he shreds unwanted Christmas decorations from his office cubicle, so what? They shouldn't be invading his space. I feel he is misunderstood. He stood up to the Christmas cheery and their Christmas sugar, fought the good fight...maybe he might have been a little stern.

But he got his point across. *shrug*

Maybe too well, since he's been at it for years and this year an office mishap lands him in an office holiday planning committee. Mandatory or else. *gasp* And to make matters worse, the committee is being led by a Christmas loving ginger giant by the name of Nick Kringall. Nick tries to complete the impossible with Laurence on his team--throw a big party in a limited amount of time. The two men are forced to work together. During this short period of time Laurence thaws out, Nick seems a little otherworldly, is it a Jizzmas miracle?

NO!

Where this story wins is not the Jizzmas cheer, it's watching Laurence realize his flaws, grow as a person and open to let someone in. Also, Matt Burlingame, the author of this story has a fine hand at letting the story unfurl without letting it get lost to Christmas fluff and cheer. There was a speck of feels as there are mentions of past abuse - Trigger warning. There were also moments of cheese--hm, like Cheddar cubes--but it worked to make a well rounded story. And the romance was sweet not sticky. The laughs had a snarky tinge. Thoroughly enjoyed and will be looking for more MM romance from this author (it's his first time!)

On second thought, I don't think it's Jizzmas spirit I feel. I think it was a little indigestion. *burp* ;P

A copy provided for an honest review.
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