Review: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

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.
 






Can we just have a moment of silence to admire the suit porn gracing the cover of this thing?




The blurb pretty much tells you all you need to know about the story, though this is certainly a sweeter version of the classic movie. Arthur is nowhere near as stern a taskmaster as Professor Higgins and Joe seems to get the hang of things much faster than Eliza ever did but other than that the story is the same. Minus all the singing. *sad face* But with some nice dancing scenes. 

My Fair Lady being one of my favorite movies made this hard to resist and I'm glad I didn't because this was a lighthearted and entertaining introduction to Bonnie Dee. The narrative flowed easily and I liked both of these characters. They're both charming in their own ways, but if you're looking for a whole lot of substance or depth this probably isn't the read for you.

Dee built some tension between them before the sexy times began but not a huge amount. I wouldn't categorize The Masterpiece as being sex heavy if that's a turn off for you, but they do have chemistry. Since it was told from both of their perspectives the desire they have for each other is clear to see. I liked that even though Arthur's trying to teach Joe how to pass as a peer he still enjoys Joe's cockney accent and his levelheadedness; he likes Joe for Joe. For Joe's part, he believes Arthur is selling himself short in regards to his capabilities and isn't afraid to tell him so on a regular basis, so they compliment each other well despite the class disparity.

There isn't a whole lot of conflict or angst. It's just a sweet little treat of a story about a fancy toff and a lowly shoeshiner falling in love. 





A review copy was provided.



Audiobook Review: Chosen Pride (L'Ange #3) by Mary Calmes

Jon Slade finally met his mate, but instead of it being the happiest day of his life, it became the saddest when wolf shifter Kelvin MacCurdy chose his obligations over their fated bond, leaving Jon to pick up the pieces of his shattered dreams. Lucky for him, Roman Howell, his boss and the owner of L’Ange, saw promise in the forlorn lion and put him to work so he wouldn’t have time to sit around and lick his wounds while he waited for his wounded spirit to heal.

Then the wolves make an official visit to L’Ange, and Jon finds out Kelvin’s pining for him is taking its toll on his position as the king’s champion. Though Kelvin’s training and the expectations of others steer him toward an intended mate, Jon has an unbreakable hold on his heart, and it’s no longer possible for Kelvin to keep himself from where he truly belongs.

But the conclave brings more than Kelvin to the ch√Ęteau. It also brings a challenge to jackal alpha Quade Danas, a threat that Quade and Roman, Arman and Linus, and Jon and Kelvin may have to fight in order to keep L’Ange’s family intact. Jon never wanted to lead a pride, but the loyalty and devotion to one is ingrained in him. Kelvin was raised to punish anyone who questioned his king, but the calling to protect others runs through his veins just as deeply. To come out on the other side of the battle together, Jon and Kelvin will have to hold the darkness of solitary pride and broken hearts at bay—and find strength in belonging to something bigger than themselves.

Listening Length: 8 hours and 13 minutes
Narrator: Tristan James


When Jon Slade’s fated mate rejected him, he tried to put any thoughts of love behind him and focus on his work at L’Ange. But his plan is disturbed when a visiting delegation of wolves includes Kelvin MacCurdy.

Kelvin finds it difficult to continue denying Jon. But for him and Jon to be happy, they must overcome Kelvin’s obligations to his king.

I’ve listened to a number of audiobooks by Tristan James, and he blows me away every single time. ‘Chosen Pride’ was no different. The narrator does an excellent job with character voices, pacing, and mood setting. I had no trouble immersing myself in the world of L’Ange.

I went into this book not very fond of Kelvin, given the way he callously rejected Jon at the end of book 2. But, as Kelvin’s story was slowly revealed, the reasons for his actions made sense.

Though Kelvin at first seemed cold, he’s really a big old softie with a heart of gold.

It would be hard not to feel for Jon. He’s a lonely man, and he pines for the mate he can’t have.

When the two are reunited, they find it difficult to keep their feelings, and their hands, in check. In the midst of a volatile situation, Kelvin finally cracks and gives in to the mate he was forced to reject.

Once Kelvin finally got his head out of his ass, he and Jon wasted no time in going for what they both wanted. These two were hot.

The emotional relationship between the two relies heavily on their fated bond. It’s a bit insta-lovey, but I was willing to accept that. It’s a common trope in shifter books, after all.

But even with the quick jump to love, there’s no denying that Jon and Kelvin fit together. Both men had spent much of their lives alone, and found in each other happiness and home.

There’s a large amount of plot in this book, revolving around Kelvin’s pack. I wasn’t a fan of book 2 because I thought there was too much going on, and everything was OTT. While a lot happens in ‘Chosen Pride’ as well, it was entertaining, instead of chaotic.

Calmes’ shifter reads tend to be gritty and bloody. This book is no different. The plot was gripping, with Jon and Kelvin having to work hard to get their HEA, and a happy ending for others at L’Ange.

Overall, I really liked ‘Chosen Pride’. The romance is sweet and sexy, and the plot kept me hooked. The audiobook was excellent.




Release Blitz + Giveaway: Cultivating Love by Addison Albright


Welcome Addison Albright to the blog! She and Signal Boost Promotions are here today to celebrate the re-release of Cultivating Love! Check out today's excerpt and enter in the giveaway to win your very own paperback copy of Cultivating Love from JMS Books!




Buy Links: JMS | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iTunes | KOBO 

Length: 40,472 words

Publisher: JMS Books


Cover: Written Ink Designs

Blurb

A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.


It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?


This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.


Excerpt

Ed ended the call and set down his phone. He tapped his pencil on the table and swallowed as he reread his notes. It was all arranged. He would meet the lawyer in Mayfield early tomorrow morning, sign a bunch of papers, and get the keys. After that, he and Joe would be pretty much on their own to figure it all out. Keep it, sell it, the lawyer didn’t care; it would be out of his hands. 


He smiled. Apparently, his earlier worries had all been for nothing. Joe was willing to give up city life—such as it was in Omaha—with all its inherent activities, to move to the boonies with him. That had to mean something, didn’t it?


He’d spent too much time simply staring at the lawyer’s cover letter, trembling with a fear he couldn’t quite place, until it had hit him like a runaway freight train. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal to sell the farm and invest the money. Or he could have hired some help while learning the ropes. But the idea of losing Joe had panicked him. He’d never spent time thinking about it before—had taken Joe for granted—but he’d do or give up anything to stay with the man.


The water turned off in the shower. He stood and walked toward the bedroom to strip for his own shower. He kicked off his work shoes and peeled off his greasy coveralls, then ambled into the bathroom.


Joe had already dried off and was combing his short summer-blond hair. Ed’s breath caught in his throat as he watched the flex of Joe’s back muscles. Back, ass, hamstrings, arms—hell—all of him. The potent effect of Joe’s nakedness on his libido never ceased to amaze him.


Ed picked up the nail brush and casually turned on the water at the sink. “Don’t bother getting dressed.”


Joe hooted. His hazel eyes gleamed at Ed in the mirror. “Not a problem. It’s my turn, by the way.”


“Is not.” Ed loaded the brush with grease-removing hand soap and started scrubbing. He yelped when Joe slapped his ass, and attempted a scowl—though it better resembled a leer— at Joe’s self-assured grin reflecting back at him.


“Is too.”


“You have to fix dinner then.” Ed’s stab at a hardline mien wasn’t any more successful than his glower.


Joe snickered again, turning away. “Whatever” came from over his shoulder as he walked toward their bedroom.


Ed smiled as he finished scrubbing his nails. He hurried through his shower and dried off to the beat of the Rolling Stones reverberating from the living room.


Author Bio


Addison Albright lives in the middle of the USA with two peculiar cats. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance, and tend to be sweet man-love in contemporary settings. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, French fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.


eMail: addison.albright@gmail.com

Website/Blog: https://authoraddisonalbright.com

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Review: The Palisade (Lavender Shores #1) by Rosalind Abel

Confident businessman Joel Rhodes sees the small California town of Lavender Shores as nothing more than a business opportunity and a final stepping stone to the position he’s been working toward his entire life. It was supposed to be just one night in town to close the deal, and sleeping with one of the local men, no matter how gorgeous, meant nothing more than a few hours of fun.
Andrew Kelly is perfectly content with the life he has in his hometown. So much so that the only thing missing is someone to share it with. Going to bed with a tourist was never meant to be the answer to his dreams, just a beautiful distraction. He could get back to looking for Mr. Right the next day.
Both Andrew’s and Joel’s worlds are turned upside down when a few hours of pleasure get extended to a couple of days. Even that shouldn’t have been a big deal. You can’t fall in love in that amount of time. That isn’t how it works. However, if destinies collide, a few short days may be all it takes to find your soul mate. Even so, when secrets and motivations get tangled, fate may do nothing more than leave two hearts in pieces.








Boy howdy, did I love this book! 

This shouldn’t have worked for me.  One of the things I dislike the most in stories is a lack of communication; followed closely by secret keeping.  Both of these breed mistrust and could easily be avoided if the morons would just talk to each other.  This story has more of the keeping secrets issue than the lack of communication, so it shouldn’t have worked.  Like, at all.  But it did. On so many levels.

Joel has come to Lavender Shores at the behest of his millionaire father to secure a location for their new flagship coffee shop.  It doesn’t matter if the laws in this sleepy town by the sea prohibit anyone from opening a chain of any kind, nor does it matter if they only allow one of each type of business to be open at a time.  His father wants it so he’s going to get it, even if it means throwing his son in front of the firing line.

Andrew was born in Lavender Shores and has no intention or desire to ever leave.  He loves his quaint, odd-ball little town.  He couldn’t picture himself living anywhere else.  It may have caused him some serious heartache throughout the years as every guy he’s dated eventually left but it’s worth it to him to wake up every morning in what he feels is the best place in the world to live.  His dream of white picket fences, two dogs and three kids seems to get farther and farther away as the years go by but he hasn’t given up on it yet.  He knows he’ll have his dream someday, but while he’s waiting for Mr. Everything to show up he’s gonna have some fun.  And it looks like Mr. Fun just showed up.


He was going to taste me.  Lick me.  Bite me.  Devour me.



Lordy, is it getting hot in here? 

Man, y’all, this book is soooo romantic!  Completely swoon worthy.  What starts out as an incendiary eye-fuck across the room and a burn-the-hotel-to-the-ground one night stand swiftly progresses to one of the most romantically romantic romances I’ve read in a while.  I tell you, I had hearts in my eyes and was in danger of falling out of my chair in a swoon to rival any Southern belle.  Here, let me give you a little taste of what it feels like to have your heart burst from an overflowing of emotion:


[…]he looked into my eyes, and I saw the forever.  Past the heat and lust, I saw forever.  Saw our lives in this little house.  Saw three kids.  Two dogs.  Saw laughter, fights, and love-making.  Saw our hands clasped as our skin aged.

I saw his declaration of love in his green eyes as clearly as my heart shouted it from my chest. 








The writing in this book is superb.  It’s been a while since I was sucked into a book so far that I couldn’t tell where their lives ended and mine began.  The outpouring of emotions, from love, laughter, anger, despair had my heart so full that it leaked out of my eyes.  I cried a lot during this book.  I cried happy tears, I cried angry tears and I cried tears just because my body didn’t know how else to deal with all of the feelings I was having.  It was just so… so… charming!  It charmed the pants right off me.

I’m so glad I took a chance on this book.  To think, if I had passed this up I would’ve missed out on Andrew’s sweet innocence, on watching Joel’s whole world light up over a simple baseball card, on meeting Andrew’s family – especially his dad.  Andrew’s dad is in a class of his own.  You gotta meet him, people!  You’ll be sorry if you don’t, I can promise you that.  I’m also squee-worthy excited that there are more books to come in this amazing series.  I cannot wait to read the next book.  Cannot. Wait.

So, if you haven’t guessed by now from my review, I highly, highly highly recommend this book to all you romance lovers out there.  This one’s for the history books, my friends. 

Gah!

Love this book!






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35222415-the-palisade