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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Spotlight & Giveaway: Roped In by Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt

Roped InTitle: Roped In
Author:
 Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt
Release Date: April 20, 2014
Publisher: Amber Allure
Length: 39,000 words

This sexy opposites-attract novella from Marie Sexton and L.A. Witt has “can’t lose” written all over it. Seriously, between the cowboys, the (light) BDSM, and the emotionally complicated love triangle, I don’t know which aspect of the book I am looking forward to most.

One thing I do know for sure: this ain’t gonna be no 8-second ride! 😉

Check out the book blurb below and then make sure to enter the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post for  a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card and 1 ebook from EACH of the authors’ backlists!

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Graham and his roping partner Jackson have ruled the rodeo scene for ten years running, but lately, Graham’s heart isn’t in the game. He’s tired of the bruises, the cowboy mentality, and the animal rights activists who picket every event. And then there’s Jackson.

Graham and Jackson have been friends since they were boys. But ever since their drunken sexual encounter the year before, things have been awkward. Graham’s accepted that he might be gay, but no matter how attracted he is to other men, he always panics and runs when the clothes start to come off.

Then Graham has a run-in with one of the rodeo protesters, and everything changes. Kaz is young, idealistic, and sexy as hell. And Kaz has an idea for getting Graham past his nerves and into bed.

All they need is a bit of rope.

About the Authors:

marieheadshot 2Marie Sexton lives in Colorado.  She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other.  In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband.  Her imaginary friends often tag along.  Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity.  She loves them anyway.

Website: http://mariesexton.net/
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/MarieSexton
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MarieSexton
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MarieSexton.author
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/msextonauthor/

LA WittL.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

GIVEAWAY

Enter (press the Rafflecopter logo) for a chance to win a  $20 Amazon Giftcard and 1 ebook from EACH of the authors’ backlists! Giveaway closes April 27, 2014 at 12:00a.m.

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Purchase it NOW from Amber Allure.

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Spotlight & Giveaway: Normal Enough by Marie Sexton

Normal Enough CoverTitle: Normal Enough
Author:
 Marie Sexton
Release Date: March 16, 2014
Publisher: Amber Allure
Length: 24,000 words

Mind. Blown.

Apparently Marie Sexton – the same author that wrote the sweet twisted fairy tale, Cinder: A CinderFella Story, that I loved so much a few weeks ago – is now writing muscle car kink.

I need it! I wants it! I gotsta have it NOW! *flails*

Check out the blurb below and then make sure to enter the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post for  a chance to win an e-copy of Normal Enough AND a $50 gift card for All-Romance!

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

When Brandon Kenner shows up at Kasey Ralston’s garage with a 1970 Chevelle SS 454, Kasey is smitten by both the man and his car. Between what Kasey considers a shameful fetish and his long estrangement from his family, Kasey finds it easiest to be alone, even distancing himself from his coworkers. But Brandon doesn’t think Kasey’s fetish is weird. In fact, he likes it.

Kasey doesn’t know how to resist a man as charming as Brandon, and he’s more than willing to be seduced. But what are Brandon’s long-term intentions? Kasey is afraid of hoping for too much, but equally afraid that when all is said and done, Brandon will leave, and Kasey will be left alone once again.

About the Author:

marieheadshot 2Marie Sexton lives in Colorado.  She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other.  In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband.  Her imaginary friends often tag along.  Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity.  She loves them anyway.

Website: http://mariesexton.net/
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/MarieSexton
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MarieSexton
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MarieSexton.author
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/msextonauthor/

GIVEAWAY

Enter (press the Rafflecopter logo) to win an ebook copy of “Normal Enough” and a$50 ARe gift certificate for some of Marie Sexton’s backlist books. Click on the link below to enter. Giveaway closes March 25, 2014 at 12:00a.m.

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Can’t wait a week to find out if you won the giveaway!?
Purchase Normal Enough NOW from Amber Allure.

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Review: Being Chase by J.J. Scotts

Being Chase CoverTitle & Author: Being Chase by J.J. Scotts
Series: Chase (#1)
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Publisher: Self-published
Pages:  unknown pages

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a celebrity?

Liam Collins is desperate for a job. Forced to jump to the big city, he can’t believe his luck when he suddenly gets an offer from a prestigious publishing company. Absolutely ecstatic, Liam doesn’t even bother reading the details. But on his first day of work, he isn’t ushered to a quaint cubicle. Instead, he’s brought to a classy high-rise and told that he’s been hired to be the face of the best-selling author, Chase Preston.

When Liam first meets Chase, he’s so captivated by the mysterious man’s imposing figure and deep-set eyes. Maybe Liam really did get lucky.

All Liam has to do is go to fan meetings and award events as a stand-in for Chase. It actually doesn’t sound bad, but Liam soon realizes that being with Chase is harder than it appears. Despite the challenges of Chase’s arrogant attitude, Liam puts up with it. What he finds difficult to put up with is Chase’s sexy body and brilliant blue eyes.

Even worse, the feeling may be mutual.

Our Thoughts:

*À la Etta James* At last . . . our first official Buddy Review! And to help us mark the special occasion, we have the first book in a series, Being Chase by J.J. Scotts. Ecstatic to get a chance to read the ARC copies that would be sent to us in exchange for an honest review, we both said yes (honestly though, how could we have said no to the excerpt that was provided?It was a good one!).

Below are our thoughts on the book, which in short, boils down to that you need to read the first book because this series reads like it’s going to be really fun. And hot. And sexy. And . . . well, you get the picture.

Runell: Overall, I enjoyed it, but I did have some issues with it. Issues that could totally just be me, or issues that could have bugged you too. What’d you think?

Catherine: *laughs* Maybe it’s because I’m currently going through the soul-crushing experience of trying to find a job in my field, but Being Chase had me at “hello.” Unfortunately, as much as I found myself relating to Liam in those first few pages, the overall experience of reading this novella ran hot and cold for me; there were aspects to it that I really enjoyed and others that I felt just didn’t work.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading a book, the main characters make or break a story for me. They need to be engaging and authentic and it never hurts if their chemistry together is off the charts. I loved that Being Chase had two very polar opposite characters with very distinct voices. What’d you think of Chase and Liam?

Runell: One of the issues that I had with the story was with Liam himself. The way he talked, the way he acted seemed . . . juvenile. Perhaps, the whole “I’m a small town guy” was played off of a little too heavily. In some ways, he just felt very meek and young to me – much younger than the 27 year old that he is supposed to be.

Catherine: Exactly! I felt like there were moments in the story in which Liam was sweet and honest and refreshing, but most of the time I felt like he was characterized as weak, immature, and . . . dare I say it? Feminine. Don’t get me wrong, not every character needs to be an alpha or charmingly arrogant, but I don’t want them to be a doormat either. I just felt that Liam went along with the crazy demands and atrocious treatment for far too long. I kept thinking, “surely he’s going to say enough is enough now, right?!” after each incident but he never did. Well, until . . .

Runell: Yes, yes, yes! Until! But let’s save that discussion for a little later. Personally, I thought that the voice for Chase was much stronger and self-assured. I liked it, but whereas Liam seemed so much younger than his age, Chase seemed far older than his.

Catherine: I picked up on that too, but I felt that it was authentic to his character. Chase is supposed to be this pampered, independent, talented guy who has been largely on his own for years before we meet him, so it made sense to me that he came across as more worldly and experienced than Liam.  That said, there wasn’t a lot that was likable about Chase in this short story. In fact, the man is an arrogant prick. I don’t necessarily say that as a criticism; I actually think a lot of readers are going to love Chase’s bad boy persona and I think Scotts writes this character particularly well. I know we’ll get more info about Chase and his history in the next story, so I’m trying to reserve judgement, but I gotta say that as of right now I think the man’s a straight up jerk.

Runell: You’re right. There doesn’t seem to be too much to like about Chase, but I am holding out for the idea that I will like him too. And regardless of the fact that you think Chase is a jerk, you can’t deny that those two scenes with Chase and Liam being . . . “intimate” were hot. I definitely liked those! 

Catherine: Ooooh buddy! J.J. Scotts does the steamy really, really well. I practically had to roll my tongue back into my mouth after that first scene. *fans face vigorously*

I think the thing that bothered me most about this novella was the lack of interaction between the two main characters – especially given their molten hot chemistry together. I understand that this is only the first in a series and that Scotts needed to establish context for the two characters to meet (so she’s earned some leeway from me for that), but Chase doesn’t even enter the story until 30% of the way through and then they only have two or three more scenes together. I guess I was just hoping that Liam would spend less time with secondary characters and more time with Chase talking, flirting, butting heads, and ramping up all that delicious sexual tension between the two of them. 

Runell: The lack of interaction between Liam and Chase didn’t necessarily bother me. I don’t know why exactly, it just didn’t, though I do agree with you there should have been more of it. One of the biggest issues that I had with the story was the whole “we control your life thing”. Uh . . . no, you don’t. I know that the job required him to be low key and to not really draw too much attention to himself as he is “the face” of Chase Preston, but everyone felt way too controlling and heavy handed for my taste. I mean… the thing with the cellphone?

Catherine: Ugh! The thing with the cellphone. *groan*

Okay then, I have to ask: what was your favourite part of the novella?

Runell: I got really excited when Liam punched Chase because it felt like he was finally standing up for himself.

Catherine: Oh my God! I loved when Liam punched Chase! It was like . . . BAM! No one likes a cock tease! Liam definitely got his man card for the first time in the story.

Runell: Yes. That’s exactly what Liam got when he punched Chase. His man card.

Catherine: *laughs* I think we may be taking an unholy amount of glee in Liam going all Evander Holyfield on our second leading man.

Runell: Yeah, but Chase can take it. 🙂

I also felt that her slide into the NA novel near the end was some of her strongest writing. It was weird and it did throw me off guard, but it was a lot stronger than a lot of the actual story was.

Catherine: Huh. The slide into Chase’s NA novel annoyed me. I agree that it was some of her strongest writing, and I actually think that it would make a really successful NA series, but I thought that it was a solid 3-5 pages that Scotts could have chopped in order to add a scene between Liam and Chase that would have heightened that sexual tension I was looking for. 

Runell: Yeah, I hear you.

Overall, as the first part in what is supposed to be a “serial”, it’s a fairly stable foundation in which, hopefully, will only prove to grow stronger and more firm with each book. Though I’m hoping against hope that the reason why Liam was hired to be Chase’s face was not because of his scar. If it is the reason, however, I do believe that has got to be one of the most shallowest story plot devices ever used. Just sayin’ . . . Damn that “cliff hanger” though.

Catherine: Okay, I know my review of Being Chase hasn’t been the most glowing I’ve ever written, but here’s the bottom line: I think that the series has an unique premise, the characters have excellent chemistry together, and Scotts’ writing shows great potential for improvement. After reading that damn cliffhanger, I’m totally hooked and can’t wait to see where Scotts will take these characters.

Catherine’s Rating:

2 SmoochHalf
Runell’s Rating:

1 Smooch1 Smooch1 Smooch

*A big thank you to J.J. Scotts who generously provided Runell and me ARCs of Being Chase in exchange for an honest review.

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