Thursday, December 8, 2016

ARC Review: Clickbait by E.J. Russell


After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective — but fabulously shiny — outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project — as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.

Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.

Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content — not presentation — that matters.

My rating:

Gideon Wallace is a self-employed web designer, whose projects have dried up, inexplicably. His latest proposal has been declined/delayed, and he's in desperate needs of finding a paying job.

He's hired to set up a brand-new server room for a company, but has zero input on what servers and equipment is being purchased. Additionally, while he's supposed to set up the servers, there is still construction happening on the same floor.

Which is how Gideon meets Alex Henning. Alex is an electrician on the same job site.

Lindsey is Gideon's roommate. And Alex's sister. And Alex knows Gideon, and has kind of had a thing for the guy for a while. In secret. Because he believes that Gideon is way out of his league and wouldn't even give a guy like Alex the time of day. What with Alex being blue collar, and possibly also because he's PoC.

Alex and Lindsey were adopted by a very nice couple, the mother being a nurse and the father an electrician, who taught Alex everything he knows. Or knew - because Mr. Henning is now suffering from dementia/Alzheimer's which has affected everyone in the family.

Gideon is an interesting character. Flawed, somewhat selfish and self-absorbed, and very occupied with outward appearances after a bad break-up and being hurt not just emotionally but also physically. He puts a lot of effort into his own appearance, and comes across as shallow and cynical. Also, holidays are a nononono for him, especially Thanksgiving. He doesn't celebrate it, and doesn't even mention it by name. Because only bad things happen on Thanksgiving.

Alex, having been abandoned as a child and thankfully been adopted by the Hennings, has met Gideon one time at a party a while ago. He loves his family, and feels that he's now responsible for keeping it all together, making as much money as he can, since his mother had to stop working to care for his dad, and Lindsey is basically thinking that their father will at some point get better.

I adored Alex pretty much from the start. He's compassionate, he cares, he loves his family, he works hard. He's basically puts his own life on hold while helping his mother as much as possible with his father, who no longer recognizes him as his son.

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease, and it was heartbreaking to read about Alex fighting his tears and grief trying to deal with losing his father, even though the man is still physically present.

Blogtour: Two Ruined Christmas Eves by Chris McHart


Release Date: November 30th 2015
Genre: Holiday, mm romance, short story


It’s Christmas Eve, and folk music star Jonas is on his way to the most important gig of his career, the Volksmusik Stadl. Well, he would be if heavy snowfall hadn’t stopped him on the highway.
Fritz has to accompany his grandparents to the biggest folk music event in southern Germany, the worst punishment for a metal fan, especially on Christmas Eve.
When these two men meet at the concert after-party, sparks fly. Will this Christmas Eve be something special after all?

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Lights flashed at the stage, and a man in a dark suit stepped under the spot they created.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ll go on air in 60 seconds. Before I wish you all a great evening here at the Volksmusik Stadl, I have an announcement. Jonas Goldbaum couldn’t make it. He is presumably stuck in traffic, but we haven’t been able to reach him. Please excuse that he won’t be singing today.”

The man nodded to the camera. “And we’ll go live in three… two… one… Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to this very special Christmas edition of the most famous folk music event in German TV. I’m so happy to welcome you all, and of course, you at home on the TV, to this show. I hope you all have a wonderful evening with our stars. I wish you all a Merry Christmas!”

The curtain opened, and the first tones sounded. A female singer raised her voice over the guitar.

“I’m standing outside, watching you go, My heart bleeds, my soul is lost, without you…” Why didn’t anyone have mercy on him? Fritz clenched his teeth and tried— unsuccessfully— to tune her out. Ignoring the high notes was impossible. This was going to be a long evening. It was even more awful than he’d anticipated. It was horrible. All these smiling faces, the happy or heartbreak songs, the cameras flashing over the crowd, and he in the middle of it wishing desperately he wasn’t there.

Fritz took another sip, imagining it was a beer or something stronger.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ARC Review: His Fairy Godfather by Cate Ashwood and Nico Jaye

Since the death of his father, Trick Grigsby has fought to keep his head above water. Following in his father’s footsteps as a talented architect, he hopes to work his way up at the firm. Unfortunately, the company’s new owner barely resembles the man who was once Trick’s father’s best friend. Trick’s days are filled with drudgery and cruel remarks from the man who was supposed to be his mentor—along with his two sons, whose only jobs seem to be making Trick’s life miserable.

But all that is about to change.

Edwin Goodmaker struggled through his fairy godparent curriculum, but his mother—the reigning Fairy Queen—has a simple solution: Edwin will go to New York City and get some practical experience. When he meets Trick, Edwin knows he’s found a worthy charge, and he’s sure he can help Trick achieve all of his heart’s desires. Edwin falls for Trick, but with everything standing in their way, a fairy-tale ending might remain nothing more than a dream.

Jewel's  rating:

His Fairy Godfather was massively cute and sparkly. And who wouldn't want a little bit of magic in their lives?

Trick Grigsby has been slaving away at what used to be his father's architectural firm, since his father's death 10 years ago. Now the firm is being run by the man that was his father's best friend and partner, but, Mr. Redden is more like Mr. Scrooge, only more of a jerk. Trick puts up with the man and his sons only because of his father's memory and his hopes of buying in as partner one day. One day far far into the future, though, because Mr. Scrooge Redden is not only abusive, but he barely pays Trick and never gives him credit for all his hard work.

Edwin Goodmaker is an apprentice Fairy Godfather. He's had some trouble mastering some of his powers, and being the son of the Fairy Queen, the pressure is on. When he gets sent to New York City for some practical application, with the hopes that Edwin will have an easier time of it, Edwin is so excited. And New York is enchanting! When Edwin runs into - quite litterally - Trick, one day, he knows he's found a worthy charge. And Edwin just knows that he can help Trick to achieve his dreams.

ARC Review: The Unlikely Prospect by Lex Chase

In Prospect Harbor, Maine, lobsterman Harper Cook has always loved the sea. He and his two brothers work the harbor waters, in a fishing village of one thousand where everybody knows everybody else’s business and nobody wants to be different.

When it’s time for the annual Men of Maine pinup calendar, Harper’s brothers eagerly volunteer him. Harper isn’t thrilled to bare it all to raise money for an elementary school playground—until he meets out-and-proud Los Angeles out-a-statah Sean Blackburn: the highly available first-grade teacher with Hollywood heartthrob looks.

Harper has no desire to ever stand out from the crowd, but Sean persists and earns Harper’s friendship. Through Sean, Harper opens up to new possibilities. Things get steamy, but Harper still protects his heart. Though the right pressure in the right place might crack even a loner lobsterman out of his shell.

Dani's rating:

The blurb had me at "lobsterman" (ya know, a man who braves the wild seas fishing for those evil creatures with claws) and "pinup calendar" (Because. PINUP. Calendar.)

Lobersterman, you say? A rough, sexy, socially awkward lobsterman posing in the buff (with a lobster serving as his, um, fig leaf)?

Oh, honey, I am ALL over that.

And it gets better: Harper (said lobsterman) is a virgin (!), while the other MC, Sean, is a hot Latino boy from L.A. now teaching first grade in a small town in Maine. (I LOVE Maine in all its stark beauty; the author captures the setting perfectly.)

OMFG, be still my beating heart.

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