ARC Review: Idyll Fears (Stephanie Gayle)

Two weeks before Christmas 1997 and crime is rising in sleepy town Idyll, Connecticut. First, six-year-old Cody Forrand is missing. Cody suffers from a rare nervous system disorder; he cannot feel pain which means he cannot fell the cold like everyone else, which means it’s urgent for him to be found quickly. In other news, there is a break-in on the town’s candy store motivated by anti-gay hate speech, as well as prank calls and vandalism with homophobic slurs targeted on Idyll’s own gay chief of police, Thomas Lynch. It doesn’t help that most of Idyll’s detectives seem to catch a bad case of cold…

I read the first book, Idyll Threats, back in June and I really liked it. I thought it was a good start of a series. Plus, at the end of the first book, Thomas comes out to his detectives — and to that extent, the town. So I was intrigued to read further how Thomas’ life after that announcement.

I definitely loved this book better than the first one. Thomas Lynch as a character grew on me — on the first book, I was quite annoyed with how he dealt with his possible involvement with the crime. In here, at times I thought Thomas to be a little patronizing towards his detectives. Fact, I was very happy when he was scolded by his secretary Mrs. Dunsmore *laugh*. But at other times I knew that Thomas wanted to do his best for this town he had settled in or the cases that came to the department. Thomas may not be perfect, he can be prickly especially when people poke on him (either regarding his sexuality or his professional decisions), but that’s what makes his character feels quite well-balanced for me.

I loved ALL the mystery here — and I loved the procedural investigation that happened for all the cases. It felt realistic — nobody felt like they got the answer out of nowhere; there was frustration when the detectives received wrong tips or witnesses that didn’t provide anything helpful. At one point, the FBI entered the scene because the missing child became a kidnapping of a minor, and even this felt like it should. When I arrived at the revelation and motivation behind the the missing child it kind of broke my heart. That means Gayle was successfuly made me care for the case and everybody involved.

There were a couple of things that I thought didn’t fully answered here … but it didn’t completely ruined my enjoyment.

I hope this series continues *cross fingers*

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Idyll Fears
Author: Stephanie Gayle
Series: Thomas Lynch Series
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / LGBT Fiction
Word Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Seventh Street Publishing
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble,
Release Date: September 5, 2017

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Between A Rock and A Hard Place (Clare London)

 

 
Length: 19,598 words
 
Cover Design: Tibbs Design
 
 
London Lads Series
 
Chase The Ace (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
How The Other Half Lives (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
A Good Neighbour (Book #3)  Amazon US | Amazon UK  Dreamspinner 
Peepshow (Book #4)  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
 
Blurb
 

Garry’s at the end of his tether. He’s waiting at Glasgow Airport to meet his friend Will, on their way to a holiday in a Scottish Highlands hotel. Now there’s a ten-hour delay to incoming flights, the seat in the lounge is more like an instrument of torture, and he’s beyond tired of airport food.


He’s also dreading having to apologise for the pass he recently made at Will, his colleague at a London bank, under the influence of too many beers and a long-held crush. Now Will’s been offered a new job offer on a continent thousands of miles away, Garry realises it may be the end of their close friendship—let alone anything more.


To add to Garry’s stress, he’s treated to the company of Emily and Max, two young people who think he needs educating in the ways of the world. Struggling with their well-meaning help and the startling mess from spilled ketchup and noxious-smelling sweets, he’s encouraged to re-examine how he feels about Will and to decide what kind of journey he’d really like them to take together.

Excerpt

Garry suspected he knew what tipped psychotics over the edge.

It wasn’t childhood trauma or thwarted world domination. Far from it! It was the agony of a plastic bucket chair digging into the back of your legs in the middle of a chaotic Arrivals lounge. Add to that the robotic monotone of the Glasgow Airport PA system offering “apologies for the inconvenience caused to those customers awaiting incoming flights from the USA,” and it was like salt rubbed into a wound.

He slumped back in the seat, his arms folded tightly across his chest. He could feel the scowl on his face etching into the muscles. There was noise everywhere—booming announcements over the speakers and the incomprehensible swell of people’s excited chatter. Kids shrieked, and suitcases rattled over the threadbare carpet. Rolling neon signs flashed up reminders to boarding gates, constant alerts to keep your bags beside you at all times, and then—almost as an afterthought—the price of the latest, must-have mobile phone package.

Airport lounges had to be one of the least comfortable places on earth. He hunched down farther, trying to nap. Like it’d be possible in this maelstrom. Bad mood, or what? He’d been up since the crack of dawn, maybe even before. He couldn’t exactly remember the time, as over the years he’d found that lack of sleep caused him, one, serious memory problems, two, to leave the house in an unmatched pair of socks, and, three, the unmitigated loss of his sense of humour.

He was jolted back to attention as a man hauling a heavy suitcase let it run over Garry’s feet. With a cry of pain, Garry wrenched his long legs back under his seat, but not before the wheels had left neat little tramlines over his boots. His toes felt bruised, and his mood teetered further toward homicidal. Luckily the perpetrator had taken a sharp left and vanished into the direction of the car hire franchises, else his suitcase—and probably his limbs—might have been scattered to the four winds.

Garry winced. So much for keeping your luggage with you at all times.

So… what was currently on his agenda? A too-early start; a wickedly uncomfortable waiting area; a psychotic bunch of fellow passengers. The bad omens were already stacking up. He’d arrived at Glasgow Airport rather travel-worn from his own flight from London Heathrow, preparing to meet up with his friend Will somewhere in amongst this mess of humanity.

Then he’d been greeted with the worst of news—a delay.

Ten hours? He felt like shouting it aloud, as in fact a few of the less self-disciplined airport visitors already had. What do they mean, incoming flights to Glasgow delayed ten fucking hours? He’d stumbled onto his own flight at some godforsaken hour of the morning to get to Scotland on time, only to find the connecting transatlantic airlines couldn’t meet the same punctuality. Ten hours! It was only late morning. Ten hours would take him on into the evening and a large part of the night. Ten hours of sitting on this seat, with nothing but overpriced airport snacks and the metallic xylophone tones of the airport announcer for company.

Okay, so yes, obviously, he was in a less than good mood.

But he had nowhere else to wait for Will. He couldn’t travel on to the Scottish hotel their mutual friend Allen had booked, because he didn’t know which one it was. Allen didn’t seem to be answering his mobile at the moment. Garry had tried seven times already, ever since the first announcements were made about the delay. And Garry knew that was the only number available, not just because Allen could be such a bloody control freak, but because Leonard—Allen’s husband—never even turned his phone on when he was travelling anywhere. Nor would Will be accessible, circling somewhere in the sky between the States and here. And if Garry left the airport to go anywhere else, he ran the risk of missing Will’s flight altogether. No, he knew he was effectively trapped between the proverbial rock and the hard place. In fact, he could feel the hard place biting into his arse right now, as he tried to get comfortable in his seat for the hundredth time.

Besides, what could he do but wait? He was here because his friend Will had specifically asked him to be.

His best friend, Will.

They were both flying in to Glasgow, ready to meet the rest of the gang. It was a long-held tradition, an annual holiday together in June, whatever their commitments for the rest of the year. Friends since university, there were around eight of them on any year’s trip, depending on who could get away from work. Allen was the self-appointed “manager” of it all, and this year he’d suggested they visit the Scottish Highlands, his own home turf. Garry had happily booked the time off, like he always did. He rarely had other plans that might conflict.

Allen always waxed lyrical about Scotland. Most of his multitudinous family had left the home country over the years, moving all over the world, making what sounded like starry marriages with entrepreneurs and lawyers. Even a Hollywood movie star in one case. But Allen had stayed, happy to find everything he needed right there—including the man he met and moved in with, several years ago. He and Leonard often made the trip north to the Highlands on their own. The hotel they stayed in had a fabulous view over Loch Lomond, and the highest star-ratings for food and comfort. And, this year, Allen and Leonard wanted to share it with their friends as well.

Everyone thought it was a great choice, including Will and Garry. Will in particular had always wanted to see more of Scotland. They both lived in London and spent a lot of their social time together, so they usually travelled the same route to the reunion holiday. This year, they’d arranged to fly to Glasgow, hire a car, then drive the rest of the way.

At least, that had been the original plan.

But the plans had changed, hadn’t they?

Author Bio


Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. Sheís written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say sheís just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, sheís happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.


All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!


Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Facebook chat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon

 

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ARC Review: Her Hometown Girl (Lorelie Brown)

Her Hometown Girl is the third book in Lorelie Brown’s Belladona Ink series. Each book is stand-alone and can be read in no following order. This is the first novel length, though, also features dual narratives for the first time.

Tansy and Cai couldn’t be more different. Twenty-five year old Tansy is a girl from Idaho; she is sweet-natured and tends to be more shy. Thirty-nine year old Cai is a tattoo artist, definitely bolder than Tansy (even if it plays around the butch stereotype in tattoo artists, along with her posture and owning a bike). Tansy runs away from her wedding when she catches her future-bride getting shagged by the caterer’s assistant. She decides to get herself a tattoo and Cai is the one handling her.

One thing for sure, Brown’s writing is beautiful *sigh* And I loved her imperfect characters. Tansy has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with her ex — but I totally loved her for attempting to be braver, to stand up for herself. The part where she challenged Cai when Cai told her that she didn’t look for forever made me want to clap my hands in pride. Personally, I thought Tansy has more intriguing layers. Cai also has a sad backstory but compared to Tansy, I thought Cai is more straight-forward as a character.

I adored their relationship — aside from the one in the spoiler tag below. There were a number of tender moments between the two. Cai totally gets Tansy and doesn’t feel bothered when Tansy gets insecure. She adores Tansy, thinks she is beautiful. I thought Cai was good for Tansy.

“You are brave. It’s why I love you. You’re still soft, that’s what makes all the parts of you. That’s why you’re so amazing.”

I did feel slightly unsure about one thing, namely ** SPOILERS ** the D/s element in this. Yes, it was very interesting to read about D/s that involved two women (of course I read more MF and MM, so my D/s experience always involved men) … but it also felt like coming out of nowhere.

I would be fine if this was simply a hurt/comfort romance. Adding D/s element felt a little bit awkward; especially when Tansy started to call Cai “Daddy”, in opposite of Cai’s endearment to her as “little one”. ALTHOUGH, it contributes to those layers of Tansy that I mentioned above. Because clearly she enjoys it. Tansy can get flirty and rather demanding in her submissive role ** END SPOILERS **

Full confession: I still skipped a lot of the sex scenes. I just can’t read two women doing it physically. I get squeamish with too many girly bits involved. I mean no offense. I skip alot of sex scenes in M/M or M/F too. Please consider my asexuality and more likely sex repulsive in real life, okay?

In overall, it’s another great addition to the series.

By the way, Tansy’s grandmother is so. freaking. cool!! One of the highlights in this book for me was when Nanna told Tansy that she was ** SPOILERS ** bisexual, and would’ve married her first girlfriend if she had the opportunity! ** END SPOILERS **

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Her Hometown Girl
Author: Lorelie Brown
Series: Belladonna Ink, #3
Genre: FF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 65,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 4, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Nate and Cameron Collection (Kevin Klehr)

Title: Nate and Cameron Collection
Series: Nate and Cameron
Author: Kevin Klehr
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: August 28th
Format: Print
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 200 pages
Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, gay, cisgender, cross-dressing, established couple, ghost, vacation

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Nate and the New Yorker

Nate once had the love of his life, but he’s met Cameron, a New York millionaire with an eccentric cross-dressing butler.

Cameron is keen to share his world of classy restaurants, Broadway shows, and fabulous parties, and while Nate’s friends see the makings of a fantasy romance, it’s Nate who has to learn how to open his heart again.

But is Cameron simply second best?

Nate’s Last Tango

Nate’s life couldn’t be better. He’s living with his rich boyfriend, Cameron, in New York while being wined and dined all over the city.

But when Nate decides to visit his friends back in Sydney, Cameron suggests they break it off for a while. Cam’s cross-dressing butler is not impressed, and with the help of his lesbian aunt, they drag Cameron down-under to sort out his relationship and take in the sights of Mardi Gras!

With Nate at a loss to what went wrong, he faces the dim reality that love may have run its course.

Only available in Print from most major retailers.

Excerpt

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Nate and the
New Yorker
Kevin Klehr © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Trailer: https://youtu.be/p3zjFttpjXc

Both Cameron and I had Hawaiian shirts to wear, while Rowena sported a tie-dyed sarong and an afro wig. And around us, interesting guests wore chic little skirts, James Dean–style jackets, hippie gear, and mod wear.

“You haven’t introduced me yet,” said a middle-aged woman to Cameron. Her rust-colored coat had a masculine cut. Yet she elegantly held a long-stemmed cigarette holder with something that smelled very much like a joint burning on the end.

“Sorry,” said my charming American. “This is my friend, Nathan. And this well-dressed lady is my aunt Beverley.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said.

She took my hand and kissed it. “I hope you don’t think me too forward; it’s just that you’ve got such fascinating features.”

“My aunt likes to flirt.”

“It runs in the family,” she replied. She gave me a measured wink. “Now, nephew, where have you been hiding this handsome Englishman?”

“I’m Australian.”

“It’s your accent. I never can tell the difference.”

“I need you!” yelled a girl in a flower necklace. She was the drummer of the band and was addressing our host.

“It’s time,” Cameron said.

“Time for what?” I asked.

He kissed me on the cheek and then headed for the microphone stand.

“You’re in for a treat,” whispered Aunt Beverley, her voice raspy from years of smoking.

“He sings?” I asked.

“He sings,” she replied.

A laid-back strum of the bass guitar started the song, followed by a drum beat. Then the vocal. And before I knew it, I was being serenaded in front of a room full of
acquaintances. But, wow! What a unique experience. 
“I’ve never seen him go out on a limb for someone like this before,” said his aunt.

I smiled politely, then closed my eyes. He was crooning. His honey voice made my soul rise out of my body and search for a dream. And in the hip nightclub that
appeared in my mind, he wore a gray suit with a crimson tie, standing tall in front of the trumpet section who were waiting for their cue. And I was the only one in the club.

“Where are you?” asked Aunt Beverley in a low tone.

I wanted to say I was in love but stopped myself. I realized it was rude to have my eyes closed during Cam’s song. I opened them. He had me in his sights. I wanted to jump into the waves on his Hawaiian shirt and end up on a deserted island with just him and me.

“Would you like a toke of my cigarette, Nathan?”

“No, thank you. I think the fumes have already hit me.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author.

So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | YouTube | Vimeo

 

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ARC Review: Sugar Pine Trail (RaeAnne Thayne)

Sugar Pine Trail is Jamie Caine’s and Julia Winston’s story. Julia is the Haven Point’s librarian. Jamie is the lead pilot for Caine Tech company jet fleet, second-youngest Caine brother and number five in line. Jamie needs short-term place to stay for six weeks while his condo is being finalized. Julia, who now owns her family house after her parents passed away, ends up agreeing to rent the upstairs apartment to Jamie. Julia has been having crush on Jamie for a long time. When Jamie arrives in all of his gorgeous glory, Julia starts to think that the arrangement is a bad idea. However, before that issue is solved, Julia finds herself also being a temporary care person for two young brothers on this holiday season …

Haven Point … I’ve been with this series since the very beginning three years ago and I always LOVE return to this small town. I read the last book back in May, and I am happy to have another one not that far along.

I loved both Julia and Jamie … I loved Julia’s kind heart. She might be acting all awkward around Jamie but once Clint and Davy come into the picture, Julia is like mama bear. She might not have experience with kids, but she’s willing to give it everything. I loved her background, and the fact that she tried to improve her life this holiday season. I loved that she finally found her confidence, despite initial thoughts that she was too ordinary, too plain, for Jamie Caine.

As for Jaime, well hell, he’s a fine, FINE man :). I might not know much about him before since I didn’t read Thayne’s Hope’s Crossings series but I loved the man that I read here. I loved his interacting with the kids (and cats!). I enjoyed the part where Jamie finally realized that he fell in love with Julia — even if he didn’t think that Julia was his type at first. And of course he had to give Julia the perfect Christmas gift *swoon*

Sure, this book enforces the “introvert librarian who lives with cats stereotype“. Plus some things might be a little manipulative to evoke emotion, like the appearance of young Clinton and Davy. I mean if Clinton and Davy are not there, will the romance between Jamie and Julia be developed? I don’t know. But I don’t bloody care. Because in the end, I was touched in my heart, had tears in my eyes, and formed a huge smile on my face. That’s all that matters.

PS: The rest of the Caine siblings are characters from Thayne’s Hope’s Crossings — except Jamie and his older brother, Aidan, who starts Haven Point series with the book Snow Angel Cove. The siblings and their significant partners made appearance in this book, alongside the Caine patriarch and I loved being with them.

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Sugar Pine Trail
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point, #7
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books
Purchase at: Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Kobo
Release Date: September 26, 2017

ARC Review: Blame It On The Bet (L.E. Rico)

After their father died, Hennessy O’Halloran and his three sisters are determined to raise enough money to save their family pub from the hand of Bryan Truitt, a real estate developer from Los Angeles whose plan is to build a theater to replace the pub. Bryan comes to Mayhem in order to smooth the deal. Hennessy and Bryan end up entangled in a bet: Bryan will stay in Mayhem until Hennessy raise the money to buy out the loan or until the day before the loan comes due. If Bryan leaves before five weeks, he will pay the loan and deeds it back to O’Halloran family for nothing.

Entangled Bliss line promises sweet, sweet romance (and closed-door sex scenes) and that is one of my particular interests of trying this title from new-to-me author, L.E. Rico. Blame It On The Bet is the first book of Whiskey Sisters series, set in the small town of Mayhem, Minnesota. With dual narratives, I found myself being entertained with both characters as well as the citizens of Mayhem. Oh they are a HOOT!! Especially Father Romance. Yep, that’s how they call him. Oh, and Helen — Bryan’s badass assistant. She was totally awesome.

Both Hennessy and Bryan were nice characters. Yep, despite the set-up that should make Bryan the enemy, I found him more of a good guy. He totally didn’t have a “villain-y” vibe and he seemed to embrace the quirks of events that happened in Mayhem, like the chilli cook-off or trivia nights. That made it fun to read. There was sweet sparks between Hennessy and Bryan, and I liked how their relationship progressed.

I was a little confused with the girls’ names though — what can I say, I still classify ‘girls’ name vs. ‘boys’ name in my head to make it easier to differentiate the two. So names like Hennessy, Jameson, or Walker, totally threw me off a number of times. Also the Bryan’s background felt a little forced, like the author needed to introduce a conflict for these two somehow. Or else this was going to be a little too smooth.

In overall, I liked this. I am curious about Jameson and Walker next …

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:
Title: Blame It On The Bet
Author: L.E. Rico
Series: Whiskey Sisters, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 326 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Purchase at: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook
Release Date: September 11, 2017

ARC Review: New Tricks (Kelly Moran)

New Tricks is Drake (the oldest O’Grady brother) and Zoe’s story. I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for this one. All of the bread crumbs given in previous books by the author promised a quite emotional read. With Zoe being both Drake’s and Heather’s — his deceased wife — best friend, it’s a friends-to-lovers with a side of guilt kind of situation. I want to know how Kelly Moran tackled that.

Well, guess what this book is another winner for me; it’s totally right up my alley.

Same heart; different ways of love

I thoroughly appreciated the fact that while in the beginning Drake might be in conflict regarding his new-found feeling towards his best friend, but then he completely embraced it. Drake saw Zoe in both her strengths and vulnerabilities. The progress from seeing Zoe as his best friend to someone Drake loved a lot more was convincing; it helped that Zoe was in his life since forever. They had their own special moments, even when Heather was still alive.

In terms of pursuing this relationship, Zoe was the one holding back. Usually I’m easily annoyed with a heroine’s tendency to run away from her possible happiness. In this case, though, I could understand why Zoe was reluctant. She had a lot on her plate. It was more than Drake being her dead best friend’s husband, but there was another issue related to Zoe’s mother having early onset dementia.

For me, Zoe’s excuse rang true and it was heartbreaking to read. My heart went all out for her. I thought Zoe was an amazing character, and she might be my favorite heroine from this series. If I have an ounce of her beautiful heart, I’d probably be a better person.

Reading Drake and Zoe’s relationship flourished was a delight. That grand romantic gesture by Drake made me all teary eyed *sigh*.

We met in an empty room.
Two broken souls among the fray.
Years and distance and regret between us,
And with one call, you stayed.

I wish there is one more chapter, an epilogue maybe, just so I can see everyone in their happily ever after

Redwood Ridge has been an excellent series read. I’m so happy that the author tweeted back to me back in July and said that there would be more books from Redwood Ridge (Jason the firefighter is next followed by Parker the sheriff!)

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: New Trick
Author: Kelly Moran
Series: Redwood Ridge, #3
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 216 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: September 26, 2017