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Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway! Devil’s Food at Dusk by M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin

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AboutTheBook

DevilsFoodAtDuskFS

Title: Devil’s Food At Dusk

Authors: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Length: 200 Pages

Release Date: June 22, 2015

Blurb: Joe Fitzgerald hates New Orleans, but he’s stuck there until he convinces one stubborn local family to sell Lumière, the crumbling French Quarter restaurant they’ve owned for generations. The place is a wreck, and it’s hemorrhaging money. Joe figures he’s their best chance for survival.

Remy Babineaux despises Pineapple Joe’s and everything the chain stands for. He refuses to let Lumière become some tacky corporate tourist trap. Theme drinks and plastic beads in his restaurant? Yeah, right. Over his dead, rotting corpse. The last thing Remy wants is a meeting with the restaurant chain’s representative, but his father agreed to at least listen to the proposal. There’s nothing Remy can do about it.

Remy figures an anonymous hookup is exactly what he needs to decompress. When he ends up across the table from his fling the next morning, real sparks fly. Joe refuses to give up his prime location; Remy refuses to give up his legacy. It’s war, and they’re both determined to win at any cost. Neither of them counted on falling in love.

CommonExcerpt

Dawn always seemed to come a little later in the French Quarter, molasses-sweet and slow, still soft but with hints of the sticky heat to come. It spread, languorous, over the weathered painted walls and wrought-iron railings, crooked cobbly streets, and leaded glass windows that had seen hundreds of years of people passing by. Morning was quiet. Peaceful. Mellow.

Remy Babineaux had lived in the city all his life, in the same house on the same street covered by the same winding, purple-flowered bougainvillea vines and creeping ivy, but still, sometimes, in the pink blush of an unhurried morning, he was struck with just how much he loved it. How much he never wanted to live anywhere else.

He pulled his tired body out of bed in the barely there brush of light and stretched. He hadn’t slept much the night before—five hours at most—and he felt every one of his very busy, thirty years in his creaky muscles and sore back. It had been easier to get up with the morning sun when he was nineteen. To a point. Truthfully, Remy hadn’t ever been a morning person. He’d always preferred sleeping in to experiencing the unusual stillness that came in the Babineaux household hours before brothers and sisters, mother and father, and one rather eccentric grandmother started shouting and laughing and singing—and usually all at once. But he had to admit the morning was beautiful. And even if it wasn’t, he had fish to buy.

Next time I’m making Andre go so I can sleep in.

Remy knew that wasn’t true. He trusted his little brother with his life, but with the fish selection? Never. Nobody but him had had the coveted job of fish selection since he was a teenager. He pulled on a threadbare white henley and a pair of khakis that he didn’t mind getting fish juice on. Then Remy tugged his wavy hair into a thick, high bun, slipped into a pair of shoes, and was out the door. Time to greet the day with rack after rack of amazing, delicious, smelly fish.

Thursdays were usually the best day at the fish market. It was one of those things that had no logical explanation but a long history of somehow working out that way. The market was open three days a week, and he usually liked to make it to two of them, but Thursdays were for some unknown reason when the magic seemed to happen. He liked to get there early for the pick of the catfish, local trout, and sweet, tender gulf shrimp. Wandering through the fragrant stalls, which should be unpleasant but somehow smelled of home and happiness, was something of a Zen experience for him. One of the highlights of his week.

The market was crowded and loud, even in the bare light of early morning. Chefs and restaurant owners haggled with fishermen who’d become their friends over the years, laughed at well-worn jokes, argued the same arguments like a dance that had been practiced over time and perfected. The fish market was a tradition, and his city was nothing if not steeped in traditions.

Remy spent a few minutes soaking it all in, checking out what was new and interesting and delicious before he got down to business. It was important, he thought, to experience things, and not just go through his day completing tasks. His food was better if his feelings for the moment seeped into the dish. Made life better too if you asked him. His little sister, Grace, gave him shit for his “stop to smell the roses” way of looking at things. She was only fourteen, in a race to grow up and become something. Someday she’d understand that the becoming part was just as important as the getting there.

He stopped at a stand and stared down at piles of glossy pearly gray shrimp, barely touched with hints of blush pink. He’d steam them perhaps, on a base of pasta with clams and roasted vegetables, a little garlic, some cumin, cayenne, local butter, and a ton of French thyme. Remy could nearly taste the sauce exploding in his mouth—butter broth and seasonings and sweet, firm shrimp. Yes.

“Twenty pounds, Remy?”

“Hmm? Oh yes. Sure thing, Renee.” His favorite shrimp dealer knew him well. He could easily go through that much on a weeknight. Four times that on a busy weekend. Remy signed off on the purchase order. The shrimp would be delivered to his cafe, Lumiere, in a few hours with the rest of his purchases, just in time for him to start cooking.

Remy worked his way through the crawfish and catfish, the mussels and clams, smelling and sampling, weighing and ordering. It was his ritual. He never rushed it.

When Remy was nearly ready to call it a morning and head back home, his phone buzzed with a text from Andre, his little brother and one very pushy sous chef.

Don’t forget my halibut.

Remy made a face. The halibut at the fish market was good, but it was shipped all the way from the north Pacific on ice. He’d far rather use local catches to make his spin on traditional dishes, but sometimes Andre got his way. The halibut and chips was one of those times. Andre had tried it, fallen in love, and decided it should be a regular menu item at Lumiere, after a lot of protesting from Remy. It had become popular with the customers, much to Remy’s annoyance. He was even more annoyed by the fact that he liked it himself—especially with Andre’s signature tangy tartar sauce. Most of the time he pretended he didn’t, but Andre knew better and liked to flip him all sorts of shit for it.

I’m getting your damn halibut. Go back to bed.

All he got in return was a winky face and a string of fish emojis. Remy chuckled. Child.

 

Guest Post by MJ O’Shea:

Hi there! This is MJ O’Shea. Thanks for having me stop by 🙂

I’m here to talk a little bit about the three books Anna Martin and I wrote about bakers and chefs. Yeah, food is one of our favorite topics… from the fun discussions we’ve had with readers, I think that’s true for a lot of people.

They’re not a series, all of them are completely unrelated stories, but both of us love to create things in the kitchen — Anna’s the baker, I’m more of a cook — so we wanted to put that love into some books:)

The first is Macarons at Midnight. It takes place in New York City and features a British Transplant named Tristan and the black sheep of a wealthy family, Henry, who’d rather run a bakery in the village than live off his trust fund.

The next, Souffles at Sunrise, takes place in Los Angeles on a baking competition show called Burned. Kai, who has come from Hawaii, is driven and a perfectionist and knows he can win. Chase is a laid back farm kid turned artisanal ice cream maker who is thrilled to have made the competition at all.

Our final and newest book, Devil’s Food at Dusk, takes place in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Remy has lived there his whole life and runs his family’s cafe Lumiere. He wants his traditions to stay the same and his cafe to stay in the family. Joe works as a property developer for a chain of theme restaurants. He’d like nothing more than to sweep in and buy the property from Remy’s family. In fact, he doesn’t plan to give up until he’s successful.

There are bios and contact info below if you’d like to chat with Anna and I about cooking, baking, or anything else really!

xoxo

MJ

BuyLinks

DREAMSPINNER PRESS (eBook)

DREAMSPINNER PRESS (Paperback)

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS

BARNES & NOBLES

KOBO

GOOGLE PLAY

AboutTheAuthor

Author PicI’m Mj O’Shea 🙂 I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I like sparkly girly girl things, own at least twenty different colored headbands, and I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.

Website: http://mjoshea.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mj.oshea.5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjosheaseattle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3512511.M_J_O_Shea

Instagram: http://instagram.com/mjosheaseattle

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mjoshea5

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.J.-OShea/e/B003XERT7M/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1427433101&sr=8-2-ent

Newsletter —

Sign up for MJ O’Shea’s newsletter for updates, exclusive contests, excerpts and more…

***

AnnaMartin_APicAnna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, she is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), travelling, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Although her most recent work is in the LGBT romance genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen or Young Adult genre, Romance and Fantasy novels.

Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; “My favourite books,” she says, “are ‘The Moonstone’ by Wilkie Collins, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee and ‘Oryx and Crake’ by Margaret Atwood.” She also owns multiple copies of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.

Website: http://www.annamartin-fiction.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missannamartin

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5251288.Anna_Martin

Instagram: https://instagram.com/missannamartin/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/

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Winner’s Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card.

2 Runners up win: An e-copy from either MJ O’Shea’s or Anna Martin’s Backlist.

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TourSchedule

June 22:

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

My Fiction Nook

June 23:

Drops of Ink

June 24:

Love Bytes Reviews

June 25:

Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews

Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

June 26:

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

June 29:

Diverse Reader

Sid Love Writes

June 30:

Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

July 1:

Man2ManTastic

JP Barnaby

July 2:

Bayou Book Junkie

July 3:

Nessa’s Book Reviews

Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings

July 6:

BFD Book Blog

Evelyn Shepherd

July 7:

MM Good Book Reviews

July 8:

Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

Books N Pearls

July 9:

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Foxylutely Books

July 10:

A Celebration of Books

Prism Book Alliance

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✯✯✯✯ One Small Thing (One Thing #1) by Piper Vaughn & M.J. O’Shea ✯✯✯✯

The One Thing Series:

  • One Small Thing (book #1) – in this review
  • One True Thing (book #2)

One Small Thing (One Thing, #1)One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J O’Shea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

“Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik. Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny-and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father. Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

So what did I think?

I enjoyed immersing myself in this story. I liked both Rue and Erik and their relationship was quite unique. It was interesting to watch their changing perceptions of each other and of course see them both bond with baby Alice.

I loved some of the lines as they acknowledged their feelings…
“It was as if he’d woken me up after years of living as half a person. I’d never even realized what I’d been missing, but when I kissed him it ws like everything came together, and for the first time in my life I saw the whole picture instead of just the pieces.” Erik about Rue.
“He’d somehow manged to seep into my cracks and fill all the odd, empty spots in my heart.” Rue about Erik.

The story blended interesting and seemingly opposite characters with Rue being the party boy and Erik being the reclusive author. The secondary characters were great. Lots of humour but a situation of bringing a child into the world was handled really well. It was lovely to see all the people who wanted the best for the baby.

I particularly liked Erik’s thoughts about his own feelings for Rue. “I didn’t even really know if I was gay. I suppose society would assign me that label. I was in love with a man, and he made me hot and hard, his kisses made me shiver, and there’d never been anything more perfect than the feel of his body inside mine. So maybe is was the right word. But I honestly didn’t think my attraction to Rue had anything to do with his gender. I didn’t love Rue for what he did or didn’t have. I loved him because he was Rue. Nothing else mattered.”

It as a cute little touch having Erik rewrite his book to include a romance between his male characters due to the increasing popularity of m/m romance – guaranteed to make it a best-seller!

4 Stars

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♫♫ Music Playlist: Catch My Breath by M.J. O’Shea ♫♫

I love to check out the music that authors have either found inspiring when they have been writing a book or else the songs they have identified to accompany the story.

M.J. O’Shea has released the playlist that accompanies her book Catch My Breath. I loved this book (★★★★★). See below for the link to the review.

Check out the post on her blog here . She says:

“One thing I do pretty regularly is release the playlist of songs I’d made for my current book release back when I was working on it. I always make one. Although I don’t listen to it when I write, but I listen to it all over the place when I’m thinking and planning and getting a feel for where I want to go. So here’s some of the songs in mostly alphabetical order:) The entire list would’ve been REALLY long. I won’t torture you.

P.S. None of the chapter titles made the playlist. Sorry boy bands everywhere. I still love you.”

Thanks for sharing M.J.!

M.J. O’Shea’s blog contains the full list of songs and individual links or you can check out the playlist on YouTube below.

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The Lucky Moon series by M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn

I just finished reading Catch My Breath by M.J. O’Shea which had a reference to the Ventura brothers. Shane and Nick Ventura appear in the Lucky Moon series by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea. So I thought I would share my thoughts on this great series!

  • Moonlight Becomes You (book #1)
  • The Luckiest (book #2)
  • Moonstruck (book #3)

Moonlight Becomes You (Lucky Moon, #1)Moonlight Becomes You

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Eleven years ago Shane Ventura made the biggest mistake of his life when he caved in to pressure from his record label to kick his best friend Jesse Seider out of their band, Luck. Though he had a gorgeous voice, Jesse wasn’t beautiful, and didn’t fit the label’s ideal look. But Shane’s never wanted anyone else more, and all the sex and alcohol in the world can’t fill the void Jesse left behind.

As his thirty-second birthday approaches, Shane feels more miserable than ever. Even the prospect of teaming up with Britain’s hottest band, Moonlight, for an epic world tour can’t get him out of his depressive funk. Until he meets lead singer, Kayden Berlin, and falls into instant lust.

Though Kayden acts like he’s not interested, Shane knows he feels the spark between them. But the harder Shane pushes, the more Kayden pulls away. Then one explosive night things finally come to a head and Shane is left nursing a broken heart. That seems to be Shane’s lot–lucky at everything but love, the one thing that matters most. But there’s a lesson Shane still hasn’t learned: when it comes to love, you can’t always leave things to chance.

So what did I think?

I really liked this book, the story of Shane, part of a hugely successful band but lacking something in his life. Although slightly predictable but with an interesting make-over theme, there is enough tension and a good pace. I also love a nice happy ending!

The story is told in a combination of ‘now’ and ‘then’ with the flashbacks telling the story of Shane’s love for his best friend Jesse, a love based on what’s inside rather than outward appearance. The ‘now’ tells the story of Shane’s current discontent and his growing attraction to Kayden, the hot lead singer of another band.

Interestingly the only character I didn’t warm to was Nick (Shane’s brother) who features in the second book of the series. Reviews of The Luckiest indicate it is better than this first book so I am very eager to read and learn more about Nick.

4 Stars

The Luckiest (Lucky Moon, #2)The Luckiest by Piper Vaughn

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Rock star Nick Ventura has finally hit rock bottom. Jealous of his brother’s new love, he starts overindulging in his usual vices and winds up crashing his car into a department store in a drunken haze. Publicly humiliated and on the verge of jail time, he enters into a court-ordered rehabilitation program.

Nutritionist Luka Novak is flamboyant, effeminate, the type of gay man that bisexual Nick would normally sneer at. His sunny nature hides a deep hurt from a previous relationship. Luka knows he should be wary of Nick’s reputation, but he’s drawn to Nick despite himself. Their tentative friendship turns into romance, but Luka soon comes to realize that Nick’s fear of losing his bad boy reputation means he’ll probably never go public with their relationship.

Nick never thought he needed anyone, until Luka Novak came into his life. Now he has to reconcile his carefree past with the future he suddenly wants more than anything. And the first lesson he has to learn is how to become the man that both he and Luka need him to be, rather than stay the boy he always was. Alone.

So what did I think?

I loved this book and knew I was going to love it after just one chapter!
This is the story of bad-boy rock star Nick who needs to spend months in rehab where he meets Luka, the nutritionist.
The writing style drew me in. I could feel Nick’s pain while at the same time laughing at the humour of his internal dialogue (loved the scene where he is filling out the forms for his doctor!). Nick’s character, is filled with pain and struggling to adjust to changes in his life. He appears selfish and childish but so very vulnerable.
Luka is supportive and protective of Nick but has his own pain from being hurt in the past. He is a gentle character but also a firecracker in bed!
The story follows Nick’s journey as he puts his past behind him to give his heart to another and Luka learning to trust.
“What they had was rare, imperfect and beautiful and scary all at once. It was hard to say those things out loud and know the right words to use. But that was ok. Because when two people found each other, two people who were meant to be, words didn’t even matter anymore. They just knew. And that was the luckiest thing of all.”
4.5 stars because there are gorgeous rockers, cute dogs, misunderstandings, hot sex and HEA

5 Stars

Moonstruck (Lucky Moon, #3)Moonstruck by Piper Vaughn

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Surya Patel is the drummer for the massively popular band, Moonlight. When his label suggests a collaboration with Luck, the band Moonlight toured with the year before, he should be all for it. Except for one thing—he slept with Luck’s manager during the tour, and then bolted in the dead of night. He’s regretted it ever since, but he knows being around Emmanuel will only lead to disaster. Unfortunately for Surya, the person the label sends to sweet talk him into joining the collaboration is none other than Em himself.

Emmanuel Cortez has spent months trying to forget about the hottest night of his life—the night he slept with Surya. It’s been a year, but not even the death of his beloved grandmother and the subsequent drama with his family could keep the memories away. Now it’s time to be professional. His job is to convince Surya to collaborate with Luck, nothing more, but a day spent together leads to yet another passionate night. This time Em is the one to leave.

But unexpectedly Surya has a change of heart. He isn’t satisfied with just one night anymore. He wants forever.

So what did I think?

The excitement level did not match the earlier books, especially #2 The Luckiest which is the highlight of the series. However it is still an enjoyable story.

Surya falls for Em and, although happy for their relationship to be known among friends, struggles to come out to his very traditional family. Em has his own family issues to deal with. There is lots of wasted time and heartbreak caused by lack of communication (if only these guys would speak to each other!)

The story is steadily paced, with lots of soul-searching, but lacks the humour and drama of the earlier books but still a nice read.

4 Stars

For more information on M.J. O’Shea and her books visit her website.

For more information on Piper Vaughn and her books visit her website.

Buy The Lucky Moon series from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Catch My Breath by M.J. O’Shea

Catch My BreathCatch My Breath by M.J. O’Shea

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Danny Bright was born to entertain. He just needs his big break. So when he hears that Blue Horizon Records is holding auditions looking for the next big thing, Danny jumps at the chance. It doesn’t turn out exactly as he imagined, though. Instead of getting solo contracts, Danny and four other guys are put into a boy band.

Innocent, idealistic Elliot Price thinks he’s headed for college. An impulsive decision to sing in the local talent search changes all that. A bigwig producer happens to see him, hands him a business card, and turns Elliot’s life upside down.

Elliot and Danny are close from the beginning. They love all the guys, but it’s different with each other. Soon their friendship turns into feelings more intense than either of them can ignore. The other three boys only want Danny and Elliot to be happy, but when their management team and record label discover two of their biggest tween heartthrobs are in a relationship, they’re less than pleased. Danny and Elliot find themselves in the middle of a circle of lies and cover-ups, all with one bottom line—money. They have to stay strong and stick together if they don’t want to lose themselves… and each other.

So what did I think?

This book is definitely worth reading, a modern take on love between two musicians who are part of a boy band.

I’m sure this plot has been done before, band members falling for each other but having to keep both their sexuality and their relationship under wraps for fear of jeapardising their career success, but this story is done really well and with a slightly different spin.

This book is definitely up with the times and presents a very modern scenario that I think we all recogonise! It starts with a music executive offering a group of solo artists the chance of a lifetime, to be part of a boy band. This is followed by the ‘discovery’ of the final member at a local talent show. The group then take part in a reality TV show. They have to live in a house with a couple of other music groups and solo artists. They are filmed constantly, need to participate in challenges, spend time in the diary room and be interviewed regularly. Social media also features strongly with short parts of the story being told in tweets which gives a unique view of the fans view of the band and its members.

It is against this backdrop that Elliot and Danny start spending time together. They are under continual pressure due to the unique situation. They are getting to know their fellow band members, adjusting to their living arrangements, dealing with new feelings for each, trying to manage other personal relationships, dealing with the music execs….

Danny is “funny and adorable” and Elliot “might look like an angel but has a voice like sin.” They are immediately attracted but Danny isn’t in a position to act on his feelings. But the more time he spends with Elliot, he realises he needs to make some changes. “It was like everything else was boring shades of gray, and Elliot was a solar flare, bright and burning.” While Danny is struggling with his new feelings, Elliot is equally struggling “It was hard to remember that they were just good friends……Whenever Danny was in the room, Elliot had to keep reminding himself that anything else existed at all.”

Danny and Elliot finally get together but then enter a complex world involving stress, lies, hiding who they are, fake publicity and lack of support from the record company. The story is not superficial, rather delving deeply into the emotional turmoil of each man. Of course there is a happy ending and in true romance fashion, a heart-felt song written to celebrate their love.

4.5 stars

5 Stars

For more information on M.J. O’Shea and her books visit her website.

Buy Catch My Breath from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Finding Shelter by M.J. O’Shea

This is the third book in the Rock Bay series.

  • Coming Home (book # 1)
  • Letting Go (book # 2)
  • Finding Shelter (book #3)

Finding Shelter (Rock Bay, #3)Finding Shelter by M.J. O’Shea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Justin Foster has nineteen years of nothing but trouble behind him. After escaping his abusive father, he finds himself in Rock Bay, Washington, with his cousin Travis. Justin is bruised and has a hard time trusting, but with the help of his family and the small town, he might be able to heal.

Logan O’Brien is also new in town, hoping he can finally get away from his past and the memories of the girlfriend who shattered his heart. It doesn’t take him long to realize Rock Bay can be more than safe harbor: it can also be home. And for the first time in his life, he finds himself captivated by a man—by Justin.

Justin is attracted to Logan too, but he’s also wary. Physically, Logan reminds him a bit too much of the closeted jerks who used to beat him up after school. But after one awkwardly amazing kiss, he’s smitten, despite how his past and insecurities continue to haunt him. Logan’s love, faith, and stubbornness are just what Justin needs to believe their love is worth fighting for.

So what did I think?

I very much enjoyed how this romance played out!

Justin’s story is slightly stereotypical – he is a gay boy from a small town with a drunk and abusive father. After one bashing too many, he flees to Rock Bay where his cousin Travis lives. His cousin works in Lex and Tally’s coffee shop but is leaving town which means Justin can take his job.

The characters from the first two books all make an appearance (no significant storylines) but enough to offer their support to Justin. Justin does not have any friends, is not really very used to people and is still nervous.

“At least Rock Bay was big enough to have a few other fairies. Sure, they were a little too old to really be his friends in anything other than the boss and mentor category, but it made Justin feel better to know they were there.”

Logan, Mason’s best friend from book 2, is a straight guy who turns out not to be so straight after all! He is instantly attracted to Justin’s beautiful looks.
“And you’re not even a little freaked by it? Justin’s a guy, Loogs. You’re straight.”
“I guess everyone has their exception.”

I loved the way the relationship was handled with neither man rushing into anything. Firstly they don’t share their feelings with each other, Justin because he thinks Logan is straight and Logan because he doesn’t want to make the first move on the fragile Justin. Once the first move is made, the sexual exploration is also handled gently. “It was so new for both of them: Logan with a guy, Justin with anyone at all.

The plot was a little formulaic with some drama provided by Justin’s father but the book is more focused on the emotional journey as the two men realise that they are looking to a future together and what they have is not temporary.

A nice 3.5 star read.

4 Stars

See my review of Coming Home.

See my review of Letting Go.

For more information on M.J. O’Shea and her book visit the website.

Buy the series at Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Letting Go by M.J. O’Shea

This is the second book in the Rock Bay series.

  • Coming Home (book # 1)
  • Letting Go (book # 2)
  • Finding Shelter (book #3)

**This review may have slight spoilers for those who haven’t read the first book in the series **

Letting Go (Rock Bay, #2)Letting Go by M.J. O’Shea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Drew McAuliffe has lived in the small town of Rock Bay most of his adult life. He’d like to be happy, but not at the cost of having his private life under his nosy neighbors’ microscope, so he keeps his bisexuality under wraps.

After a messy breakup that caused him to pack up and move to Astoria, on the Oregon coast, Mason Anderson decides to avoid drama of the romantic kind. All he wants is to start over—alone.

But Drew and Mason were meant to meet. The long looks and awkward half hellos chance offered were never going to be enough. But when they do finally come together on the worst night possible, misconceptions and problems from their pasts get in the way. Until Mason learns to trust again—and until Drew learns to let go of who he thinks he is—a real connection is nothing but a pipe dream.

So what did I think?

I enjoyed this story.

Drew has lived in Rock Bay most of his life, playing by the rules which were largely dictated by the ‘in crowd’ at school. He is still friends with Brock, the homophobic bully who hasn’t changed his behaviour since high school, because Brock has contacts that could damage Drew’s business. But Drew is now querying the path his life has taken. “He wondered if at nearly thirty-three, it was too late to escape.”

In the first book of the series Coming Home, Drew had come out to his good friend Tally, finally admitting he was bi. Tally’s admission he was gay gave Drew the confidence to confide in his friend. Drew meets (or rather sees across the room) a gorgeous guy called Mason. The sparks fly for both men as they encounter each other a number of times without speaking beyond a ‘hi’. However, the road to true love does not go smoothly.

In this book, the timeline crosses over that from Coming Home so we revisit the events from the first book with some slightly different point of view. I had mixed feelings about this approach. In terms of providing a better understanding of Tally’s behaviour (why he kept seeing Brock instead of standing up for Lex), it was good. But I felt it didn’t do much to shed more light on Drew’s character and I just wanted the romance part to start!

The age gap was handled beautifully. Mason and Drew developed their relationship slowly and it was lovely to see the younger man excited to teach Drew about “passion and closeness”. “Mason realised it had nothing to do with skill or experience because all Drew had to do was touch him, and he melted all over the place.”

The men need to overcome a number of obstacles to find their HEA. Drew is worried that he is too old and Mason may tire of him or feel held back because his life is just starting. Mason has been hurt before by a controlling boyfriend and this leads him to interpret some of Drew’s actions incorrectly. Luckily there are some great best friends to push them in the right direction.
“So Drew makes huge changes in his life to be with you, you love him, and he makes a couple dumb mistakes, one of which he didn’t know was a mistake because you never really told him about Todd, and now you’re going to end everything over it?”
When Logan put it that way, he did sound crazy.

Overall this was an enjoyable book and Drew and Mason got their happy ending. 3.5 stars.

4 Stars

See my review of Coming Home.

For more information on M.J. O’Shea and her book visit the website.

Buy the series at Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Coming Home by M.J. O’Shea

This is the first book in the Rock Bay series.

  • Coming Home (book # 1)
  • Letting Go (book # 2)
  • Finding Shelter (book #3)

Coming Home (Rock Bay, #1)Coming Home by M.J. O’Shea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Tallis Carrington ruled Rock Bay with his gang of jocks and an iron fist-until a scandal destroyed his family’s name. Ten years later Tallis is dead broke, newly homeless, and on the walk of shame to end all walks of shame. He needs money and needs it fast, and Rock Bay is the only home he knows. But the people of Rock Bay haven’t forgotten him-or the spoiled brat he used to be. The only person in town willing to overlook his past is Lex, the new coffee shop owner, who offers Tally a job even though he appears to despise Tally based on his reputation alone. When Tally discovers his gorgeous boss is the kid he tortured back in high school, Lex’s hot and cold routine finally makes sense. Now Tally has to pull out all the stops to prove he was never really the jerk he seemed to be. After all, if he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of the town should be a piece of coffee cake.

So what did I think?

This book was a nice way to spend an afternoon! I loved both the main characters. The plot kept moving, drama interspersed with the romance of Lex and Tallis.

Lex was attracted to Tallis in high school (Tallis must have been extraordinarily good looking for Lex to be attracted despite how Tallis treated him!) but Tally was a terrible bully. Things go badly for Tally and after losing his job and home, he returns to town. Lex is such a wonderful and forgiving man that he offers Tally a job, despite the reaction of his friends, family and rest of town.

Very quickly Lex recognises that Tally has changed but not everyone thinks so because Tally has also been tarnished by his father’s actions. Lex looks beyond their past and sees the man that Tally is now.“He couldn’t believe Lex was publicly going to bat for him. Why? He understood that Lex had to stand by his business decisions, but it felt so personal. Like a victory.”

Both men quickly realise that they love each other but in true romance fashion, don’t want to admit their feelings. “Just tell him how you feel.” She grinned. “Why do men have to make things so difficult?” Just tell him. Sure. Easy as pie.

The story reflects on the past, how the characters behaved in high school, including Brock who used to be Tally’s good friend. Brock is an influential man in the town, although he is a drunk, a womanizer and still gives Lex a hard time about his sexuality. Tally plays along with him, delaying coming and out and in the meantime, not standing by Lex. This was the main part of the story that I couldn’t understand. For a man in love, Tally behaved pretty appallingly! Interesting, when you read the second book, it makes more sense. The timeline of the second book Letting Go overlaps with this first book of the series, and provides more insight into Tally’s actions as Drew explains what he asked Tally to do for him.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, loved the characters and it ticked the boxes for a happy ever after ending! 3.5 stars

4 Stars

See my review of book 2, Letting Go.

For more information on M.J. O’Shea and her book visit the website.

Buy the series at Amazon.

View all my reviews