Daily Archives: August 15, 2015

Ribbons and Frills by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Beaten Track Publishing

http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/ribbonsandfrills

Ribbons and FrillsBlurb

Ribbons and Frills costume sewing factory has always been about creating dreams, but when the owner asks his very upper-class son to take over, sparks fly, and not just from the sewing machines. The last time manager Gary Shaw saw Ashley Turner-Hoff was a year ago, when he left Gary standing on the beach with a broken heart and sand in his underwear.

Ashley Turner-Hoff has a plan to save the factory which involves one famous mannequin and a fashion show in London.

Can Gary forgive Ashley and give him a second chance? Can Ribbons and Frills really compete against top fashion designers, and do Gary’s dreams of being on stage finally come true?
Find out in this summer story of sequins, sand, and surprises!

Part of “Summer Bigger Than Others – A Summer Anthology” from Beaten Track Publishing.

Review

This is a very dark romance between a working-class costume maker and an up and coming designer who’s had a silver spoon between his lips all his life.

In the previous summer the two hooked up and it was a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING that kept them apart at summer’s end.

When Ashley, the boss’s son, returns to try to save the sinking ship of a factory where Gary manages a crack team of machinists and designers, Gary can’t let himself get pulled back into the charmer’s arms and get devastated again.

But… Ashley has always wanted Gary and in time he shows him how much.

**

I didn’t care for this story. There was way too much sex and not nearly enough talking between our MCs. I really wanted some heart-to-hearts to clear the air. I dislike plots that hinge on BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS from the get go, and this one was pretty thin from the outset.

Though I found Gary’s struggle and loss of dreams to be touching – the stolen van, the strange contest and the way Ashley sort of launched himself back into things never felt organic or real to me. It felt very contrived and I wasn’t very invested in the outcome because I was thrown so out of the story by the plot holes.

The writing wasn’t my style either, though it was technically done well.

All in all this just wasn’t my cup of tea.

2.5 of 5 hearts

2.5

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Making Nice Audiobook by Elizah J Davis Narrated by Michael Ferralulo

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6768

MakingNiceAUDMEDBlurb

Twins Blake and Bianca Dunlap have always been there for each other, ready to lend support and make sacrifices. Blake can’t imagine a bigger sacrifice than getting along with Bianca’s fiancé, Matt. However, Matt turns out to be more than the meathead Blake had dismissed him as, but Matt’s best friend, Ryan Everett, is a different story. Ryan seems intent on being an insufferable jerk as often as possible. The fact that Blake is undeniably attracted to Ryan only makes the whole situation more annoying.

Since they’ll all be stuck together for the long haul, Blake is determined to make nice. Unfortunately he overshoots, and he and Ryan end up on much friendlier terms than Blake intended. While he and Ryan agree there’s no harm in having a strings-free fling, that changes when Matt and Bianca find out about it. As more complications arise, Blake and Ryan become more determined to do what it takes to avoid letting them down. But the only way to ensure getting through a joyous wedding and avoid the questions neither of them want to answer is to convince everyone it’s something more.

Review

(From previously)

Blake and Ryan meet because Ryan is Blake’s twin sister’s fiancé. They immediately rub sparks off one another and sorta, kinda hate each other and at the same time want to f*ck.

So… they enter into a hate-sex sort of scenario, with neither of them really admitting that beyond the chemistry there might be a bit of something more substantial.

The premise is that at first they really DON’T like each other. Really. Blake is a pretentious prig and Ryan is a cavalier goof. Opposites attract and all that, so they are attracted to each other sexually but not emotionally.

Once they discover/admit this attraction, they want to hide it from their friend/sister because they fear/know that when it ends it will be messy if sides have to be chosen.

But… the family finds out so they admit to a “real” but fake relationship so that they family is comforted … but in fact they are still just messing around… Sound confusing … it sorta is.

And along the way, between the hating and the sexing and the pretending… they end up really caring about each other up to and including loving each other.

But… they still can’t communicate this to one another for various reasons and that keeps them apart for a bit… and then there is a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING which leads to a blow out fight which leads to… you get the idea.

So, don’t get me wrong, I actually loved much about this book… the writing is excellent and the wit exceptional (I laughed out loud in places) and the development of the characters is great. But there are a few things that would need to happen to make this a GREAT book.

First: Some major editing. It’s a LONG book that doesn’t need to be. Some have called this a “slow burn” but it isn’t , not really. They get together early on and then waffle about with the “I hate myself for wanting him but I can’t help myself”, guilt ridden booty calls for way too long. Then, once they are “fake-together”, they waffle about their “I love him but I can’t tell him or he’ll freak out” way too long. And the end… well, that’s another story.

Second: I loved the MCs and many of the secondary characters. They were funny and added to the story and added a lot of realism. I loved the exes and how they contributed to the story and the friend and the family, all shaped our MCs really nicely for us. Showing, not telling. But the MC’s lives were confusing to me. At one point Ryan is worried that Blake will judge him for not having a college degree when Blake himself is a nanny. And where does all the money come from? I kept expecting someone to have a trust fund because no one seems to work. And Blake has an interest in teaching Cello lessons but never plays or even listens to that sort of music. Given how long the story is, these kinds of details became more obvious.

Third: The BIG MISUNDERSTANDING leading to reconciliation. What should have happened is this: the big misunderstanding, the laughing and crying and forgiving, the making up and the “I love yous”. Instead we had to insert yet another bout of waffling and indecision that was patently not needed. When they do finally get things together it is rushed and unsatisfying after the pages and pages of waffling. I really wanted to finally see Ryan and Blake expose themselves and show their FEELINGS to one another and make me believe in their happy ending. Though I thought the epilogue was terribly witty and somewhat fitting for the characters, it did not satisfy my romantic heart, or make me believe in the final outcome. At some point the jokes and the insecurities should be laid to rest and the real emotions get their page time.

Overall, I believe this is the first full length novel for this author. As such, I think it is a wonderful start. I would definitely look for her again. However, I would recommend some serious editing in the future, as I think that simply shortening this would have remedied a lot of my “issues”.

Audio

Michael Ferrualo did an excellent job with this. He was believable and did a wonderful job with all the emotion. I really enjoyed listening to this and thought it added to the overall enjoyment of the book immensely.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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