Review: Brand New Flavor by E.M. Lynley

Brand NewTitle & Author: Brand New Flavour by E.M. Lynley
Series: Delectable (#1)
Release Date: November 21, 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 105

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

When artisan ice cream maker Jericho Brown first meets food writer Cameron Clay at a charity tasting event, they get along like strawberries and chocolate sauce. Jay’s unique flavors thrill more than Cameron’s jaded palate, but after a delicious encounter in Jay’s delivery truck, where extra-creamy frozen treats are not the only delights sampled, Cameron loses Jay’s contact info—and any hope of a real date.

Desperate, Cameron convinces his editor to host an artisanal ice cream contest in hopes of drawing out the elusive genius. But more complications threaten to intervene. Will Jay even enter the contest? Or will the chance of a happily ever after melt away?

My Thoughts:

Ironically, there’s nothing brand new about Brand New Flavor by E.M. Lynley. This story is a former Supernatural AU fan fiction; the author has simply changed the names of the main characters, given the story a quick edit, put it on Amazon, and decided to charge you $4.00 for it (you can read the FREE version here: http://www.gaiaonline.com/guilds/view…).

Now, I have nothing against well-written fanfic – anyone who knows me knows that I love me some Sterek! – but this story just didn’t do it for me. At all.

Spoiler alert: Jay and Cam meet and bang in the back of an ice cream truck in the first 5 pages of the book. Unfortunately, the scene was too abrupt for me to enjoy – I didn’t know enough about the characters yet to be emotionally invested in them, and the sex wasn’t nearly hot enough for me to just let go and enjoy the smut. The whole thing fell flat and left me thinking about health code violations and how sticky both parties were going to be in the aftermath (neither of which was the author’s intention, I’m sure). Following the wham, bam, thank you ma’am action, our fearless MCs part ways. They spend the next 80% of the story caught up in their own heads due to former relationship baggage AND as victims of not one but THREE overly dastardly and vengeful secondary characters.

[insert aggressive eye roll here]

And then, at 85%, Jay and Cam are reunited and it feels so goodI couldn’t care less. The two men see each other across a crowded room. Cam smiles stupidly. Jay laughs stupidly. And then they both escape back to Cam’s place to bone.

…and I was bored out of my skull and just waiting for it all to be over.

Personally, I found this story to be an I-did-not-like-it/1-star-worthy novella. However, I can appreciate that even though I felt like I was reading the script for a bad Meg Ryan movie, the story was well written and well edited, which earned it a second star.

Delectable? Sorry, try barely palatable. I just can’t recommend this one to friends or discerning readers.

My Rating:

2 Smooch

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Speed Dating Bibliophile Style: March (Catherine)

I Heart Books

(Probably more than is healthy.)

Last month I read a couple of books. Then I put my sassy pants on and wrote a single sentence book review* for each of them. It was kinda like the fast-food version of book blogging, but it worked out so well that I thought I’d do it again in March.

Only this time… I refuse to wear pants. Betcha didn’t see that coming, did ya?!

1. Unbreak My Heart (Unbreak My Heart #1) by K-Lee Klein: A quietly beautiful story about a drifter who falls in love with a brokenhearted cowboy musician in a way that feels both authentic and inevitable.  [4 smooches]

2. Floodgates by Mary Calmes: A fluffy popcorn read that was let down by a doormat of a main character, too many ludicrous plot points and improbable red-herrings, and an entire gaggle of extraneous characters. [2.5 smooches]

3. Charlie, Rentboy by J.P. Barnaby: A sexy short story that grabbed my attention with its narrative style and the Cockboys on the cover, but had a happy ending (get your minds out of the gutter!) that felt… hopeful.  [3 smooches]

4. Secrets, Skin and Leather (Secret Series #1) by Sean Michael: All porn and no plot, this book had little to no character development, repetitive dialogue, clunky narration, and inexcusably bad punctuation. [1 smooch – DNF’d at 33%]

5. Trouble & the Wallflower by Kade Boehme: With its three-dimensional characters, realistic depiction of a sweet but sometimes rocky opposites-attract relationship, and a bittersweet ending, this book by new-to-me author Kade Boehme far exceeded every expectation I had for it. [4.5 smooches]

6. All in a Duke (Gambling on Love #1) by Ava March: This M/M historical romance was the perfect balance between sweet and sexy, with great characters and a realistic struggle towards their happily ever after. [4 smooches]

7. Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek by R. Cooper: While the characters in this short story are familiar, Cooper makes them enough against type to feel fresh and interesting, their dialogue both snappy and mundane, and their HEA satisfying in its realistic work-in-progress nature. [3.5 smooches]

8. The Perfect Play (Play by Play #1) by Jaci Burton: I really tried to enjoy this contemporary M/F romance, but even though there’s no denying the steam level of those sex scenes, having two main characters who were nearly flawless bored me to tears. [2 smooches – DNF’d at 60%]

9. Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux: The eighth installment of Roux’s fantastic Cut & Run series, this book disappointed me with its beyond ludicrous plot and its startling lack of focus on the series’ main characters Ty and Zane, but gained ground in some other areas (e.g. the relationship between Ty and Nick and between Nick and Kelly) and provided a few solidly sweet/cute/funny moments to appease my mushy heart. [2.5 smooches]

10. Stripping the Pain by Kathleen Lee: A friends-to-lovers short story that deals with too many big-ticket issues (sexual abuse, BDSM, etc.) in too short a time-frame (which makes it seem a little exploitative). [3 smooches]

11. From the Ashes (Fire and Rain #1) by Daisy Harris: A great novel by a new-to-me author that gave me a main character (Tomas Perez) whose voice felt fresh and unexpected, yet entirely relatable. [3.5 smooches]

12. After the Rain (Fire and Rain #2) by Daisy Harris: One of the main characters is a firefighting cowboy, gay sex virgin, who saves puppies, and the other is a snarky French-Canadian obsessed with coffee; my ovaries never stood a chance. [3 smooches]

13. Keeping Sweets by Cate Ashwood: A solidly sweet but entirely predictable story about a wannabe porn star who falls in love with his porn Yoda (like Amy Lane’s Johnnies series but with very minimal angst). [3 smooches]

14. Doctor, Doctor (Groves Anatomy #1) by Scarlet Cox: This short story is pure fantasy that reads like the raunchiest porn you’ve ever watched (but not in a good way). [1 smooch]

15. A Fostered Love (Foster Siblings #1) by Cameron Dane: A book about two men with troubled pasts finding a home in each other  that manages to balance the sweet, the angsty, the primal, and the thrilling. [4 smooches]

16. Snowfall (Foster Siblings #3) by Cameron Dane: A sweet, gooey (and insanely hot!) glimpse four years into Jonah and Christian’s life together that made me deliriously happy to read. [4 smooches]

17. Taboo For You by Anyta Sunday: A totally adorable GFY romance told from three rotating perspectives (the two MC’s and the one MC’s teenage son) that is equal parts sweet, frustrating, poignant, and sexy. [4 smooches]

18. His Client by Ava March: Ava March sweeps you into her stories by creating characters you’ll care about, then sprinkling liberally with smokin’ hot sex, genuine affection, and a hard-won happily ever after; His Client is no exception. [4 smooches]

19. To Feel the Sun by Marie Sexton: Eight pages of poignant perfection. [5 smooches]

20. This is What a Cold Lake Looks Like by S.A. McAuley: A 4-page story that reads like the most heartbreaking poetry. [4 smooches]

21. Slide (Roads #1) by Garrett Leigh: With its unique characters and gripping story, Garrett Leigh’s Slide will break your heart but leave you wanting more. [4 smooches]

22. Marked (Roads #1.5) by Garrett Leigh: This “missing scene” from Slide was perfect – sweet and sexy and if you read this without getting just a little turned on when Ash tattoos Pete, I’d check for a pulse. [4 smooches]

23. Coffee Shops and Condoms by Eden Winters: Effectively a PSA on safe sex, this cute friends-to-lovers story about two sexually inexperienced teenage boys is sweet but purposeful. [3 smooches]

24. Blind Faith (Blind Faith #1) by N.R. Walker: Not my favourite by this author, but Blind Faith was another sweet novella with mostly likable characters (I wanted to throttle Isaac after his last temper tantrum), a few tear-jerking moments, and a gooey happily ever after. [3.5 smooches]

25. DILF by Twentysomething: The third person present tense narrative style of this Teen Wolf / #Sterek story took a little getting used to, but the dialogue was so spot on, the characters so endearing, the humour so well-written, and the sheer cuteness factor so overwhelming that I couldn’t help but adore it. [4 smooches]

26. Normal Enough by Marie Sexton: A raunchy muscle car kink/fetish novella from the same woman who wrote the adorable twisted fairy tale, Cinder: A CinderFella Story. [3 smooches]

27. Where the World Ends by Kade Boehme: This book had strong, likable characters, palpable tension, blisteringly hot sex scenes (facial cum shots – yeah, buddy!), and a setting both familiar and alien, but I found that it lost momentum in the last third of the book and not all of the conflicts were resolved in way that I found personally satisfying. [3.5 smooches]

* I sometimes use punctuation in a shameless (and often incorrect manner) to give myself a second sentence. Don’t judge.

There you have it – my picks and pans for the month of March. Is there something you’ve read lately that I need to bump to the top of my TBR pile? Please let me know in the comments section below.