Idlewild by Jude Sierra

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.

Idlewild: by Jude Sierra
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Pages: 250 • Format: eARC
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonInterlude Press

Asher Schenck and his husband John opened their downtown gastropub at the start of Detroit’s revival. Now, five years after John’s sudden death, Asher is determined to pull off a revival of his own. In a last ditch attempt to bring Idlewild back to life, he fires everyone and hires a new staff. Among them is Tyler Heyward, a recent college graduate in need of funds to pay for medical school. Tyler is a cheery balm for Asher’s soul, and their relationship quickly shifts from business to friendship. When they fall for each other, it is not the differences of race or class that challenge their love, but the ghosts and expectations of their respective pasts. Will they remain stuck or move toward a life neither of them has allowed himself to dream about?

 

four-stars

“It happens. Love is a constant practice and it’s not always easy”.

A slow burner romance, about friendships, family, forgiveness, second chance love, vulnerability and being true to yourself.

Wow. Didn’t expect this at all.  I initially requested this book to read based off the cover. I hadn’t heard about Jude Sierra or anything, and I’m so happy that I read this book. My thoughts are all over the place seeing as I just finished reading it and wanted to get a review done immediately. The one thought that keeps repeating itself in my mind is vulnerability. I haven’t felt vulnerable from reading a book in a long time. Sierra writes so beautifully, and the best thing about this story was the complete utter focus on Asher & Tyler. It’s like standing in a whirlwind situation, but being laser focused on one specific thing. It’s how I would describe the authors complete devotion to these two.

I’m in awe on how much I love both guys. Tyler is super vulnerable in this story, but he shines so bright, and he’s so sweet that hurts when he hurts. Every description on him being able to change or adapt to someone’s else standard was like a knife in my stomach. From the very beginning, I was compelled by him. I really did like seeing all the different sides to Tyler. He is a sweet guy, and reading about him wanting things to work, or settling because he wanted to be loved just put my emotions in over drive. There were glimpse of the real Tyler. They came out when he passionate about something, and his city was something he was definitely passionate about. Another thing that I feel in love with was the author’s descriptions about Detroit. It’s like a 3rd home for me, seeing as I have family there and drive there quite often. I’ve never seen Detroit how they see it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a tourist. I see Detroit as something completely different, but reading it from their experience has left me wanting to visit this magical place. Jude has done a really great job of equating daily present events, thoughts, and feelings about this city into something magical. You don’t fall in love with just Asher & Tyler, but being in the city and witnessing from there experience makes you want to almost be there.

Asher, Asher, Asher. He’s grieving in the beginning of this story. He’s a widower at a young age, and the death of his husband is to much to handle. He’s lost focus on important things, and even letting himself go. It takes him a few years to realize that life is moving on around him, and their dream of Idlewild is slowly dying. He decides to take the bull by the horn so to speak and give life back into Idlewild. While doing that he makes himself believe that he hasn’t forgotten John, but he’s over it. This story was extremely character driven. I mean its a really good story where everything you can think of the author covers it. From every little response, reaction, feeling and the initial meeting of Tyler its there.

I didn’t like the tense it was written in at first, but after awhile I couldn’t make myself put it down. I didn’t expect so many emotions to come up while reading this. I have love for both guys, and I would have like to see more even at the end of them. I wanted to see the parents reactions and first meetings!! Argh, I feel a little cheated. Gah, Jude if you read this review, could you write a follow up novella please. I really want to see more of these two, and thank you for writing Asher & Tyler’s story. I think this story will stick with me for the rest of the year.

About Jude Sierra

Jude began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”.

As a sucker for happy endings and well written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband’s dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room.

She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive, and many that have found a home in a fanfiction community.

She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and managing a home filled with her husband, two young sons, and two cats. Her first novel, Hush, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press. What it Takes, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, is her second novel. Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus reviews and is now available.

Daniel & Erik’s Super Fab Ultimate Wedding Checklist by K.E. Belledonne

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.

Checklist_1600px_Smashwords_AmazonDaniel & Erik’s Super Fab Ultimate Wedding Checklist by K.E. Belledonne
Release Date: June 23, 2016
Pages: 188 • Format: eARC
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
Interlude AmazonARe  B&N • iBooks  Indiebound

When Daniel gets caught up in the demands of a cheeky wedding planning app, his fiancé Erik grows frustrated with his preoccupation with adhering to heterosexual traditions. Will Daniel’s groomzilla ways give them the wedding of their dreams, or ultimately lead to their relationship’s demise?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

five-stars

 

“Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is the trick.”

Amen brother!

This was my face after reading this story. I so thought I was going to get a doozy here, but it is a winner!!! This is a low angst, pretty romantic story. I’m a hopeless romantic, and wedding planning with your significant other is hectic and romantic to me. See the cover drew me in first, I love the funny play on the wedding topper. I need to invest in more of Belledonne’s work. She is great. I loved the way her writing flowed. The pacing was good, and even though it’s no sex in the story I still adored it.

Daniel didn’t know what to expect when his best friend forced him to talk to Erik. Erik was the quiet guy at the party reading a book. I loved that part. I honestly had the biggest smile on my face the entire time. The story is told in the past and present tense. We get a look at the couple’s milestones together up until the engagement and once the engagement happens. Then is when Aurora happens. LOL. I love that a wedding app is driving Daniel crazy. I WOULDN’T get once, because those damn checklist will drive people crazy.

In usual form Daniel is wedding crazed. He’s focusing all his energy on planning the wedding and getting lost in it. Reading it we can see when the disconnect or the unhappiness starts to happen. Erik would rather go to city hall. He’s in the middle of his work and planning for the his dig in Sweden. What the author does is great. I love the ability of them communicating. A scene when Erik storms out and of course Daniel assumes the worst had me in giggles. Well not giggles that would look mean. I love the realistic feeling about the story. I love that they compliment each other and I love how they are able to talk and get why each is hurt.

Let’s just say I’m happy without the outcome. Everything happened for a reason.

I won’t give the plot away, but I’m so giddy with excitement for this book. Read the book people. I loved every second of it. I am looking forward to more of her writing, and might need to check her back list out!

About K.E. Belledonne

K. E. Belledonne is a writer and translator based in the French Alps. A native New-Englander, Kat spends her time listening to Glenn Miller records, reading history books and cheering on her beloved Red Sox.

Black Dust by Lynn Charles

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.

Black Dust 900px COVER (web Tumblr)Black Dust by Lynn Charles 
Release Date: April 7, 2016
Pages: 312 • Format: eARC
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
InterludeAmazon ARe • Indiebound • Smashwords • Barnes & Noble iBooks • Book Depository

No matter how busy he keeps himself, successful Broadway musician Tobias Spence can’t outrun the memory of a tragic car crash from his past that claimed a friend’s life and permanently injured his former boyfriend, Emmett.

Even after losing Tobias, Emmett Henderson made peace with that awful night, living in his Indiana hometown where he has become a revered choral director. When his students are asked to perform in New York City, he decides to chance reconnecting with his former love, if for no other reason than to get a proper goodbye.

When Emmett and Tobias finally meet 15 years after parting ways, it is clear to both of them that their feelings for each other have not changed. As they explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?

three-half-stars

I was on the fence about asking for this book. I went back and forth about 5 times because I decided. I’d never read anything by this author but the cover kept calling for me. I’m glad it did, because I liked it. Do you ever get ragey mad when reading a book? I do all the time. I get so angry at the characters that I want to DNF a book. This book made it to my hulk rage stage. I was so angry at Tobias, and honestly I don’t know if I like him. Black Dust could have been a 5 star read for me. It lacked the emotional response to be that was needed with this second chance love trope. It was really good writing, and I enjoyed the story. But a select few emotional feelings wasn’t good enough to give it 5 stars. Certain areas of the book I could see where people would get emotional and connect with these characters. I felt like the emotional parts weren’t executed well. It’s like the cues were off for reader to book. I didn’t connect emotionally and for an emotional reader like myself it’s needed. Another thing that took away from the story was the music as a main character. I love that it’s the focal point for Emmett and Tobias. It’s where their love started and ends. It was so such a big component and for a person that isn’t musically knowledgeable it took away from the story.

“Without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”

Onto what I loved. Emmett. Emmett, and more Emmett. The man is such a good person. Gah!!! Everything about him worked for me. Here’s where second chance love stories work. Emmett who has forgiven Toby for everything including the accident and walking away was able to try. It was Emmett saying the past is the past, and I’m looking forward to the future. Everything about him as a character was what I love about reading. He is content with his life now, and yes wants Toby in it. I loved that he didn’t give up, even after Toby walked out again. I liked that he was brutal and relentless towards Toby. I love that he owned his despair in his life. He owned up to not being okay after the accident, not living his hopes and dreams. I love that he handled it. It’s not cute, easy, rainbows or sunshine. It was hard work, and he had people in his life to help him through it, but mainly he had himself. Toby has been running away from his self so long. I felt bad for him, to not have any roots down due to his grief was overshadowing everything. I’m writing this and realizing it was an emotional read for me because I was angry most of the time. I was angry at Toby for hurting Emmett, and hurting himself as well. I was angry at Tobias for walking away like that. I was angry for not giving Emmett more of himself, and mostly I was angry at him for not being able to forgive himself. I had to realize, that I can’t dictate a person’s grief. I have to realize that just because I felt like he needed to come to terms with it doesn’t mean that he needs to it. Things happen in people’s life when it’s meant to me. I enjoyed this author’s style of writing. I look forward to more from her.

About Lynn Charles

Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.