Striking Sparks by Ari McKay

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This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Striking Sparks: by Ari McKay
Release Date: December 15th, 2016
Pages: 214 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
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The stakes are high and the heat is on.

Beau Walker, owner of the Barbecue Shack, needs the help of Jake Parnell, his one-time rival and secret crush, in a televised barbecue competition. Beau is a proud man, but the stakes are high, and smart, sexy Jake is his only hope, even if being around Jake reawakens the attraction he’s fought for years.

Jake left his hometown, determined to build a life somewhere his sexuality wouldn’t hurt his family’s restaurant business—and far away from hunky, obstinate Beau Walker. Then his twin, Josh, is killed, and Jake returns to support his brother’s wife and children. Despite his reservations, he agrees to go head-to-head against Beau on national television. Between stress and grief, as well as pride and determination, only one thing is certain—the heat between Beau and Jake extends well beyond the kitchen.


I liked the idea way better then the execution of the story. I guess I spent most of my time trying to figure out why they were enemies. They weren’t really enemies, in fact they spent their time disliking each other for the same exact feelings. I didn’t really warm up to Jake until the end, I really dislike when someone assumes things about people, and he spent most of his time assuming the worst about Beau. The bully word came up to much for me in response to Beau, but he did not one bully thing in this book. I get the authors tried to pave the way by not having a prologue of some sorts, but I can’t take the word of Jake on Beau being a bully. The little flashback instance wasn’t enough, because I didn’t feel he was a bully. Honestly, I just like they were talking to each other and how 17 years old are. Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t classify it under my cheesy goodness/sugary sweet fluff tags. I just didn’t feel it all.

Between the competition, and the guys finding realizing what everyone else knows, then I’m left with a blank slate. Jake has to come back home to Buffalo Lick to take over the family’s restaurant. His twin brother and best friend has died two months previous leaving a pregnant wife and two small children. Jake didn’t see himself returning to the small town in Texas. His dreams of teaching got put on hold to help out his sister in law. After all he’s all about family duty. Jake is holding is on, when Gourmet Network decides to film their new Barbecue competition in their town. Jake is know going up against The Shack. His rivalry not just in cooking but in life. Beau Walker is a small town guy, who loves cooking. He has never seen himself doing anything else.

I really can’t explain the reasoning why it took them so long to get on the same page. It was definitely miscommunication on both guys sides. It was low steam for me, 3 stars because it wasn’t bad, but it was nothing there. Not enough character building for me. When they did get together right, the banter was pretty good from there, but that was more then 50% later on in the book. It does offer a HEA. If you are looking for that in your books then the Dreamspun Desires series is right up your alley.

About Ari McKay

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.

Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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