Pippa Reviews: Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London


Title: Romancing the Ugly Duckling
Author: Clare London
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 260
Characters: Perry and Greg
POV: Third person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.
Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Review:

This book hits all my romance feels in a huge way. I do love MM takes on fairy tales, and Romancing the Ugly Duckling is no exception.

Like all good fairy tales this one has heroes and villains, Prince Charming(s) and a hero dog. All good fairy tales have a hero dog. I wanted to hug Greg for his horrid childhood and hug Perry, well, I just wanted to hug Perry. I loathe reality TV with a passion so I really felt for Greg resisting the attempt to be molded into the antithesis of himself.

The small Scottish island setting was perfect and I loved the locals. I appreciate the fact the author didn’t resort to stereotypes. There were business brains among the knitters.

If I had one minor quibble, I would have liked to have seen Perry making friends with the villagers rather than after the fact. But it didn’t matter too much. This was about Perry showing Greg in the most wonderful way that he wasn’t an Ugly Duckling at all.

Clare London has written a story with humour and pathos, there was tension, angst, and tender loving. If you need an antidote to today’s uncertain world Romancing the Ugly Duckling is it.

Reviewed By: Pippa Wood

Click Here to enter the Dreamspinner Press Website

Gabbi Reviews: Slow Heat by Leta Blake


Title: Slow Heat
Author: Leta Blake
Publisher: Leta Blake Books
Pages: 350
Characters: Jason Sabel, Vale Aman
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Series, Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he’s long since given up hope that he’ll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He’s fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can’t be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha–as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn’t sure it’s worth it. But Jason isn’t giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This is a stand alone gay romance novel, 118,000 words, with a strong happy ending, as well as a well-crafted, non-shifter omegaverse, with alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. Content warning for pregnancy loss and aftermath

Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book. I admit the blurb peaked my interest, so I was anxious to read it. I’ve read many shifter romances so I expected for this story to be good, but what I wasn’t expecting was how fascinating and addictive this story became for me. Between the fresh story-line and the captivating heroes, Slow Heat has easily become one of my all-time favorite paranormal/shifter reads.

Ms. Blake created an alluring world of tantalizing characters with an intriguing backstory and a well-thought out society these heroes live in. I found myself really wrapped up into the traditions and expectations these characters lived by and quickly became invested into their fascinating lives.

As you know, I’m a big fan of May/December romances. I’ve read many, and some are better than others. In Slow Heat, Ms. Blake really tackles this head on without sugarcoating any issues this couple has AND will possible have in the future. As a reader, I appreciated this very much. Both Jason and Vale and the secondary characters really give their age gap a lot of thought and consideration. What I liked about it was they are able to forge through this head on and become a stronger couple because of it.

Both Jason and Vale are well-written characters. In actuality, ALL of the characters in this story really bring something special to the story itself. They are easy to care for and become invested into their lives.

Throughout the story both Jason and Vale do a lot of self-growth and evolve as people. Jason truly becomes a man and Vale learns that change can be a very good thing. I loved how these two men really became the most important part in each others’ lives and I adored how they learn to communicate, respect and truly love AND like one another.

All in all, Slow Heat is an addictive read that left this reader wanting more! I cannot wait to see what happens next in series! As far as I’m concerned, Ms. Blake can’t write it fast enough! If you are craving a well-written romance filled with a fascinating story-line, then Slow Heat is definitely a book not to be missed.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Slow Heat by Leta Blake

Gabbi Reviews: The Bounty Hunters, Book 3: Promises, Part 3 by AE Via


Title: Bounty Hunters, Book 3: Promises, Part 3
Author: A.E. Via
Publisher: Via Star Wings Books
Pages: 260
Characters: Ford *Bradford* King, Dana Cadby
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA. (less)

Review:

Promises, Part 3 is an action-packed story full of heated glances and sexy heroes with a hot and provocative romance that left this reader craving for more! I absolutely loved every moment I spent reading this book and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

First, a word of warning…DO NOT start reading this book unless you allow yourself plenty of time to read the entire story without stopping. Promises, Part 3 is a very addictive and fast paced read and it is so easy to become engrossed into these characters lives and the story they have to tell. Once you start it, time begins to fly and before you know it hours have passed and the story has come to an end.

I totally fell in love with these two heroes. Both Ford and Dana are well-written, compelling heroes that live and breathe off of the written page. The chemistry between these two heroes steamed up my computer screen. I found myself turning on the fan to cool off. It’s easy to see how much they belong together. I liked how these two men fit so well together. Not only are they working partners, the heated attraction they have for one another really resonated with me as a reader. As the dance around their feelings and physical desire, I found myself really becoming invested into their relationship.

Dana is a genuinely nice guy. He has fallen for Ford long ago, but since Ford doesn’t seem to reciprocate his feelings, Dana tries to find solace with his on again/off again girlfriend. *I think it should be noted that Dana is bisexual* Though his attraction to Ford is a strong one, he’s mostly dated women in the past. As Dana struggles with his attraction and feeling toward Ford he soon discovers that there is more to the gruff and alpha-y Ford than meets the eye.

Ford was a harder sell for me. At first, I thought he was…well…an asshole. He’s got this gruff exterior and controlling personality that made grit my teeth at times, BUT as the story progressed and Ford’s icy exterior began to melt, I soon began to see the caring and even vulnerable man he is inside. I understood why Dana fell for him and Ford quickly became a wonderfully flawed and sexy hero that I totally fell for. *Dana truly is a lucky man*

Ford and Dana’s romance is a slow burn. As the story continues and they dance around their feelings and attraction for each other, the flame between them soon flares up and before you know it, the slow burn turns into a raging fire. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the story they had to tell and I truly hated to see it come to an end.

If you like military men…read this book. If you like alpha men…read this book. If you love a sexy romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat…read this book. It is such an easy book to recommend and I know I’ll be re-reading it soon.

Promises, Part 3 is the third book in the Bounty Hunters series. I somehow have missed reading the first two books in the series *Believe me I will rectify that very soon* and though I came into reading this story blind without any knowledge of how the other two books are, I had NO problem reading this book as a stand-alone. I can’t wait to read Brian *Ford’s brother* and Sway’s story!!! OMG…I hope we don’t have long to wait!

Highly Recommended!!

The Bounty Hunter series in book order:

Promises, Part 1
Promises, Part 2
Promises, Part 3

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Promises, Part 3 by AE Via

Gabbi Reviews: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee


Title: The Masterpiece
Author: Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 142
Characters: Arthur Lawton, Joe Sprat
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Historical Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman.

Man about town Arthur Lawton spends his days pursuing entertainment while shoeshine Joe Sprat labors to better his family’s lives. When an argument about nature versus nurture sparks a wager, Arthur swears to a friend he can turn this working man into a gentleman who will pass at a society function.

Joe is happy to participate in the experiment for a fee but receives more than he bargained for after moving into Lawton’s house. Arthur is determined Joe won’t merely wear a veneer of sophistication but educates him in every way. As he creates his new and improved man, Arthur grows more deeply infatuated with him, while Joe falls equally hard for his charismatic mentor.

Underneath a growing friendship, desire simmers and one day explodes. After their relationship escalates, the pair exists in a dream bubble until the threat of exposure sharply reminds them they belong in different worlds. When the ball is over, each must resume his own life, changed by their encounter but destined for different courses.

Find out if love is strong enough to bridge the gap between peer and pauper in this twist on the tale of My Fair Lady.

Review:

The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee is a brilliantly written romance set in 1909 London. Not only was I immediately swept up into the lives of these characters, the historic setting was almost as captivating.
The blurb describes the story so well, there is really no reason for me to rehash it. Instead, I thought I’d write the reasons why I loved this story and why it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. Not only was it a beautifully told romance, I became addicted to these two heroes. Coming from two totally different lives and circumstances, they shouldn’t have fit together so perfectly…but they did.

There is an honest emotional connection between them. It was easy to see how much they came to like, respect and admire one another. I loved the friendship they developed and enjoyed the camaraderie and easy banter they shared together as their story progressed. When they do give into the heated attraction they have for one another, it is a natural and beautiful step in their relationship.

Actually, heated attraction is an understatement. WHEW! The sizzling chemistry they shared steamed up my computer screen! After a scene or two, I found myself needing to turn on the fan to cool off! *Fans Self*

There isn’t anything I didn’t love about this story and the two heroes. They will live with me long after I write this review and I know I will have to read this book again, just to have my Joe and Arthur fix. In my opinion, Bonnie Dee is one of the best gay historical romance authors out there, and her books are not to be missed. I’ve loved each and every one of them and I can’t wait to read more stories written by her in the future.

If you love historical romance…read this book. If you love sexy heroes that are so well-written they live off of the written page…read this book. If you are craving a fast-paced romance that will live with you long after you finish reading it…read this book.

I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to buy The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Gabbi Reviews: Step by Step by KC Wells


Title: Step by Step
Author: KC Wells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 256
Characters: Jamie and Guy
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Review:

Step by Step by KC Wells is a beautifully written story with two incredible characters that will live within your heart long after the story is finished. This story will be a true delight for anyone who craves an exquisitely written romance. I simply adored these characters and was enthralled by the story they had to tell.

In life, almost all of us need a helping hand. When we meet Jamie, he is literally at the end of his rope. He is almost homeless and in desperate need of guidance and a lot of compassion. When an older man, Guy, approaches him and is willing to help him out with NO strings attached, Jamie cannot believe his good luck and at first is doubtful about Guy’s compassionate nature and willingness to open up his home and his life to him.

Having no other choice, Jamie takes a chance and decides to give Guy the benefit of the doubt and he swallows his pride to allow himself to be helped. Neither man knows that this decision will change the course of their lives forever.

What starts as a tentative friendship develops into a rich and thriving relationship between two people who truly like, love and respect one another. I loved every minute I spent reading this book and I truly hated to see it come to an end.

It’s not that often that I’ll read something and immediately want to reread it as soon as I finish it, but Step by Step is one of those books. KC Wells is a master at writing bewitching, romantic stories with characters that live and breathe off of the written page. After reading this book, I am a fan of hers for life. I loved this book and cannot recommend it high enough.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Website