Opposites Attract in TEDDY SPENSER ISN’T LOOKING FOR Love–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Kim Fielding. TEDDY SPENSER ISN’T LOOKING FOR LOVE connects a lonely designer-slash-marketing director with an introverted programmer. I enjoyed A SECOND HARVEST, LOVE CAN’T CONQUER, and THE LITTLE LIBRARY, so I jumped at the chance to read this one.

About the book:
Some people search their whole lives to find love. He just wants to avoid it.

Teddy Spenser spends his days selling design ideas to higher-ups, living or dying on each new pitch. Stodgy engineer types like Romeo Blue, his nemesis—if you can call someone who barely talks to you a nemesis—are a necessary evil. A cute necessary evil.

Working together is bad enough, but when their boss puts them both on a new high-stakes project, “working together” suddenly means:
–sitting uncomfortably close on the same plane
–staying in the same hotel room—with only one bed
–spending every waking minute together.

Turns out Mr. Starched Shirt has some hidden depths, and it’s getting harder to ignore the spark Teddy feels with every brush of their hands, with every knowing glance. He might not have been looking for this connection with Romeo, but will he ever be ready to let him go?

My Review:
Teddy Spenser and Romeo Blue both work for the same bare-bones tech start-up company trying to sell “smart vases”. Teddy is the designer and marketing director for Reddyflora while Romeo is the programmer for the tech-side. Romeo has his own office, one of only two in the shoddy Chicago digs. Their boss and the company president has the other. Teddy thinks that Romeo is a stuck up dude, even if he does fill out his stylish suits quite well. But, Teddy isn’t looking for love. Not since his last beau broke his heart. Teddy still can’t let go of all that hurt–and since he has little to occupy his time beyond design and thrift shopping, well, it’s hard to get over it.

Teddy imagines that Romeo is a nemesis, but really, he’s practically a stranger. He’s quite reasonable, actually, as Teddy recognizes once they get working on a redesign of the vase together. See, turns out the tech can’t exactly be hidden in Teddy’s austere design scheme, so they come up with a better plan to camouflage the bits that can’t be hidden and Teddy thinks’ the job is done. But, instead, he and Romeo are sent to Seattle to pitch their smart vase to vaunted designer and known technophobe, Joyce Alexander. Without her backing, Reddyflora’s capital stream is about to dry up and the company will collapse.

The trip to Seattle is revealing in many ways. Teddy sees Romeo as a compassionate man, assisting in the care for his nieces, as well as a stranger’s crying infant on the plane. They both struggle with the tiny hotel room, and one bed, but it’s only because they know so little about one another. The close quarters imposes a boundary across which they build emotional intimacy, and completing Ms. Alexander’s eccentric “tasks” also fosters a dynamic that unite Teddy and Romeo in their professional mission and in their personal lives.

It’s a really sweet slide into coupledom, with Teddy styling Romeo once he learns that Romeo truly appreciates his aesthetic, and is willing to soften his look with gender-bending choices. Teddy loves the way green and blue silks accentuate Romeo’s brown skin tones. Romeo’s encyclopedic knowledge of nature, cooking and…everything is really attractive to Teddy–who can’t believe that such a buff and suave-looking man is so crippled by attention and is attracted to himself. Their mutual esteem is only balanced by their personal, self-esteem struggles. I loved how they bonded with each other and how loving Romeo’s family was when he brought Teddy home for Sunday supper. The end has one of those rom-com twists where they are forced to make decisions that could break them up, but they are really only more cemented together.

Sexytimes are more tender than passionate, but are fully enjoyable. I really adored this one, and with the little mini-Valentine’s theme it’s great book to pick up in January.

Interested? You can find TEDDY SPENSER ISN’T LOOKING FOR LOVE on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Kim Fielding lives in California and travels as often as she can manage. A professor by day, at night she rushes into a phone booth to change into her author costume (which involves comfy clothes instead of Spandex and is, sadly, lacking a cape). Her superpowers include the ability to write nearly anywhere, often while simultaneously doling out assistance to her family. Her favorite word to describe herself is “eclectic” and she finally got that fourth tattoo.

Catch up to Kim on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Eternally Trapped IN A HOLIDAZE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review for a contemporary holiday romance from Christina Lauren. IN A HOLIDAZE mixes “Groundhog Day” schitck with a new adult romance for a very confused young woman.

About the book:
One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners..

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

My Review:
Maelyn Jones loves nothing more than spending Christmas with an extended family of her parents’ dearest friends in a bursting-at-the-seams cabin in Utah. It has been a tradition for her whole life, and brings a plethora of memories, including those surrounding her deep and unrequited love for Andrew, the eldest son of the cabin owners: her mom’s college roommate and her husband. These people are her family to a degree, and when Mae gets drunk at the end of their stay she makes out with Theo, Andrew’s philandering younger brother–who treats her like crap the morning after. And after THAT she learns the cabin is being sold and she’ll never spend Christmas with these folks again. It’s upsetting–even more so than her parents’ divorce several years ago.

While heading for the airport, deeply disappointed Mae makes a wish to find “what will make her happy”. Then fate steps into her path. She’s next conscious on the airplane en route to Utah, a week ahead of the nightmare trip she’d just endured. Armed with the knowledge she’d just gained, Mae tries to make sense of this second chance. Only, she keeps messing up and getting sent back to the airplane to restart the pathway to her happiness.

She finally decides to confide in Benny, one of the original parent-pals, who is a usual co-conspirator. Benny aids Mae in her quest to not be shipped off to the plane, and also to find her happiness. It turns out that Mae is deeply unsatisfied with the state of her life, and she decides to do EVERYTHING differently, like even confessing her longstanding crush on Andrew. It seems to be working, because Andrew is pretty much the best kind of guy, but even he struggles to understand Mae’s predicament. She’s terrified that she’s going to finally get what she so desperately wants, but have it ripped away in a flash of tragedy and return to the danged airplane.

If you like Groundhog Day, and holiday romances, this book is likely going to be a hit for you. Poor Mae has so many fits and starts, and her relationships with these folks are all so strong and yet tenuous. She offends Theo, who has a weird fixation that THEY were supposed to get together, since they are the same age, while Andrew gets mad that there might have been a reality where Mae chose Theo…first. The angst and drama are all so timely placed, I was turning the pages late into the night to get to the HEA, which totally happens, even if Mae hadn’t figured out how entirely her life needed to change if she was going to find her true happiness. I also liked that she needed the help of others to make the happiness of their entire crew grow by leaps. I really enjoyed it, even though it’s pretty low on the steam factor for New Adult romance.

Interested? You can find IN A HOLIDAZE on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced sixteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 30+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

You can find Christina and Lauren on their website, and twitter: Christina or Lauren,.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Fortunes Found on THE HOLIDAY DETOUR–A Review

Hi there! I’ve read a bunch of holiday romances and want to share some thoughts on those over the next few weeks, so please bear with me. Today I’m excited to share a review for a contemporary holiday F/F romance from Jane Kolven. THE HOLIDAY DETOUR features a down-on-her-luck Jewish lesbian struggling to make it home to her elderly grandma for the holidays.

About the book:
Sometimes it takes everything going wrong to make you see how right things are.

Dana Gottfried is a stressed-out Jewish lesbian who’s just quit her job and wants to get home to see her grandmother. When her car breaks down in Indiana on Christmas Eve, Dana is stranded—until she’s rescued by Charlie, a pig farmer who doesn’t identify as male or female. Although they come from different worlds, Dana is intrigued by Charlie’s sense of humor and kindness. Despite her better judgment, Dana says yes when Charlie offers a ride.

But the journey home is paved with detours. From car accidents to scheming ex-girlfriends to a snowy and deserted Chicago Loop, everything that could go wrong on their road trip does, but it leads Dana on a path of self-discovery that just might end in love.

My Review:
Dana Gottfried is a 32 year old lesbian Jewish woman who’s just given notice at her job–before she could get fired. She’s driving from Cleveland to the Chicago suburbs to spend the holiday with her 85 y/o grandma, her only remaining family. Her car breaks down in Indiana, though, and she’s picked up by a cute genderqueer person, Charlie whose rusted out truck barely seems roadworthy. Charlie says their family lives in an adjacent suburb to Dana’s grandma’s and they would be willing to drive her all the way.

Dana is thrilled, especially since she’s a bit intrigued with Charlie. It’s going kinda well. But Dana is a little neurotic, and she’s always second guessing if Charlie is telling the truth. And, they get into scrapes on the journey, like when a jerk gives Charlie guff for using the Ladies’ bathroom, or when they are acting as Good Samaritans and the truck gets towed.

This is a bit of a madcap connection story. Charlie is a decent and kind person, and Dana is attracted, but also wary. She’s actually a hot mess, worried about her lonely grandma, her dwindling finances, and now concerned how to get to her childhood home when help is dependent on Charlie’s jealous ex-girlfriend. It’s a little mish-mash of Planes, Trains and Automobiles meets a rom-com and it’s sweet and silly by turns. Dana runs hot and cold, which makes her less appealing than Charlie, but they do figure out that they are a match. I liked that they did “get” one another, and their futures have enough flexibility to accommodate a new/first relationship.

I liked the story, and I liked that Dana calmed the heck down and stopped talking herself out of any and everything that could possibly be good. Charlie really also came a long way, repairing relationships with friends on their way through this adventure. As a Chicagoan, and a person who’s made those drives across I80 and into and out of the Chicago traffic, I could fully sympathize with Dana and Charlie and their experiences.

Interested? You can find THE HOLIDAY DETOUR on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Jane Kolven is an author of contemporary, fun LGBTQ romances. She is proud to create stories that show a variety of LGBTQ people finding happiness—because everyone deserves love. Jane currently lives in Michigan with her wife and their pets.

You can find Jane on her website, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Attraction Across Millennia LOVE LOGAN–Excerpt and Review

Hi there! Happy New Year, all! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and review for a M/M futuristic-world, dystopian romance from Tilly Keyes. LOVE LOGAN features a human in the year 4021 attempting to achieve respect and glory via a teleportation device, but everything goes wrong when his premier showing results in drawing a time traveler from 2021 through his device–ruining his tech, and his life.

About the book:
Zero’s teleportation machine is the talk of the town, but opening night it fails, leaving him a laughingstock. However, unknowingly, the machine pulls someone from the twentieth century and spits them out in Zero’s time.

Logan has strange, dull clothing and bland hair, and when he opens his mouth, it gets worse. He’s afraid of everything, but worst of all, his talk of love grates on Zero’s nerves.

He vows to fix the machine and send Logan home no matter what. Zero’s best friend, Honey, has other ideas. Despite Logan being terrified of her and labeling her a cat-person, she finds his talk of love enlightening.

With Logan about to go home, Zero needs to realize there’s more to life than going down in history before it’s too late.

How about a little taste?

Each shuffle of clothing and stomp of impatient feet increased Zero’s thumping heart. The curtain muffled the words of the audience, but they increased in volume until a unified grumble shook Zero’s bones. Being ten minutes late was part of his plan to build anticipation, but he hadn’t envisioned the wait would have him close to fainting from nerves.

Zero pursed his lips and exhaled slowly. He brushed his sweat-soaked palms on his suit, then removed his top hat and wiped his brow on his sleeve. He wanted to wear something more flamboyant with tassels and twinkling lights, but he softened his look and chose a stripped black-and-silver suit, and his trusty black top hat. The night was all about his invention, and he dressed down to put all emphasis on it.

“This is such a bad idea.”

Honey’s words pulled him from his thoughts, and he turned to her, widening his eyes.

“You’re here for support, not to further my anxiety.”

Zero could see her normal ellipse shaped pupils had narrowed to a line of black, splitting her lime irises in two. She was afraid for him, and he couldn’t deny that fear when his heart tried to escape his chest.

“If—If only you’d tested the machine.”

Zero pushed his hat firmly on his head. “I have tested it.”

“But never like this. You haven’t done this with a living thing—”

“It will work,” Zero said.

Honey gripped his arm. “But what if it doesn’t?”

He frowned and glanced at her paw that gripped his arm. She blinked then retracted her claws with a softly spoken apology.

“This is my moment. I can feel it in my bones. My life is about to change.”

“Dying is life changing, life ending,” she replied.

Zero shook his head. “I won’t die—hopefully I won’t die, and if I do, I hope it will be quick.”

“What if you walk through and only half of you appears on the other side?”

Zero lifted his hand and tilted it one way and then the other. “Well, if that happens, I’ll die quickly, so it’s not so bad.”

Honey hissed and flattened her ears. “Don’t make jokes.”

“I wasn’t joking,” he said, turning to face her. “If it goes wrong and I die, then you know I died doing what meant the most to me. Besides, I couldn’t live with the shame of a failure, so let’s hope it is either roaring success and I appear in the opposite arch or it’s unable to put my atoms back together and I die instantly.”

Honey shut her eyes and bowed forward. Zero rubbed at her arms, but she didn’t straighten to look at him. She sagged further.

“I can’t go out there until I see your smile,” he whispered.

She sniffled and shook her head. “I don’t feel like smiling.”

“Please Honey, for me. I need to see it. You’re my lucky charm.”

“Fine,” she said with a huff. “But you better not die.”

Zero thought better than making that promise. It was a strong possibility, not that he admitted it to her.

Honey lifted her head and twitched her cheeks. Her nose rose, and two daggered teeth showed through her narrow lips.

“Thank you,” Zero said.

The second the words left him, her smile dropped, and she breathed heavily through her nose.

“Right,” he said and clutched his lapels. “Here I go.”

My Review:
Zero is a human living in the underground world of Earth in the fourth millenium. He’s a handy guy, a picker-fixer who aspires to be an inventor. In this world, no one lives above ground, as the atmosphere was destroyed by nuclear war time out of mind ago. Along with humans in this subterranean existence are Furists and Cold-Blooded. This means they are humanoid fur-covered beings, like giant cats, or scaly ambulatory snake-like people. These are not mutants, their ancestors arrived from other planets looking for shelter as their home worlds died. The social structure in this time is not family-groups. Children may be raised by their parents until they are 10, but are then turned loose within the “islands” of population where they are expected to manufacture a living from whatever skills they possess. If they show themselves to be industrious, these foundlings can earn a basic apartment and token credits to get food. If anyone from this time stops earning and runs out of the tokens or food to sustain themselves they will be shipped out to another planet, likely to scrape an existence from the recycling dumps they have made of other worlds.

Zero wants to be more than a simple technician for fruit pickers. He has been building a teleportation device using scavenged parts for nearly ten years. He scrimped and saved his tokens to buy a theater in which to demonstrate his device for the wealthy Elite, who live in a hovering island above the rabble of commoners below. One of these Elite is Apollo, A former Lover of Zero’s who took his design ideas for improving hovercars and made himself an Elite, abandoning Zero. Apollo never stays away from Zero for long, relishing the power he has over him as and Elite, and enjoying any slights and suffering Zero experiences. Instead of teleporting Zero, this device brings a man from they year 2021 into his own time. Zero doesn’t know this, at first. He thinks this plain and unusual “Logan” person was paid by Apollo to ruin his device, and humiliate him in front of his audience. Zero is bitter and furious, and leaves Logan in the care of his best friend and assistant, a Furian called Honey.

It is Honey that determines Logan must have come from somewhere else, because he’s terrified by “cat-people” and his reactions prompt Zero to investigate. He’s not happy to discover his teleporter is a time machine. he can’t use that for any social or monetary currency in his world. If anyone discovered Logan’s origin, he’d be studied or killed, and Zero’s too wound up in his own disgrace to really care that Logan is a man out of time. It is only more irritating that Logan’s ancient sensibilities, like “love” and “family ties”, are somehow resonating with Honey. She convinces Zero to fix the machine to send Logan back, but this will take time and tokens, two things Zero is running short on–especially once Logan’s ineptitude costs Zero his day job.

Meanwhile, as Zero endeavors to repair his device, he’s unwillingly charmed by Logan’s card tricks and “magic”, another unfamiliar concept. It turns out that Logan’s father was a successful magician in his time, and Logan often studied as his assistant. The magic he performs seems much like what Zero would like to produce scientifically, and the rapport grows between them. This is dangerous, naturally, because Logan is meant to return to his own time, but also, the unfamiliar feelings associated with that love concept are interfering with Zero’s ability to provide for himself and Logan. Apollo’s lurking on the edges, hoping to exploit Zero’s vulnerabilities, as well.

This is a magical and intriguing dystopian love story, with two great MCs finding love in the most unexpected way. Logan is so out of his element, he’s quaint and trite in the most basic sense of wishing both for a return home and also for true love building between himself and Zero. For his part, Zero is a selfish man–because that is the prime directive of his society. Sex is sex, and work is currency in his world. He could trade himself for sex to earn the tokens he needs to manage his life and help Logan, but doing so will alienate Logan, who’s rather puritanical about the situation.

I adored the world-building here, and the love story as it developed. There were great moments of tension, especially as Zero built the device that would take his one true love far away to the past. His own impending bankruptcy and inevitable removal from society is also a great emotional hurdle, promising hurt on top of hurt before the climax. I loved Zero myself long before he solved his problems and found his happily ever after. Highly recommend!

Interested? You can find LOVE LOGAN on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Books2Read.

About the Author:
Tilly lives in a small village in the UK, surrounded by fields, and meadows.
By day, she’s looks after her two lively boys, but by night…she’s usually asleep, too exhausted to write, but sometimes she gets lucky, sometimes she settles down with a nice cup of tea and sinks into a story.
She hopes you enjoy them. Let her know by sending her an email.