Snowblind by Eli Easton

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Snowblind: by Eli Easton
Series: Dreamspun Desires #29
Release Date: March 1st, 2017
Pages: 196 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Snow, steam, and secrets.

The latest snowstorm carries something unexpected to the doorstep of Hutch’s secluded Alaskan cabin: a stranger named Jude, the most beautiful man Hutch has ever seen. Jude says he’s in the area for a ski trip and that he fled a domineering lover, thinking he could make it into town. But Hutch is a suspicious SOB and treats his unwanted guest warily. The problem is Jude isn’t just gorgeous, he’s funny and smart and flirtatious.

Two gay men snowed in for three days—things happen. Really good things. By the time the storm clears, Hutch finds himself a little too attached to Jude Devereaux, San Francisco-based male model. But is Jude what he claims to be? Or is he entangled in the secrets Hutch moved to Alaska to escape?

three-stars

 

 

Ummm.. Where is the Dreamspun Desires fluff that I’m use to? I am missing all the chessiness, fluffy sugary sweetness that I’ve come to like from this series. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I feel cheated big time. I would have thought that the whole spy needing help would be right up my alley, but I didn’t like it at all. It was going well in the beginning for me, and after a while when everything came to light I just didn’t like it. Of course the tone of the story changed, and it was working for a while. I mean it took a while for me to warm up to Hutch, and I liked Jude but once Jude mentioned a kid, I kinda wanted it to be an instalove, kidfest and them running off to play family with Hutch falling in love with Jude’s daughter. It did not go like that at all.

It took me a while to like Hutch. I get why he is the way he is, but I didn’t really enjoy him as a character. Hutch has been trying to stay under the radar. What’s under the radar then by being in Alaska during a winter storm or winter season? He is fine being who he wants in this wilderness. Along comes Jude escaping from a guy during the storm trying to get back in town. Well of course a California boy isn’t going to know that you don’t try to out run a storm like this. After saving Jude, they hit off. Its days of sex, food, fun, and learning about one another. I’m really enjoying it up until 27%. A lot of unexpected things happen at this point. I had to put it down, and try to figure out what was bothering me about the story. It was the lack of fluff, the sweetness, the insta-love and care that I’ve come to know from this series. Totally lacking.

The rest of the book is action and adventure, and my face is still upturned because it wasn’t what I expected. I did not like the direction it took. Overall I think it was an okay story. The CIA tie-in into both of them as characters was good. It was very adventurous. I think Eli could have done better with this. I’m a big fan of hers. I want my fluff Eli, please give me my fluff.

About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

Striking Sparks by Ari McKay

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
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
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

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.

three-stars

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.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Striking Sparks by Ari McKay

strikingsparks_fbbanner_dsp

Oh My Shelves welcomes author Ari McKay to the blog. They come baring an Excerpt and a Giveaway for their newest release Striking Sparks. Please give them a big welcome to the blog and comment below for a chance to win $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner.

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗

Hello, everyone! A big thanks to Tamika for hosting us here at Oh My Shelves. I’m the Ari half of the symbiotic critter known as Ari McKay, and I’m here to talk about tomorrow’s release of our latest book from Dreamspinner Press, Striking Sparks. We’re incredibly excited, and we really hope people enjoy reading the story as much as we enjoyed writing it!

Striking Sparks is, when it comes down to it, a book about misconceptions and how things can work themselves out if people will simply communicate with one another. I know that’s usually phrased as “talk to one another”, but if two people are talking and neither one is really listening, things don’t tend to go very far. When you add in sexual tension and preconceived notions… well, you have the plot for a story, don’t you?

Each of our MCs has a sore spot in relation to the other. Starting out as high school football rivals in a Texas town, as teens Beau Walker and Jake Parnell are both hiding their sexuality, yet irresistibly drawn to one another. Of course neither realizes the truth about the other, so instead of hooking up, they wind up fighting both themselves and each other. Beau thinks Jake is too smart and looks down on him for being from the wrong side of the tracks, while Jake worries that Beau has sensed his attraction and despises him for it. Even after they learn the unexpected truth, it doesn’t get any better, because they can’t move past what they think the other one feels. Beau and Jake talk at each other plenty, believe me, but neither of them will win any prizes when it comes to listening!

Fast forward ten years. Jake comes back to their hometown after the death of his fraternal twin brother. He’s got a family to take care of, he’s grieving, and he still thinks Beau hates his guts. For his part, Beau thinks Jake still believes him to be an ignorant bully. But Beau needs Jake’s help, and Jake needs Beau’s, too, even though he doesn’t realize it in the beginning. They’re both determined to hold on to the “truth” they think know about the other, but the cooking competition they’re in forces them, for the first time in their lives, to start communicating rather than making assumptions, to put aside the misconceptions they’ve carried around for years and look at each other fresh eyes. That’s when they both begin to realize they aren’t nearly as different as they’d always thought, and when the blinders come off… well. I don’t want to give away too much, but there are certainly other interesting uses they can put their mouths to than just talking, right?

Oh, and there’s barbecue. Lots and lots of barbecue. If you aren’t ready to go out and maul a rack of ribs or demolish a piled of pulled pork by the end, then McKay and I haven’t done our jobs. There’s also family drama, hurt/comfort, cowboys, a diva chef, cute kids, an unexpected arrival, along with a pretty decent helping of humor. Add together, stir gently, and strike a spark.

Did I mention there’s barbecue?

∗∗∗EXCERPT∗∗∗

Never in his wildest dreams had Jake ever thought he’d be back in Buffalo Lick, Texas, working as a cook in his family’s restaurant, Parnell’s Pantry. Josh was the one who’d wanted it, the one their father had trained up to take over the business. Jake hadn’t resented it, because even though he liked the restaurant and helped out after school while he was growing up, he was the “different” one in the family. The dreamer, the one with a surprising head for numbers and a flair for making money. Even while working at the restaurant, he’d also had a paper route, and he’d tracked every penny he made as though it were gold. By the time he was twelve, he was helping his mother balance the books for the restaurant. By fifteen, he was doing the family taxes. At eighteen, he’d left for UCLA, and his family had been proud of his bachelor’s degree in math and his master’s in education. He’d gotten a job teaching at an exclusive private prep school in Southern California, and he was working on his doctorate. He had a full life with friends and acceptance.
Then the world had come crashing down, when a devastated Lexy called to tell him there had been an accident. Jake had flown back to Texas at once, where he helped to support Lexy and his parents as the doctors tried to put Josh back together again. But they hadn’t succeeded, and Jake’s father, who was approaching his seventieth birthday, had been devastated. Jason Parnell had had a heart attack five years before, necessitating his retirement, which left Jake as the only one to run the restaurant. He couldn’t walk away, not when Josh’s life insurance hadn’t been sufficient to support Lexy and the kids. His parents were comfortably well off, but with his father on Social Security and his mother only a year from a school-system retirement, there was no way the older Parnells could manage alone. Lexy’s folks were no better off. They lived sixty miles away, while the various aunts, uncles, and cousins of their extended families had their own problems to deal with. Jake was the only one free to help out. He’d adored his brother, and he loved Lexy and the kids, so he’d put his life on hold and taken over the restaurant.
So here he was, back after ten years. He still felt like he didn’t fit in Buffalo Lick, although not because he was “too big” for it. But he’d known from his early teens that a rural Texas town, full of men who relived the glory days of playing high school football and prided themselves on their manliness, was not a good place for a gay man.
That was the real difference between him and his brother and everyone—well, almost everyone—else in the town. Jake had grown up hiding who and what he was because he didn’t have the courage to take the abuse he knew he’d get about his sexuality. As much as he loved his family, Buffalo Lick had been a prison he’d longed to escape, hoping to find a place where he could find someone to love the way Josh had loved Lexy. California had seemed like the Promised Land, and if he hadn’t found love there, at least he’d found acceptance, and he’d never given up hope of finding someone to share his life with.
A glance at the clock showed him it was eleven thirty. He’d been in since six that morning, and he was tired in both body and spirit. Even though a morning cook handled breakfast, he had books to balance, orders to place, and a variety of other chores to handle. Not to mention that the busiest time of the year was fast approaching. Soon the Buffalo Lick Festival would draw thousands of visitors for the annual rodeo and celebration of the town’s place along the famous Chisholm Trail.
He also had a mountain of correspondence he still had to get through—agreements Josh had made to cater events, and even something about a television show that wanted to film at the restaurant. Jake was still sorting through everything and managing as best he could, but Josh had died less than a month ago. Sometimes Jake still wondered if it was all a bad dream, but when the alarm went off every morning and he opened his eyes to find himself in the same bedroom where he’d spent his childhood, he knew it was all too real. California and thoughts of finding his soul mate had been the dream. Reality was Buffalo Lick, Texas, and the family who needed him.

Book Info:

 

striking-sparks1Striking Sparks: by Ari McKay
Release Date: December 15, 2016
Pages: 214 • Format: eBook
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonAReBarnes & Noble

Blurb
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.

Author Bio:

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

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.

Website:http://arimckay.wordpress.com/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ari.mckay.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay

***Giveaway***

Comment below on which book has been your favorite miscommunication trope!!! Giveaway is eligible until 12/21/16 12 pm CST.

Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

clRomancing the Wrong Twin: by Clare London
Series: Dreamspun Desires
Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Pages: 256 • Format: eARC
Published By:Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

How tangled can a romantic web get?

When gruff mountaineer Dominic Hartington-George seeks sponsorship for his latest expedition, his London PA insists on a more media-friendly profile—like dating celebrity supermodel Zeb Z.

Zeb can’t make the date, so he asks his identical twin, Aidan, to stand in for just one evening. Aidan, a struggling playwright, shuns the limelight to the extent people don’t even know Zeb has a sibling, but he reluctantly agrees.

When the deception has to continue beyond the first date, Aidan fights to keep up the pretense. Dominic likes his sassy, intelligent companion, and Aidan starts falling for the forthright explorer. But how long can Aidan’s conscience cope as confusion abounds? Will coming clean as “the other twin” destroy the trust they’ve built?

four-half-stars


**ZOMG** This is my gush face!

I loved every second of this sugary fluff. Loved the age-gap, the fieriness, fluff, and the British Boys.

I’m almost certain that this is my first Clare London book, I will definitely be reading more from her. This Dreamspun Desires series seems to be going one of two ways for me. Either I dislike them or love them. Ha, this is a good one. I do okay with fake relationship aspect. I think the author did a fabulous job on making the twins as nigh and day as she could. I mean they were two completely different people but I loved Zeb & Aidan as equally good. Maybe Aidan a little bit more since he brought out this side of Dominic that no one wasn’t able to see. I love the dry humor in this story. I also like that they both had two difference of opinions a lot of times. For all of Dominic’s abrasiveness he surely opened up and fell in love unapologetically with Aidan. Even Aidan becoming his brother who is famous and completely different then Aidan was a prize to see. I loved Aidan’s vulnerability at times, and loved how when the same feelings were reciprocated within Dominic he did everything he could to pick Dominic’s spirit up.

Dominic!! You big grouchy bear. He’s a commitmentphobe who lives life on the edge or on adrenaline. Dominic is a man of few words, and with the look of my favorite face. The RBF (Resting Bitch Face)!! He is a mountaineer and he won’t be anything else. It’s his passion and every man in his family is the same. He comes from a legacy of excellence where he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. Only one teeny tiny problem. His ass is broke. No money for excursions, so he sucks it up and tries to get sponsors. HA!!!! I loved his initial reaction to having a sponsor. I loved the relationship he has between his self and his PA’s. He literally seemed like the Grinch most of the book. Here’s where the author excelled for me. I like that he has these feelings and recognized what they were. He didn’t immediately push Aidan away for fear of rejection. Sure he never talked about it, but I think for H-G just being able to converse with someone else was enough for him to fall in love. That’s the message I atleast got from it. I don’t think he was so hung up on Aidan’s looks more as being able to be himself with Aidan.

Aidan was great as well. Talk about taking the bull by the horns and going for it. When Zeb brought him this proposition sure he was scared but the excelled at the subterfuge of it all. I can see where he was falling for H-G and having the hardship of lying to him as well. Yes, he lied about who he was. You get that in the blurb, it shouldn’t be a surprised. I really enjoyed seeing him with his friends. Titus is the best ever!! He had my favorite line out the entire story. I loved seeing them together. I’m a huge sucker for age-gap and this one worked perfectly to me. I wouldn’t mind seeing these two in the future or revisiting this world some time.

This is a high recommend for me. It was just a good reading day I presume. It’s low-angst, heavy on the attraction, witty, and really good. I definitely enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more by this author!

About Clare London

Hi, I’m Clare London, a published author of gay romantic fiction, often erotic, usually contemporary, but sometimes in other worlds entirely. I publish with several publishers, in print and ebook, and I also offer free fiction on my website www.clarelondon.com. Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

jzfSuddenly Yours: by Jacob Z. Flores
Series: One Fine Day #2
Release Date: October 15, 2016
Pages: 244 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.

Cody Hayes is having one epic morning-after. The hangover following a Vegas bachelor party is nothing new to him, and neither is the naked man in his bed.

His apparent marriage is a different story.

Carefully plotting every detail of his life carried Julian Canales to a Senate seat as an openly gay man. A drunken night of Truth or Dare isn’t like him… and neither is marrying a man he just met. He’d get an annulment, but the media has gotten wind of his hasty nuptials. If Julian’s political career is going to survive, he has to stay married to a man who’s his opposite in every way.

Now he must convince Cody that all they need to do is survive a conservative political rival, a heartbroken ex, their painful pasts… and an attraction neither man can fight.

 

four-stars

 

 

Aww, this was like ooey gooey sugary sweetness!! I gobbled up every stinking minute of it!

I think I’m slowly but surely getting sucked into these Dreamspun Desires series. A few have been creamy crack fluff for me. But that’s the way they should be, and others have been meh. This was really good from beginning to end. I enjoyed Jacob Z. Flores writing. I loved Cody & Julian a lot. I think they meshed well together and I found myself snickering and laughing out loud a couple of times. I needed these feelings, I am coming off some morose reads lately and this sweetness dump is just what the doctor ordered.

“I think Bruce has suffered enough torment for today.”
“No, not that. I was talking about — wait. Bruce Boner? That’s really what you call it?”
“Only when he’s sleeping,” he whispered. “But when he’s awake, he grows four times his size and becomes the Incredible Bulk.”

I love the notion behind drunk people getting married in Vegas. It’s an American past time folks. This is the second good story I’ve read about it, the first being Leta Blake’s Will & Patrick: Wake up Married, if you haven’t read it get on it folks. I like how Flores started on the initial aftermath of said notion and started from the beginning. Cody is a joyous character. I like that he seemed so free, open, and kind. I like that he had a sense of humor, and really was a bit of sunshine in this situation. I bet Julian didn’t think of this happening while on the job. Throw in the added bonus of him being a Senator and we got problems Houston. I loved that Cody got Julian to open up. Julian was like two different people in this book. He was always on, and being with Cody made him this special person again and not the robot that the world sees.

I laughed a lot, and that’s something I enjoy when reading. Flores did a good job with this book, and it makes me want to go back and read One Fine Day #1!! I loved that movie, so incorporating that into a series title was such a good idea. I could totally see something like this happening any day. If you are looking for a steamy, fluffy book with humorous intents, and smexy times then I recommend this. Looking forward to more from this series and author!

About Jacob Z. Flores

Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.

Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his daughter. They both represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.