Tag: contemporary

A Vintage Affair by Josh Lanyon

Book: A Vintage Affair

Author: Josh Lanyon

Format: Kindle

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Austin Gillespie, renowned wine expert is sent to old-world Georgia in a bid to locate four priceless bottles of wine. If he can find them and verify that they are indeed the real thing, his future will be assured. He’s desperate to step out of the shadow of his family’s success and prove once and for all that his career means something too. Once he arrives at Ballineen, a crumbling antebellum mansion, nothing can prepare him for the eccentric family living within. Carson Cashel, only daughter and last of the Southern belles, Cormac Cashel her brother, sullen and intense and then there’s Aunt Eudie – eccentric and sweet. These characters are a lot to deal with but it is Jefferson Brady who holds his attention.

Convinced that Jeff is involved with Carson, Austin brushes off his initial attraction and sets off to work. But that’s when things go from bad to worse. How’s Austin meant to get any work done when there’s a dead body in the cellar with him? Chaos and intrigue ensue and as he spends more time with the enigmatic Jeff – who intends to remain firmly at the back of the closet – Austin must decide whether his feelings for Jeff are worth the heartache.

Why you should read this: Oh man – I had this book on my Kindle for ages and have only just got around to reading it. I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up sooner. It’s so well written – it’s a novella but the pace is perfect. There’s plenty of action, there’s a mystery to be solved and there’s the romance between Austin and Jeff. It’s not fuelled by angst, which is so refreshing and it’s a simple love story. I fell for Austin’s vulnerability and his sensitivity. There’s plenty of humour too, bordering on farce when Austin has to deflect Cormac’s clumsy advances – it’s so much fun.

What you might hate: Can’t honestly think why you’d hate this – it’s a m/m romance, which may not be for everyone but it’s sexy as all get out. It’s basically a story about making peace with who you are and taking a chance on love, despite the possibility of heartache. It’s also set in the world of fine wine – which I love more than life, so for me I was in literary heaven.

Rating: Easy – 5/5 for keeping the action low-key without making it dull. The writing is exceptional, heartfelt and real. It was sexy without going for pure titillation. I loved it and I want to read more Josh Lanyon!

Angel by Laura Lee

Book: Angel

Author: Laura Lee

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Story: Paul’s beloved wife died a while ago and now he’s just going through the motions.  He ministers to his congregation, sermonizes, interacts with them but never really relates to anyone and feels as if his life is stagnating. He knows he’s depressed but can’t do anything but pray that his life will get better. Then one day, God answers his prayer by sending him an angel. Only Paul is completely mistaken: Ian is definitely not anyone’s idea of an angel. He’s merely a misguided youth who stumbled dead drunk into the church while looking for an AA meeting. When Paul helps him find his way, their brief meeting sets off a chain of events that catapults him out of his depression and makes him realize that love can be found in unusual places and with those we least expect.

Why You Should Read It: the love story between Ian and Paul is so real and vivid that you can’t help rooting for them. They are two lost souls who desperately need someone to love who will love them in return; they also need someone who will allow each to be himself with no limitations. Their tentative forays into friendship and then love are awkward and telling.  They show that any sort of relationship requires time and trust for it to evolve. The fact that the protagonist is a minister who happens to fall in love with another man in no way makes this feel like commentary on the church, religion as a whole, or homosexuality.  In fact the budding romance between minister and gay man humanizes the ministry and gives some understanding into the stress of being the guiding force in a congregation. Ian is a bright spot. He oozes confidence and charm, enjoying the pleasures that life has to offer and forcing Paul to lighten up. He’s also gorgeous and larger than life.

The writing is superb with an easy flowing storyline that reads beautifully and effortlessly. The dialogue is fantastic, especially the religious conversations between the believer, Paul, and Ian who is most definitely searching for answers to the meaning of life.

What You Might Hate: the fact that this story shows a gay relationship between a member of the clergy and another man might be off putting if you have a deep rooted faith. Even if you don’t, a gay relationship in and of itself might turn you off.  The male lead, Paul, is in no way dreamy. He’s a middle aged, balding widow with a lot of stress and a bit of a depression. Ian is a recovering drug addict who can’t stick with anything when the going gets tough. The realism of their relationship might leave you wanting something more upbeat.  Also the cover leaves a lot to be desired.

Rating: 

5/5 stars. I loved this story mainly because it was NOT glossy and perfect. It shows how love can evolve in the most unlikely of places and rarely ends as happily as books/movies/etc make it out to be. Paul and Ian’s relationship takes time and effort to begin and maintain and I love the realism of that.  Also, even though he bats for the other team, Ian sounds like a dreamboat.

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Book: About Last Night

By: Ruthie Knox

Series: Loveswept

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: Cath Talarico is a woman who has made a lot of mistakes in life. She documents them on her body in the form of tattoos so as not to repeat them. Determined to make a fresh start, she leaves her native Chicago behind and heads for London. Eager to shed her former life, she resolves to focus solely on work until one night she meets Nev.

Nev Chamberlain is a banker in the City and she has him all figured out – she thinks. However, beneath the custom-made suits and the vast wealth lies a would-be artist struggling to find independence from his dominant family.

When she wakes up in Nev’s bed after an alcohol-filled night out, she’s convinced she’s made yet another huge mistake. Nev doesn’t share her opinion. The passion is instant but Cath fights her intense feelings for the kind, incredibly sexy Nev, convinced there’s no place for her in his privileged world.

Why you should read it: This book is incredibly smart – Ruthie Knox is a very talented writer and she recreates London beautifully. The love scenes are seriously hot but not gratuitous and the story itself has a lot of heart. For quite a short book, the characters are well-drawn, complex and flawed. Cath’s secrets and vulnerability are often very moving, while Nev’s quiet patience makes him the perfect leading man.

What you might hate: Please don’t let the terrible cover put you off this read. It bears no resemblance to the story beneath it! You may also get a little frustrated with Cath’s attempts to keep Nev at arm’s length and Nev’s inability to stand up to his family.

Rating: 4/5 Ruthie Knox knows how to write engaging characters that you’ll care about. The story is intelligent as well as passionate and I fell hard for Nev. Definitely worth a look!

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Book: Sugar Daddy

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Series: Travis Family

Basic Story: Liberty Jones has a rough life living across the tracks in the trailer park of Welcome, Texas. When she meets Hardy Cates, she thinks she’s met her soulmate.  Hardy is the sort of handsome loner who’s always looking out for her and acting as her biggest advocate.  But when Hardy leaves unexpectedly and then her mother dies, Liberty must do what it takes to stay afloat while also raising her younger sister, Carrington.  She puts herself through beauty school and eventually meets the enigmatic oil tycoon, Churchill Travis while working at a Houston salon.  After slowly getting to know one another, Churchill offers her the opportunity to live in his mansion and act as his personal assistant. When she agrees, everyone including Churchill’s children who are Liberty’s age, assumes that she is looking for a sugar daddy.  But over time, the animosity between Liberty and Churchill’s oldest son, Gage, in particular blossoms into something more.  Then Hardy Cates reenters her life and Liberty must choose between two men she loves dearly.

Why You Should Read It: Lisa Kleypas is a master storyteller weaving an engaging tale about love that is uplifting and not maudlin; three wealthy hunks (Hardy, Churchill, Gage) all looking to make Liberty happy each in his own way; seeing the bonds of love extend throughout an entire family. Some of the most touching scenes are watching Liberty and Carrington or Churchill and his children; the opulent Texas lifestyle is fascinating to northerners; everyone speaks in a drawl and you can practically hear it through the pages!

What You Might Hate: all the weird names–I’m a big proponent of 1 or 2 wacky names but here there are 5 in the main characters alone (Liberty, Hardy, Gage, Carrington, Churchill) and it drove me batty. Who names their kids names like this?!; everything is a little too easy for Liberty who just happens to have a billionaire walk into the beauty salon where she works and who eventually offers her a LIVE IN job doing something that has nothing to do with being a beautician; all the talk of the rich lifestyle might make you jealous (I know am); Hardy the bad boy you love to hate shows up at the worst moment possible.

Our rating: 5/5. Lisa Kleypas can write a convincing love story like no one else .Her books are effortlessly enjoyable and crazypants names aside, this was one of my favorites from her.  You wouldn’t think an established historical romance writer could craft such a good contemporary, but she does. BUY IT!