QR: Lights! Camera! Cupid!: Just Another Day (Bluewater Bay #6.1) – L. A. Witt

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“We have dinner and watch movies all the time. Why should this be weird just because it happens to be February fourteenth?”

 

In a word: Read the thing!

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Nothing’s been the same in this sleepy little logging town since Hollywood came to shoot the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing—especially Valentine’s Day.

In L.A. Witt’s Just Another Day, beloved actors Levi Pritchard and Carter Samuels have an announcement for their fans, while in Z.A. Maxfield’s I’ll Be There, actor Spencer Kepler and his boyfriend Nash Holly brave a blizzard and a fan convention to spend their first February the 14th together.

Of course, it’s not just TV stars celebrating the day. In Anne Tenino’s Helping Hand, an aspiring artist eager to escape Bluewater Bay decides he just might have a reason to stay: lust-inspiring logger Gabriel Savage. In S.E. Jakes’s No Easy Way, a local teacher reconnects with an old lover working security on the film set. And in Amy Lane’s Nascha, a Bluewater Bay elder recalls how his own unconventional family used to celebrate the holiday.

Real life may be nothing like TV, but when Cupid comes to town, there’s plenty of romance and drama to go around.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) – Aleksandr Voinov & L. A. Witt

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“Kevin was a literary genius and one hell of a twisted pervert. In other words, Hunter’s catnip.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I will admit that the third-act breakup miscommunication nonsense that happened near the end was a bit annoying, but other than that this was a very enjoyable read. This is the fourth book in the Bluewater Bay series, and the first book where we get a proper introduction to Hunter Easton, the author and creator of Wolf’s Landing, the in-universe popular book series and TV show most of the characters are connected to. Before this I think Hunter had maybe one or two actual appearances (though he is mentioned more), but this time the story is all about him and we get to know him a bit better. I really liked Hunter, I found him to be a genuinely good guy and also pretty funny and cute. I felt the same about his love interest, Kevin Hussain, who is a lot like Hunter except with an extra layer of geek. Their whole story is a bit of a fan’s fantasy, with Wolf’s Landing fan Kevin meeting and starting a relationship with his favourite author and also getting to turn his fanfiction into something profitable and integrated into the show’s canon. I don’t think I’ve read a book that focused so much on fandom and the relationship between fans and creators (though it didn’t go too deep, that wasn’t the main focus of the story). As a fan myself, that was pretty fun to read. The main focus of the story was on Hunter and Kevin trying to figure out their relationship while also dealing with Wolf’s Landing writing obligations and Kevin’s sudden rise to fame. I really liked how the story played out, though I could’ve done without the lack of communication surrounding their romantic expectations. A whole lot of grief could’ve been avoided if Hunter and Kevin had actually talked to each other like the adults they were supposed to be. That whole drama wasn’t even close enough to ruining the book by any means, it’s still a solid read. And as a bonus we got some more scenes with Levi and Carter (from Starstruck), and maybe a bit of clarification on what Wolf’s Landing is even about.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Hunter Easton is screwed. Fans, producers, and his agent are all chomping at the bit for the next book in his wildly popular Wolf’s Landing series, but he’s got epic writer’s block and is way behind deadline. Then he reads The World Tree, a fanfic novel by his online friend “Lone Wolf.” It isn’t just a great story—it’s exactly what the series needs.

Kevin Hussain is thrilled when “Wolf Hunter” wants to meet up after reading The World Tree. When Wolf Hunter turns out to be Hunter Easton himself, Kevin is starstruck. When Hunter tells him he wants to add The World Tree to Wolf’s Landing, Kevin is sure he’s being pranked. And when their online chemistry carries over—big time—into real life, Kevin is convinced it’s all too good to be true.

The problem is . . . it might be. The book deal, the sex, the money—everything is amazing. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Kevin is left wondering if Hunter really loves him, or just loves his book.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) – Lisa Henry

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“This is a two-man station. If things turn to shit, it’s just us.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This is the first book in a brand-new series by Lisa Henry, and I am very excited about the whole thing. The setting is the small, remote town of Richmond in the Australian outback. The main characters are the town’s two police officers: Sergeant Jason Quinn, and newcomer Gio Valeri (who is new to the town, not to policing). The plot is somewhat non-existent. This is very much more of a slice-of-life story, focusing more on the characters and setting than any sort of plot. Though there is a clear direction in the story, things move along and develop, it just doesn’t do it with a defined chain of events. This might not be some people’s thing, but I enjoyed it. I really liked Gio and Jason, and I enjoyed reading about what they had to deal with while policing their town. Jason’s son Taylor was a lot of fun, and Sandra from the police station was also pretty entertaining. Gio and Jason’s romance gets off to a slow start, since Gio’s background – the reason he wound up in Richmond in the first place – doesn’t make it easy for Jason to trust him; not to mention the fact that he’s still not completely over the death of his wife and his struggles with being a single parent. Gio’s background, the real one that no one else really knows about, makes it hard for him to trust Jason, or anyone else really. Despite everything, they still do manage to get close, though there really is a lot for them to work through before they can be functional together. This book is mostly character development and random happenings – although domestic violence is a consistent theme, so there is a specific chain of events for that happening in the background – and the story of two men trying to find a second chance at happiness while dealing with their own problems. I had a hard time putting this one down and ended up reading it in less than a day. The descriptions of life in the Australian outback (which is completely alien to me), and wanting to find out just what made Gio and Jason tick really grabbed my attention and made me interested. I’m not sure if either Jason or Gio will be appearing in future series installments, but I’m really excited to see what’s coming next.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.

Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.

Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.

In a remote two-man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.caBook Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay #3) – Z. A. Maxfield

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“You’re necessary because you make my heart lighter and my mind clearer and my work meaningful, as long as I get to come home to you at the end of the day.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Another wonderful glimpse into the inhabitants and visitors of Bluewater Bay; and I loved it. This time our focus is on Nash and Spencer, a local mechanic and a visiting actor respectively. Nash is a mechanic running the family business while still living at home with his father and younger sister. Spencer is an English actor going through a divorce and still reeling from his husband’s betrayal. Neither of them are looking for love or anything long-term when they meet, but that’s what they end up finding. They’re both under the impression that they won’t be able to fully put their all into a relationship with each other and that they are better off as friends (with benefits), but after a while it becomes clear that neither of them will settle for just being casual. There are a lot of emotions in this story, which I loved; both men are going through their own set of life changes that will have them reevaluating their thought processes on things. Their path to happily ever after isn’t exactly smooth, or direct, but they do manage to get there in the end. And it’s glorious. Along with Nash and Spencer, there are also a few side characters to help expand their world. Nash’s father and siblings are all amazing and a lot of fun, and Spencer’s bodyguard and PA make for some entertaining moments. A really good installment to the series and I hope we get to see more of these guys in the future.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Nash is the reliable one in the Holly family, the guy everyone counts on to keep things going. His genius twin brother is off at university, so Nash runs the family’s auto repair business and cares for his partially-paralyzed little sister while his crackpot father invents. His life seems mapped out for the foreseeable future, however much that might chafe.

So when Wolf’s Landing actor Spencer Kepler-Constantine lands in his life, Nash is ready for a diversion. Spencer is in the middle of a very painful, very public divorce and isn’t ready for a relationship—not that Nash wants one. But they both need a friend, especially one with benefits.

As they grow closer, Nash starts to see his family in a whole new light. Do they really need him so badly? Or does he simply need to be needed? Then Spencer’s ex reappears with a grand romantic gesture, and Nash has to figure out what he wants—and how to get it—before Spencer’s gone for good.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Sweetwater – Lisa Henry

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“You and me – men like you and me – we don’t always fit with other people. So we make our own lives.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. Looks like I’ve finally come across a Lisa Henry book that I’m not completely in love with. I know a lot of people gave this good reviews, but I thought it was a bit too bleak for me. The story kept me fully engaged and I basically couldn’t put it down, the writing is great (as usual), but after I finished reading I couldn’t really say that I liked it much. The story isn’t necessarily dark, but Elijah’s story from beginning to end is kind of a downer. His partial deafness gives the townspeople an excuse to look down on him and mistreat him, and his attraction to men is something he feels that he needs to keep secret (this story takes place in 1870 Wyoming, so he really does) and causes him to alienate himself from his adoptive father. He thinks some of those issues may be solved when he catches the eye of saloon owner Harlan Crane, but all that really brings him is a different set of problems. He also gets the attention of cattle rustler Grady Mullins, who gives him affection Elijah doesn’t really know what to do with. I think my biggest problem with this book is that I went into it looking for a story where Elijah gets in over his head with Crane and then Grady saves him and they ride off together into the sunset happily in love. That wasn’t what this story was ever going to be, so I ended up disappointed. Though if you are interested in a bit of a downer story about tortured souls, love, murder, revenge, and morally ambiguous characters in the old west, you’re probably gonna have a good time with this one.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Blue Steel Chain (Trowchester Blues #3) – Alex Beecroft

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“After all, this was supposed to be about learning to be his own person, yes? And what if his own person was the kind of person who wanted to be with James?”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. I read through this pretty quickly, but I’m not sure I liked it much. Aidan, one half of the main couple, starts out the story in an extremely abusive relationship, and the narrative doesn’t shy away from that one bit. On the one hand, it certainly doesn’t sugarcoat anything; on the other hand, it wasn’t exactly entertaining to read about Aidan being controlled and getting the shit kicked out of him by a man who’s supposed to love him. Also I don’t feel as if the hurt/comfort payoff was worth it in the end, especially since it seemed to get interrupted with everything else going on. There’s a lot going on in this story, and I’d rather it focused more on Aidan’s healing and his budding relationship with James. James, by the way, was going through his own tough time with his own ex-partner (though nothing like what was hinted at in the book’s summary), which would’ve been better if it’d had the room to be properly fleshed out instead of just popping up now and again. The first half of the book, even with how heavy and dark it was, was the part I liked best because it seemed like it was more focused on setting up Aidan’s terrible lot in life so that James could come in and rescue him and then their relationship could develop (the hurt and then the comfort). But then after the hurt was over, we got a lot of confusion and all the comfort was mixed up with James struggling with his sexual desire for Aidan while Aidan was discovering his asexuality in the background. And then the situation with James’ ex-partner kept butting in and ruining the flow. I’ll say that this is a compelling read, but I feel like the second half doesn’t really make up for all that went on in the first half.

 

[available for purchase at Ripdtide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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For A Good Time, Call… (Bluewater Bay #17) – Anne Tenino & E. J. Russell

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“Yeah, and this is exactly why I never go out anymore. Everyone assumes that because I’m single, I must be panting to get laid.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I really enjoyed this one, and not only because of the friendship and romance between leads Nate Albano and Seth Larson, though I did like that part a lot. This book actually had a lot of appearances from some of the guys from other books. Nate is friends with Levi Pritchard, so we saw a lot of him and other people from his circle (Carter, Ginsberg, Derrick, Anna, and so on). Reading about these guys again was a lot of fun, and it was good to see the couples still happy together. That was one major part of what I found so enjoyable about this book. The other enjoyable part was, of course, Seth and Nate and their awkward courting. Nate is grey-asexual and has only had two previous relationships, and Seth has never had a committed relationship before, so they’re both a little unsure of what they’re doing and it takes a bit of trial and error before they can come together properly as a couple that can meet each others’ needs. As the two of them are getting to know each other (and mostly accidentally falling in love – so much romantic tension) they are also trying to solve a decades-old mystery surrounding the murder of Seth’s great-great-grandfather, though that doesn’t entirely resolve itself so I do hope we get a more concrete resolution to that in a future book. Also I can’t just not mention Nate’s adorable dog Tarkus, who I love forever and pretty much stole most of the scenes he was in.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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