Review: The Accidental Baker by Clare London

Donnie Watson's baking disasters are legendary, but this Easter, his mismatched chocolate eggs bring accidental but astonishing results to four downhearted gay men. The chocolate sweets spill onto the pavement of a small parade of local shops—and go on a matchmaking tour like no other! From a bankrupt and betrayed baker, to a homeless but hopeful man, to a conceited bar owner in need of a reality check, and finally to the hapless but caring Donnie himself.

After all, Love means you can have chocolate too!


The Accidental Baker is a sweet set of vignettes that gives the meet-cutes for four men as they navigate the unexpected beginnings of potential HEAs. The common thread in this anthology is Donnie and his baking disasters. Donnie is a sweetheart of a man who is perpetually single so he spends a lot of time volunteering and donating baked goods for different fundraisers. His heart is in the right place but his skills in the baking department are seriously lacking.

It’s best to know what you are going into with the Accidental Baker so that you can appreciate what’s here and not get fussy about what’s “missing”. Each tale begins with a meeting and optimism for more and while there is plenty of romance there’s no steam and if you know all that going in, you can enjoy the thrill of the potential romance without looking for more.

The book begins and ends with Donnie and while the stories are short, the author doesn’t skimp on showing you who the characters are. As I said, Donnie is a complete sweetheart and his setup says a lot about him. His giving nature made me want love for him and I wanted him to succeed at everything. The time he spends with Will is honest and their banter is endearing. These two were perfect for each other.

Story two is about Simon who is at a crossroads after losing his partner and his bakery after said partner took off with all the money and left Simon on his own with no place to live, no business and no money. He stops by his old bakery to pick up the last of his things and meets the new owner/baker. The ensuing conversation leads to opportunities for both men on the professional and personal fronts. Simon has been through a lot so the hopefulness in this one was sweet to read.

Jez’s story was my favorite and the one that left me wanting more, more so than any of the others. There was a lot to unpack in this one and the balance the author struck was just right considering the length of the story. This one would take a lot to fully flesh out in novel length, but it’s a story I would love to read.

The final lovelorn soul is Henry, Donnie’s best friend and honestly, when I met him in the beginning, I thought he was a total dick. I mean, that’s his thing, his big issue and he has a good set of baggage to overcome. His story was pretty intense and while I don’t think it was a believable beginning for him, I still wanted him to have it after reading about his hangups.

Overall, none of these stories moved at a super realistic pace. They couldn’t just leave one another after swapping phone numbers and a hope for a future date or anything. There had to be more to give the book the meat it needed. Everything was a bit accelerated, but if you just want to dig into some sweet, sweet romance with potential, then it’s easy to let that go and enjoy the ride.




**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**


Release Blitz: Waited So Long by J.M. Dabney


Daddy kink fan? Don't miss today's release blitz for Waited So Long from author J.M. Dabney and Vibrant Promotions! Learn more about the kinky age play/DD romance today!

WaitedSoLongReleaseBlitz
Waited So Long
J.M. Dabney
Genre: MM Daddy Kink/Light Age Play/Domestic Discipline Romance
Release Date: 06.18.19
Waited So Long Cover

Cover Art by J.M. Dabney
Cover Image - Golden Czermak/Furious Fotog
Cover Model - Caylan Hughes
Blurb
What happens when your best friend’s son comes home and he’s all grown up?
Devon Hoffman has a secret. He’s wanted a Daddy all his own, but when you’re pushing fifty, you’re completely over the hill. Newly divorced and trying to be single again after an almost thirty-year relationship, he’s lost and needs someone to ground him. Except he’s anxious and his depression intensifies until Bern returns after leaving the service and the younger man suddenly takes an interest. Can he let his guard down and risk losing his best friend or should he do whatever is needed to keep his secret safe?
Universal Link: books2read.com/u/49owYw


WaitedSoLongTeaser2

WaitedSoLongTeaserNo1

Excerpt
Those bright blue eyes focused on me, and I felt exposed under his intense stare. I wondered if I’d doubled my anxiety meds because something was off with me today.

“No, I had a late lunch. I think I’m going to head home. I leave for a business trip in a few days. There’s a lot to do before I head for the airport.”

“You’ll give me your number so I can check on you while you’re gone.”

Even though the demand was clear in his voice, I wanted to say no. Yet, I also wanted to obey. My ex hadn’t bothered checking on me while I was away on business. Maybe every few days I’d called him to say goodnight. Check in to see if everything was good at home, but I’d never felt compelled to contact him because I knew it probably wouldn’t have mattered to him. He wasn’t interested in my company, and I’d comprehended it too late. I realized I was staring at Bern, and he raised his brow as if expecting an answer.

“That’s not necessary, I’ve been—”

“I don’t think I asked if it was necessary.”

I frowned at his tone and how his voice was even deeper, which I felt should be impossible. It was commanding and comforting but not the same tone he’d used with Murray. It was hard and unyielding. An order pure and simple. I didn’t like conflict, so I felt my only option was to agree.

“Um, okay.”

“Good boy. You’ll be here for dinner tomorrow night. Six o’clock.”

JM logo
J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Mailing List – http://eepurl.com/dzWnIn
MichelleSlagan---VibrantPromotionsLogo---FiveStarDesigns---150ppi

Guest Review: You and Me Again (Must Love Dogs #2) by Megan Slayer

Can love really strike twice?

Colin Dent knows what he wants out of life—his career at the advertising agency and his dog. Love is great, but he needs to know the guys in his life understand his dog is his family. He thought he had the perfect combination when he and Matt were a couple. But Matt didn’t stick around.

Matt Miller didn’t leave Colin because he wanted to—Colin hadn’t wanted him any longer. When Matt’s sister leaves her dog, Willie, with him for good, Matt not only understands separation anxiety, but how much it hurts to be forgotten. Then he sees Colin at the dog park. The old feelings rush in and he wants to open his heart, but he hasn’t forgotten the past.

Colin wants a second chance with Matt, but will the time and distance apart be too much to overcome? Or will the love of their dogs be enough to push these two former lovers back together for good?


Reviewer: Shee Reader

By the time I finished the book, I was enjoying it, but it took awhile for me to get with it.

I totally loved the premise. I get it totally. My dog is my favourite kid (I have human kids too…) but I found the writing a little clunky at the beginning, and I was a little bit confused about the timeline of the story given that our two MCs had lived together before the break up, yet Colin had a best friend (key to his house type of best friend) that Matt had never met yet who hated Matt. Maybe I was just being a bit slow.

So, Matt who left Colin because Colin put his dog first, is now a dog owner himself and the two guys meet at the dog park. I thought it was a nice touch that the dogs liked each other!

The story proceeds with Colin trying to win Matt back, without really knowing why they broke up. Later we saw Colin had a roving eye with made me like him even less! Matt seemed too good fro Colin and, and the new bestie was a complete ass.

I found the dialogue a little stilted and “tell me” rather than “show me” but the story did grow on me. Maybe I was just being a grumpy butt, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

I’ll try the author again just to see!

I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.



Release Blitz + Giveaway: They Are the Tide (The Psionics #3) by Tash McAdam


Celebrate the release of They Are the Tide (The Psionics #3) with author Tash McAdam and IndiGo Marketing! Learn more about the latest in the science fiction series and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!


Title: They Are the Tide
Series: The Psionics, Book Three
Author: Tash McAdam
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: June 17, 2019
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: No Romance
Length: 80100
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, cliffhanger, espionage, spies, military, futuristic, alt universe

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

After escaping from two very different prisons, Toby and Epsilon 17 finally have a chance to live for themselves. Helping to build a new city in the wake of the destruction of the Institute should be all they’re worrying about, but Epsilon 17 has a horrific secret that’s getting harder and harder to hide. Cassandra isn’t dead, she’s locked up in the deepest, darkest corner of E17’s mind. Pushing E17 to the brink of madness, Cassandra is determined to take over E17 entirely and destroy the rebellion.



Can Epsilon 17 overcome their hidden enemy and learn to trust the people around them? Unwilling to wait for Cassandra to force their hand, Epsilon 17 decides to take control: to go to a city where the Institute still holds sway, and try to destroy them once and for all. Toby, forbidden from joining the mission, has to find his own path forward. Their connection is as strong as ever, but the distance between them keeps growing.


Excerpt

They Are the Tide
Tash McAdam © 2019
All Rights Reserved

E17

Sometimes I think all I have ever done is hide.

I hid in the Institute, shielding my memories, my soul from those who wanted to take it from me. Now I hide here, from those who want to help me. They want to help me, but they’re also afraid of me. I had a reputation before I was “saved.” Their thoughts call me “the Hunter.” Even though they try to cover them, I catch their fear and distrust echoing in the air all around me, and in the slant-eyed gazes they throw at me. They don’t know I can still hear them. I’ve always been stronger than people predict. I understand why they feel this way, but it burns me still. So, I avoid them as best I can.

I’m sitting alone in the lush garden that circles the new ARC headquarters. It’s beautiful here, a swathe of luscious green studded with vivid color, trees and flowers in carefully designed paths that lead around a low-slung, glittering white building. The whole area is sheltered with cunningly joined transparent sheets that filter out the worst of the dangerous sun. If you squint, you can see the shape of them, hexagon upon hexagon, tessellated together. Last week they were tinted dark for the brutal summer months, now they’re clear and nigh-on invisible. This used to be the Governor’s house, but he fled during the fall of the Institute and took a lot of the military police with him, leaving the city reeling. ARC stepped in, stepped up, tried to retain normalcy, but the shiny surface of city life has worn thin. The power vacuum caused by the disappearance of most of the higher-ups is exacerbated by the growing discontent of the township peoples. Without the Institute dampening them down, hunting for the worst of the malcontents, the slums are rumbling, and the people of the city are frightened and confused.

Several of the factories that produce luxury items for the Citizens have gone on strike, the poor workers no longer numbed to the imbalances in their lives. ARC has worked in secrecy for so long they don’t know how to take charge like this. There’s no direction, and that is frightening. Shivering, I turn my thoughts away from such darkness, and I look up into the bright-blue sky.

I can’t get enough of being outside. Simply sitting in the air is still incredible to me. Several nights I’ve been woken by Toby or Darcy shaking me gently, urging me to go inside to escape the heavy chill of the night. I don’t have nightmares when I’m outdoors. I seem to have developed a sort of claustrophobia that makes me edgy and jumpy when in a closed environment. Strange, when I lived below ground for years, to think that now I’m free, the walls press on me.

It’s been two months since I tried to kill Cassandra. Looked her in the eye and stopped her heart inside her chest but failed to end her. My thought-blind brother carried me out of the wreckage of the Institute, not knowing what he couldn’t see. That she didn’t die, not really. I bear her with me, a nebulous tumor nestling in the secret place that was once my salvation. The bunker I built to save my memories from the Tank, from the wipes that would remove my personality and feelings. She hides in there; I know it. For two months I’ve fought her for possession of my mind, control of my body. The fear is with me, always, but it lessens when I’m outside. I like to sit under the apple trees most of all. The fresh, sharp smell permeates the air, and I fill my lungs until it feels like they must burst from the strain. The filtered sunlight bathes me, trickles honey warm down my spine and soothes my troubles until I can almost forget them.

But no one here wants to forget what I’ve done. The few people who I don’t feel the need to hide from are Toby’s personal group of close friends. They accept me as he did, unquestioningly. Their shields are strong enough that I don’t get inundated with their private thoughts against my wishes, and their open faces tell me they trust me not to pry. That trust is an incredible thing. It feels tangible. I treasure it, as though I can cup it in my palms and feel a tiny heartbeat. The smallest act could snuff it out. I keep the tightest lock on my powers possible. Awareness of that trust helps me control myself and win the fight that always tears at the back of my mind.

Darcy is my favorite. There’s something about her that soothes me. She’s so calm and accepting. In a strange way I feel mothered by her. She always checks in on me, makes sure I’m managing but never makes me feel like I’m not enough, not trying hard enough or being normal enough. She doesn’t mind that I’m quiet. Sometimes she’ll come to sit with me and draw while I think. I love watching her draw, watching a thick black line roll over a blank screen and seeing pictures come alive.

I’ve tried to draw. I’m able to produce accurate technical sketches, one of the many skills the Institute has written through the core of me—regardless of any innate ability—but I don’t know how to take what I see of beauty and translate it into an image. My drawings are dead. And really, it’s the stillness of Darcy’s consciousness when she draws that I envy. I want to find the thing that stills me, settles my heaving insides. There must be something. My brother doesn’t rage inside as I do. Which is a blessing, I suppose. If he did, with his power, everyone would feel it. We’d probably die from it.

Toby is… Toby is Toby. His naiveté often dazzles me. His shields are firm for the most part, having pinned them down, knowing how dangerous it is to be open, but he still projects this aura of hope, of trust. He believes that people are good, and pure, and they all deserve to be safe and happy. He’s been so untouched by loss, disregarding the past year of his life, that he’s still untarnished by the harshness of existence. As well, being unable to read protects him from the more bitter realities of what lies below the surface. It’s a beautiful thing, and I know I’ll do anything to protect that in him. Not a day goes by when I don’t regret my choice. Not Cassandra’s death itself; the woman was, and is, a poison. Now one that seeps inside me, which I believe is better for the world. I regret the innocence I took from my brother, and the price I pay is for that.

My penance is clear; carry Cassandra inside me and never, ever set her free from the prison she is trapped in. Never allow her to take hold of me, or find a way out. I’m her jailer as she once was mine. It seems like a fair trade.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Tash is a 30 year old teacher candidate at UBC in Canada, although they were born and raised in the hilly sheepland of Wales (and have lived in South Korea and Chile before settling down in Vancouver). Tash identifies as trans and queer and uses the neutral pronoun ‘they’. They’re also an English teacher and fully equipped to defend that grammar! They have a degree in computer science so their nerd chat makes sense, and a couple of black belts in karate which are very helpful when it comes to writing fight scenes.

Their novel writing endeavours began at the age of eight, and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning and then teaching Karate, running away with the circus, and of course, writing.

They write fast-paced, plot-centric action adventure with diverse casts. They write the books that they wanted to read as a queer kid and young adult (and still do!)

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Blog Button 2