Tasty Revelations WHEN ADAM FELL–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there! Today I’m happy to share my review of a new contemporary M/M romance from Pat Henshaw.
WHEN ADAM FELL is a reconnection romance from Ms. Henshaw’s Foothills Pride series. As you know I liked BEHR FACTS, so I was eager to read this one.

Don’t forget to catch the excerpt below and be sure to enter to win one of THREE $10 Starbucks gift cards.

WhenAdamFellFSAbout the book:
When his lover Jason’s drug addiction spiraled out of control, TV celebrity chef and cookbook author Adam de Leon walked away from him. Adam also abandoned his renowned restaurant in San Francisco to start a small bistro in the Sierra Foothills.
Five years later Adam is battling the conservative leaders of Stone Acres, California, to open a new restaurant in historic Old Town when Jason turns up on his doorstep—a recovered Jason, now going by the name David and claiming he’s overcome his addictions. What’s more, he begs Adam to take him back and says he’s ready for their happily ever after.

Adam has enough on his plate with problems plaguing the opening of his restaurant. And now he’s having a hard time deciding which to follow—his head or his heart.

I watched Jason rise from the stoop.
He looked good. His golden hair sparkled in the day’s first light. A happy smile tinged with nervousness spread across his lips. He was wearing a silver-gray Bogner jacket, some sort of expensive pants, and sturdy boots. Hanging from his shirt collar, his sunglasses looked like those high-priced titanium ones. All in all, the guy standing in front of me could easily have fit into the young, hip app crowd now flooding the valley. Too much money and no idea where to spend it. He looked like a guy who’d eat at the Bistro and then fucking strut up to me after dinner, put a wad of Franklins in my pocket, and whisper, “Quit this job and come cook for me.”
Nothing tempted me, especially not the hundred-dollar bills I’d thought were Monopoly money the first time I’d seen them. Nothing had moved me like this, seeing Jason rise straight up in front of me like a fucking miracle.
Standing there in my scuffed clogs, beat-up jeans, and ratty Stanford Cardinal T-shirt, I felt underdressed for this particular dream. Shouldn’t I at least be wearing my chef’s regalia, toque and all? Shouldn’t I have a Henckel in one hand and a Wüsthof in the other? Or maybe clutching a shield made of my cooking classics, which I’d written with an angry, tormented mind but a clear eye to royalties?
“Cat got your tongue?” the vision asked.
“Fucking A, man. Is it really you, Jason?”
“Sorta. Who else would come knocking at your door looking like me?” He flung his arms out like he wanted me to hug him or some shit.
I backed away and kept my hands to myself, though my dick perked up immediately. Did Jason have a twin or a younger brother, somebody who resembled him? I didn’t think so. All I’d thought for five years was nobody—and I mean nobody—could ever have come back from where my Jason had buried himself. At least I never thought so.
There’ve been moments in my life when I was sure I was losing my mind. When I knew whatever tenuous grasp on reality I thought I had was really smoke up my ass. This moment smacked of those. As the legendary John Fogerty sang and the great Yogi Berra is supposed to have said, it was like déjà vu all over again. Only not.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I asked. Suspicion tasted bitter on my tongue.
Slowly his arms came down, and he gave me a pained but understanding look.
“Yeah, well, it was too much to hope we’d just kiss and make up.” His husky croak had once made me roll over and do anything he asked, but not now. “Can I come in? It’s a little chilly out here.”
I wasn’t cold, but then I’m tall and stout, a real cliché chef image. Fuck, I guess somebody’s got to be the cliché, right? It’s how clichés are born.
I shrugged at his question, swiped at the sweat rolling from my forehead, and moved aside. “Kitchen’s downstairs.” I gestured to the steps.
He walked past me, letting his hand trail over my groin. Once I would have nearly come at the gesture. Now I ignored my dick because my mind was numb and had been for years. He might think he could reawaken my love and lust, but I was pretty fucking sure that ship had sailed and gotten lost at sea.

My Review:
This is the fourth book in a series, but can be enjoyed on it’s own.

Adam is a world-weary celebrity chef who’s always lamented the loss of his first love, Jason. They were two scared kids growing up in Stone Acres and left for San Francisco the first chance they had. While Adam scrabbled to become a chef, Jason was at his side, but things got muddled. Jason started using drugs and their partnership spiraled with his addiction until it hit rock bottom. Adam had to walk away, fearing that the only man he’d ever loved likely died alone.

Then, five years later, Jason appears on the stoop of Adam’s restaurant. And he’s not the emaciated shell Adam remembers. Now calling himself David, instead of his middle name Jason, he’s the pretty boy Adam fell in love with back in high school all growed up. Having had his heart broken once, Adaom’s wary, but every move David makes seems complimentary to Adam’s purpose. He’s the support gruff “thug chef” Adam always wished for.

The Foothills series is set in a town that’s rebelling against the influx of neuvo riche citizens out of the Bay area, particularly gay citizens. Each book has some drama related to a business enterprise and the meager attempts of citizenry or the town council to upset the progress. I’d really love for these conflicts to have a bit more meat on their bones. Chef Adam has to contend with vandalism and harassment, but he–and his trusty posse of gay entrepreneurs–seem to have the rapscallions bested before the first volley is even launched.

David, for his part, is a changed man who beat back addiction one app at a time. I would have loved to get into his head a bit. He’s the one carrying the guilt of their first failed love story, and while he’s apologetic, energetic and committed I never really got a sense of his struggle. I liked how he asserted himself, with Adam and with childhood tormentors, and felt he was a good guy–just the same as Adam did. I just would have liked more of his story and more of his angst. There had to be enormous challenges for him, in his past and also seeking this reunion with Adam. I wanted to experience his vulnerabilities, and was disappointed that I didn’t.

The book’s a romance, but it’s also a walk in Adam’s life. It’s not been easy, and he’s battled through. One of his adversaries noted that Adam’s a survivor, and he is, but he leaves the book far better off than surviving. Reuniting with David is the key ingredient his adult life had lacked. Do not expect any steam from this one. It’s breezy and shiny with a “we’ll conquer their town!” spirit that’s just a shade light. I’m always happy to see bullies and bigots get shafted, and you can expect that happens here.

Interested? You can find WHEN ADAM FELL on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, AllRomance and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of THREE $10 Starbucks gift cards.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska where she promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Now retired, Pat has spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Catch Pat on her website, Facebook, Amazon, twitter, and check out the Foothills Pride website for more deets on the series.

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Their New Love is TASTY–Review and Giveaway!

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Hi there! I’m excited to wish a happy book birthday to a contemporary romance from Bella Cruise. TASTY is an enemies-to-lovers romance that features a celebrity chef and the hometown baker whose small business he’s ruining.

Catch my review below and be sure to get in on the $10 Amazon GC giveaway.

Tasty Ebook CoverAbout the book:
Go on, lick it.
Cupcake queen Jules Rockwell has sworn off men. All men. Because heartbreak is a bitch. But when sexy chef Cal McKenzie shows up in town – with a soft as butter Scottish accent and abs you could lick frosting off – she wonders if maybe a no-strings fling is exactly what she needs.

Then she finds out the truth: he’s opening up his own rival bakery, right down the street from her store. Her sexy fling is now her #1 competition – and Jules never backs down from a fight.

Cal McKenzie doesn’t play by the rules. His sex appeal and chocolate eclairs are a deadly combination, and he’s got his eye on worldwide pastry domination – but he didn’t reckon on Jules. Full of wit and spice, she’s more than just a sexy hook-up. But as their chemistry heats up, so does their rivalry. With her heart and her career on the line, Jules isn’t sure she can risk it all again.

She’s been burned before. Will this fling satisfy both of their cravings?

My Review:
Jules Rockwell is a baker with a quaint shop in Key West, FLA. She has one employee and a fairly steady clientele until celebrity chef Callum McKenzie opens a bigger, better cake shop three blocks away. Now Jules is watching her business flounder and she’s pretty steamed that the guy stealing her livelihood is pretty dang sexy, too. Side note: Jules has been celibate for the past five years when she discovered her then boyfriend, and boss, a head chef was married with three kids.

Callum’s a tasty morsel, but he’s sure hard on his staff. Think: Gordon Ramsey who bakes. Jules tries some odd ploys to edge him out, but his celebrity is the real draw. Though, when they are set up as a blind date, Jules and Callum have a fire and ice attraction going. It seemed really really rushed behavior.

Jules spends most of the book mooning over 1. her dwindling business 2. her attraction to Callum.

This odd couple does get together and have the sparks and the earth-moving transcendent sexytimes, but all is not well, on account of Jules’s dwindling business. I found it strange that Jules spent more time off licking her wounds than behind the counter of her shop building new creations to lure her customers back, but that really wasn’t part of the narrative. There are some sexytimes, and that was nice. A rather unrealistic business in some of that–but these folks are clearly down for some exhibitionism–or else they’re too lusty to take it out of say, a driveway, or an alley, into more private quarters. Usually that works for me, but I think everything went too fast. One second they’re cats and dogs, the next they were hot-and-heavy. I works once, but that seemed to be the crux of most of the interactions for the first half. The time frame of the book seemed too short for all that happened, but perhaps that was me.

I did like that Ginny, Jules’ bestie, was a valid voice of reason. She provided excellent advice, and was a better and better friend to Jules. I liked Summer, Jules’ assistant baker who is the opposite of her sunny name. Despite the rapid fall into love, Jules is able to keep her head where her business is concerned. To a degree. Callum makes some promises that turn out to be suspect, and this is the big problem of the second half. Is Callum a liar? An opportunist? Is Jules destined to only date men who’ll wreck her?

Spoiler: this is a romance, ergo, HEA. So, Jules and Callum go work out their kinks. They find a way to save the souffle and build a life together. Pretty much. Expect a hard fight to get there though. And expect some unsanitary sampling of raw cake batter. And culinary inappropriate use of a frosting injector. Somewhere between 3.5-4 stars for me.

Interested? You can find TASTY on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends.

About the Author:
Bella Cruise is a Florida girl turned California beach babe. She loves to travel and explore new places, and currently works as a nanny to two adorable little girls. You can find her online on Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram.

Love Following THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a book released today!! A new contemporary romance from Amy E Reichert. THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a love story of food, Milwaukee, and two mismatched souls. As a Chicagoan, I was skeptical, but yeah, it made me curious about that quirky city two hours north…

The Coincidence of Coconut CakeAbout the book:

YOU’VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

My Review:

Lou is a chef with her own restaurant, Louella’s, eeking out a living in Milwaukee. She works hard and loves her work, something her fiancé Devlin, a high-powered attorney, doesn’t understand. She’s somewhat content with life, until she finds Devlin in a compromising position with a paralegal–it throws off Lou’s entire day and she has a wreck of a night at her restaurant–serving a botched meal to an undercover food critic.

Al Waters is a London transplant whose scathing food reviews have earned him some fan mail, but few friends. His experience at Louella’s is positively sickening, and he’s not willing to give the chef another chance to poison him. His review is the beginning of the end for Louella’s, and rightly so!–in his opinion. Serving undercooked fish is a health hazard….

Al meets Lou at a bar where she’s gone to cry out her sorrows–and they hit it off. Neither of them want to talk about work, but Al’s complaints of the city Lou loves earns him a bona fide tour guide–she wants him to love Milwaukee before he leaves it. Thing is, Al starts falling for Lou, and she for him. Neither is really ready to commit to anything–Lou has a restaurant falling apart and Al wishes for bigger cities/writing markets, but their bond is developing. Until Al realizes who Lou is, and how his article killed her restaurant and dreams–and he’s sick over it. He tries to make amends, but can’t. He tries to walk away, and can’t.

So he does the only thing he can do–support Lou through it. And fall in love. It’s not a one-sided affection.

Well, until Lou learns who wrote her restaurant’s review, that is….

This was a really sweet story with plenty of heart and well-rounded characters. Lou is a beloved person and chef who had a really really bad day–and she triumphed within her loss. Al was an uptight jerk who melted in Lou’s capable hands. He secondary characters are very well-drawn and add a good deal of seasoning to the story. Plus, the love of Milwaukee just pours off the page. I’m a Chicagoan, and this book made ME start to love Milwaukee–a true feat! I really enjoyed the tour throughout the city, and the fun cooking bits and pieces. I honestly would have loved it more had there been any physical heat on the page, but the book is cleaner than my empty dishwasher. Alas.

Still, it’s a quick read with emotional depth and a few quick twists that kept the story moving. Lots of great tension regarding how and when Lou would find out Al’s deception. I wasn’t shocked by the bearer of this bad news, and really liked that Lou didn’t ever give up or cow to the whims of people who didn’t keep her best interests at heart. She’s a great character, and the coconut cake recipe at the end made for a sweet finale.

Interested? You can find THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

Amy E. ReichertAbout the Author:

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

Find Amy online on her website, Goodreads, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!