The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover: Review and Excerpt

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Book Info:

3-Cover_TheHideawayInn_StoverTitle: The Hideaway Inn

Author: Philip William Stover

Series: Seasons of New Hope, #1

Length: approx. 64,000 words / 288 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

On-Sale: May 26, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Price: $14.99 U.S. 

ISBN: 9781335146939

Book Description: High school wasn’t the right time or place for their relationship to grow, but now, fifteen years later, a chance encounter changes both of their lives forever. No one in the charming river town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, needs to know that Vince Amato plans on flipping The Hideaway Inn to the highest bidder and returning to his luxury lifestyle in New York City. He needs to make his last remaining investment turn a profit…even if that means temporarily relocating to the quirky small town where he endured growing up. He’s spent years reinventing himself and won’t let his past dictate his future.

But on his way to New Hope, Vince gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and his past might be the only thing that can get him to his future. Specifically Tack O’Leary, the gorgeous, easygoing farm boy who broke his heart and who picks Vince up in his dilapidated truck.

Tack comes to the rescue not only with a ride but also by signing on to be the chef at The Hideaway for the summer. As Vince and Tack open their hearts to each other again, Vince learns that being true to himself doesn’t mean shutting down a second chance with Tack—it means starting over and letting love in.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Read more

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Jo Jones is a former child star who played the adopted Chinese daughter of a white family on a popular television show. As an adult, she is the showrunner for a successful television drama.

Emma Kaplan is her assistant, who hopes to become a director one day.

Jo asks Emma to accompany her to the SAG Awards—as her assistant—but they are photographed together on the red carpet and the whole world assumes that they’re dating.

A different book might handle this with a set of (convoluted) circumstances in which Jo and Emma are obligated to pretend to be dating and end up falling in love during the course of their fake romance.  

There’s nothing wrong with the conventional fake dating trope, but that’s not what happens in Something to Talk About. Instead, Wilsner has taken a romcom staple and given us a thoughtful and nuanced story.

To begin with, there are reasons for hesitation on Jo’s part: there’s a bit of an age difference- Emma is in her late twenties and Jo is forty-one years old. There’s also a power differential: Jo is Emma’s boss, and the #MeToo movement has shown us how people can be exploited by someone who has the power to advance or destroy someone’s career.

So Jo is reluctant to risk doing anything to put Emma in that position; even though she doesn’t have any intention of doing anything exploitative, the implication could be damaging enough. Likewise, Emma suppresses her feelings for Jo because she respects her boundaries and keeping things professional is a priority.     

But that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from thinking that Jo and Emma are dating.

The book takes place over the course of a year and Jo and Emma spend most of it being awkward and stilted around each other as they try to remain professional, despite a handful of “almost” moments between them. But honestly, there’s not that much time for pining because there’s a television show to run, and Jo has the additional responsibility of writing the script for the next Agent Silver movie, a popular superhero franchise.

There’s a nice balance in this book between lighter material like bonding over youth sports and cupcakes, and heavier material, like the aforementioned power dynamic (with a minor character). Even though they spend most of the year avoiding their growing mutual attraction, Emma and Jo’s bond deepens. This makes their eventual romance even more satisfying, as it becomes clear that they are perfect for each other.  

I would absolutely recommend Something to Talk About. I loved the way that Jo and Emma worried about each other; they both demonstrated their concern in a unique way. I also appreciated the way in which toxic people were handled. This was such a good book, and I am looking forward to reading more from Wilsner in the future.   

I received an ARC of this book from Berkley/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron: Review and Excerpt

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Book Info:

3-Cover_TheGirlNextDoor_CameronTitle: The Girl Next Door

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron

Length: approx. 60,000 words / 272 pages

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

On-Sale: May 26, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Price: $14.99 U.S. 

ISBN: 9781335146946 

Book Description: New York Times bestselling author Chelsea M. Cameron is back with the opposites-attract, sweet-and-sexy small-town romance you’ve been waiting for.

Iris Turner hightailed it out of Salty Cove, Maine, without so much as a backward glance. Which is why finding herself back in her hometown—in her childhood bedroom, no less—has the normally upbeat Iris feeling a bit down and out. Her spirits get a much-needed lift, though, at the sight of the sexy girl next door.

No one knows why Jude Wicks is back in Salty Cove, and that’s just how she likes it. Jude never imagined she’d be once again living in her parents’ house, never mind hauling lobster like a local. But the solitude is just what she needs—until Iris tempts her to open up.

A no-strings summer fling seems like the perfect distraction for both women. Jude rides a motorcycle, kisses hard and gives Iris the perfect distraction from her tangled mess of a life. But come September, Iris is still determined to get out of this zero-stoplight town.

That is, unless Jude can give her a reason to stay…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Read more

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

 

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Kai Sheridan is a senior at Fairvale Academy. He’s also gay, but he’s not out to anyone.

Bryson Keller is one of the most popular boys at Fairvale. He’s also involved in a bet/dare: he becomes the boyfriend of the first person who asks him out at the beginning of the week. At the end of the week, they break up and the process starts over.

It’s all about the futility of commitment when it comes to high school relationships.

To be clear, the definition of dating is more akin to the “olden days” than contemporary times: dating involves rides to school and carrying books and there’s no physical stuff—not even kissing.

So, as the story begins during a hectic Monday morning, Kai asks Bryson to date him and Bryson becomes the first person Kai comes out to. Bryson is totally cool with the arrangement; he even points out that the dare involves the first “person” to ask him out, not the first “girl”. Bryson is also fine with not telling people that he’s Kai’s boyfriend for the week since Kai isn’t ready to come out to everyone yet. Read more

Mini Chibi Art Class by Yoai

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My thirteen year old daughter has been reading manga for several years and drawing in a manga style for almost as long. Needless to say, she was even more excited about the opportunity to help me with a book review than usual.

We’re not familiar with the original Chibi Art Class, but a cursory glance online indicates that Mini Chibi Art Class is the same book as the original, only smaller.

For those of you not familiar with manga, “chibi” (shorty)  is a style of manga in which the characters are “kawaii” (cute). Chibi characters have big heads and little bodies.

This book is a thorough guide to creating chibis from your own and includes

-materials

-getting the proportions right

-facial features

-clothing

-backgrounds Read more

Starcrossed by Allie Therin

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This is the second book in the Magic in Manhattan series and readers ought to start with Spellbound, the first book, so they have a better idea of the way magic works in the storyverse, as well as understanding the threats the characters find themselves up against.

Arthur and Rory are still dealing with the fallout from the events in Spellbound and trying to figure out how to make their relationship work. It’s 1920s New York, so they can’t be together openly and then there’s the added layer of their socioeconomic differences: even a friendship between the two men raises questions. Read more

The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

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Just about everything in the world of The Fascinators is the same as our world except for the fact that magic is real, and as one might expect, magic is looked upon with suspicion in Sam’s small town in Georgia. That’s probably why the magic club at Sam’s school only has a couple of kids— James and Delia, his closest friends.

The start of Sam’s senior year brings a number of changes: new members of the magic club, a shift in his friendship with James, and the increasing possibility of trouble bigger than they can imagine. Read more

He’s Come Undone: A Romance Anthology by Emma Barry & Olivia Dade & Adriana Herrera & Ruby Lang & Cat Sebastian

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This is an amazing collection of five novellas written by five extremely talented writers. They are offering this anthology for only $2.99, which breaks down to 60 cents a story. This is quite the steal, as they could have easily charged double, so you owe it to yourselves to buy this collection today.

That’s it—that’s my entire review.

Oh, did you want more information? Okay, but prepare yourself for gushing. Read more

Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles

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Do you like the friends to lovers trope? What about the enemies to lovers trope?

What if I told you that this was a book that combined these two tropes so thoroughly that you won’t be able to tell whether the two protagonists are friends or enemies or lovers?

Well, you’re in luck because Slippery Creatures will be available on May 13th for your reading pleasure. This is the first book in a trilogy of 1920s queer historical romance featuring Will Darling and Kim Secretan.

Will went to war at 18, stayed there for the duration, and found hard times upon his return to England. As the story begins, he has just inherited a bookshop from an uncle he barely knew. This ought to be the end of his financial woes, but it turns out to be the beginning of Big Trouble. All sorts of men turn up at the shop asking for the information/papers. Will has no idea what they’re talking about, but these men don’t seem empathetic to Will’s earnest declarations of innocence. They want the papers and they want them now. Read more

Burn Zone by Annabeth Albert: Release Day Blitz!

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Book Details

CoverPhoto-BurnZonTitle: Burn Zone

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series: Hotshots, #1

Length: approx. 90,000 words

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Imprint: Carina Press

eBook On-Sale: April 27, 2020

eBook ISBN & Price: 9781488057045, $4.99 USD

Book Description: Introducing Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series—the emotions and intensity of Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob. Read more