Category Archives: chef

Nothing Special 5 (Nothing Special) A.E. Via

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Nothing Special 5

SERIES: Nothing Special

AUTHOR: A.E. Via

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer

PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings

RELEASE DATE: December 12, 2016

BLURB: The boys are back and fiercer than ever!

We were a unit tonight, moving as one. Even apart, we are deadly, but when combined – we are f**kin’ unstoppable.” ~~ God ~~

Atlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele – who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team. God and Day weren’t recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they’re supposed to be getting married soon. They don’t have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.

A hothead that’s uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?

Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman, Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away, it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.

Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast… like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”

“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”

Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he’s willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.

Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there’s no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to surprise him… surprise all of them.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA. There are no multiple pairings in this novel.

EXCERPT:

Steele’s hands ran up the length of his triceps and around his arms. Tech tried not to shiver at the light touches. Thoughts of what Steele could do with those hands that were now on his body were causing a lot of feelings that’d been dead for a long time to spark back to life. Steele kept his fingers on his forearms and ran his thumbs down the insides until he reached his pulse. Steele pressed both thumbs there and Tech felt his knees weaken. “Your pulse is erratic.”
Of course, it is.
“You may not be afraid… but are you comfortable?”
Was he comfortable? That wasn’t something he could answer. Now, if Steele asked was he confused in his company… fuck yes. However, he was also pissed at himself that he’d admitted to this FORECON Marine that typing made his wrists hurt sometimes. He didn’t want Steele to treat him like a baby. “I’m not scared,” Tech growled.
Steele dropped his arms and caught him around his waist, spinning Tech fast enough to make him dizzy. His breath caught in his throat when he stopped only a couple inches from Steele’s face, having to slightly tilt his head up to look into those penetrating gray eyes. “You keep saying that. But your body is telling me different,” Steele hissed.
Tech didn’t dart his eyes away. He didn’t want Steele thinking he was insecure. Instead, he held those blown pupils and majestic irises with his own interested gaze. Inching in closer, Tech fought down his tension and gently placed both hands on Steele’s tight stomach. Maintaining eye contact, he slowly moved them up Steele’s chest, gliding over the defined pecs. Steele’s nostrils flared but he didn’t stop Tech when he gripped his collar and pulled him down closer to his mouth. Just before their lips could touch, Tech inched over and whispered in Steele’s ear. “I can’t control the way my body trembles when you’re near me, but trust me when I tell you… it’s not fear, Ghost.”
Tech used Steele’s classified identity, hoping it didn’t backfire like hell. But the way Steele’s hands tightened on his waist, he didn’t think it had. He’d taken the gamble, hoping it’d pay off. He was confessing to Steele what he’d learned from those documents, information revealing what the lieutenant colonel had to do – had to become – to keep himself and his men safe. Yet Tech was still standing there in the man’s arms, his cock as hard as a missile, flirting with danger… hoping he’d flirt back.

 

REVIEW: This is book 5 in the Nothing Special series and it is just an amazing read. Every book that this author has written has been nothing short of excellent. As always the case with her work, you’re awaiting her releases and when it happens, you find that it was well worth the wait. Nothing changes with this book. I don’t know what I love the most about her work; the reasons for me are many. Her characters are vividly portrayed in each of her books. The technical aspects of her work are always perfectly executed: the plots, storyline and dialogues; everything is an exercise in excellence. Her covers are always beautiful and with her series, neat and uniform which satisfies my OCD tendencies.

In this story, she introduces a new character (Steele) while staying true and showcasing the older characters. And the way she brought in Preston, Ric and Blair, the characters from You Can See Me, the prequel to the Nothing Special series was absolutely brilliant.

I loved Tech and Steele together. The chemistry between these two characters was palpable. Tech’s character was this wonderful mixture of sexy geek genius, shy guy and tough detective, innocent yet sexy temptation.

Steele is a rough and tumble former Marine and detective who ran to the ATL from another city after a friend and former partner was killed. Angry at the betrayal of his former department, Steele decided to leave law enforcement. His uncle refuses to let him give up on a career that he’s made for. He comes up with an alternative and moves him to God and Day’s unit. It’s there he meets Tech and sparks immediately fly between the two men.

These men find their footing after a couple of rough starts. The relationship they develop is a beautiful one filled with sweet heat. This relationship is the focus but what goes on between the other characters is equally engaging. The author does an amazing job of having numerous storylines going on simultaneously. There were no defined MCs in this story but that is perfectly okay as each side told was brilliantly done. There were multiple POV shifts but this too, was expertly executed. There is not confusion as to whose POV you are in at any time; the shifts are just that seamless. This author does an amazing job of maintaining her characters: she incorporates the past characters and introduces a new one.

I can’t say enough about how well this book is written and how much I enjoyed reading it! This author is truly a master of her craft.
 RATING: 🌟🌟Amazing🌟🌟 

 

AUTHOR BIO:

A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.
Visit my site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next

Links

Amazon Buy Link: https://goo.gl/LXaMrW
All Romance: https://goo.gl/M6JYv9
Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/DVKJ5O
Smashwords: https://goo.gl/psjFiu
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/e0aytf

Author Official Website: http://authoraevia.com

A.E. Blog: http://authoraevia.com/blogfann.html

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/aeviaauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorAEVia

 


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Crossroads by Riley Hart

Riley Hart Presents http://www.amazon.com/Crossroads-Riley-Hart-ebook/dp/B012BTIZPY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438279950&sr=1-1&keywords=crossroads+riley

 

crossroadsBlurb

After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner…

Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else.

Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that’s determined to trip them up at every turn.

(Fabulous Fan Art from Karrie Jax!)

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Review

Nick is newly divorced. He married his high school sweetheart (despite his mother’s objections) and was married (happily?) for 17 years before he found out his wife had been cheating. Now he’s moving on and moved into a duplex of his own.

Bryce is a player, always with a different woman, until lately. His recent health run pushed him into the arms of his best friend. When they realized (after the health crisis is resolved) that they were better as friends than lovers, Bryce is stuck with a family who will be disappointed at yet another failed relationship.

Bryce and Nick become neighbors and fast friends. Bryce is convinced Nick will be happier once he finds a new woman. The only problem is, the more time they spend together, the more neither wants a woman.

**

Double GFY people! Yes! It sounds so fantastical, but it is SO WELL DONE! Riley Hart is an amazing writer and she absolutely manages to pull this off.

She spends a lot of time building the relationship (as friends) between the two guys and then showing us that with an open mind (and an open heart) the two can explore their feelings for one another physically as well as emotionally.

I loved the similar yet different reactions each man received from their families. Though Nick had only ever been with one person, his feelings for Bryce follow a similar pattern and it’s totally reasonable that his mother would think he’s jumping the gun again. It’s also fair that Bryce’s family would think his impetuosity is throwing him into another doomed to fail relationship.

But… both men are being true to their authentic selves. Just like the motorcycles, Bryce KNEW Nick was THE ONE. And just like his cooking Nick knows his own heart and has to trust it where it concerns Bryce.

The sex is OFF THE CHARTS hot! But … so is the love. These guys aren’t afraid to reach for one another emotionally and it’s so very sweet and tender.

I loved this book – gave myself a book hangover as I had to read it all in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down at 2 a.m.

I can’t recommend this enough!

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

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Souffle’s at Sunrise Audiobook by MJ O’Shea and Anna Martin Narrated by John-Paul Barrell

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6679

SoufflesAtSunriseAUDMEDBlurb

“Welcome to a new season of Burned, where we find fresh new cooking talent… and a few culinary disasters! Every season we do something a little different, and this time it’s all about the sweet things in life. Get ready in week one as twenty pastry chef hopefuls and dessert connoisseurs compete for the thirteen coveted workspaces in our Burned kitchen. With stakes this big, we ask the one question on everyone’s mind: Do these chefs have what it takes to rise to the top? Or will they get Burned?”

Burned contestants Chase and Kai are attracted from the start and can’t wait to spend more time getting to know each other… until they see the first episode treatment and realize the producers intend to portray them as bitter enemies. At first it’s fun to pretend to bicker—enemies on film, lovers when the cameras stop rolling—but soon it’s hard not to take the faux rivalry seriously. It’s only when their choice is to band together and bake their way to the final or get burned that they find where their real loyalties lie.

Review

Both Chase and Kai are contestant on a cooking show. The producers decide that the two need to be “rivals” in order to spice up the show. They even have it decided whose to win…

The two men quickly become lovers, however, instead. There are a very few hurdles for the men to traverse, especially when they get together long term as Chase lives in Wisconsin and Kai in California, but those are managed easily enough.

**
A lot of this book happens “on air” while the cooking show takes place and to me it kept me distanced from these two MCs.

I never quite felt connected or invested in their relationship. The writing of both Anna Martin and MJ O’Shea is wonderful – as always – but I wasn’t really that enthralled with the romance.

The recipes are neat and the mocking look at reality cooking shows was funny if not a little cynical.

John-Paul Barrell does the narration and he does an okay job. Nothing too spectacular in terms of voice modulation, but easy to listen to for the most part. Sometimes he ends the dialog on an up note that got repetitive, but mostly this was an enjoyable listen.

For both the audiobook and the story itself 3 of 5 hearts for a nice, light, enjoyable read/listen.

3

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In the Distance (In the Kitchen Book 3) by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin

Carina Press Presents http://ebooks.carinapress.com/1B442965-C83A-4162-9AAF-8C8B7054CF71/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID={EEB8C335-52AD-4057-8FE3-8DA4E98AB89B}

in the distanceBlurb

Tyler Mitchell has worked hard to rebuild his life after his family kicked him out. A culinary student and sous chef who spends his spare time volunteering with kids, he’s happy enough even though he has no time to consider a relationship.
Trevor Pratt is finally getting over losing the one person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but it’s taken screwing every cute guy in Manhattan to get there. He’s vowed to repair the friendship he broke along the way, but that’s hard to do when his friend’s new employee catches his eye. Despite being warned to stay away from Tyler, Trevor turns on the charm.
Romance is a terrible idea. Trevor is ten years older and a relentless playboy. Tyler is still unsure of his place in the world. Neither of them is ready for life-changing love, but as things heat up, their chemistry in the bedroom might just take that decision out of their hands.

Review

Tyler has trust issues. He was kicked out of his “loving” family for being gay, forced to the streets, but rescued by Ethan and Jamie – two restaurateurs who help him to become a sous chef and get him enrolled in school.

Trevor is Jamie’s best friend, the proverbial playboy, and is 10 years Tyler’s senior. Trevor sees Tyler and wants to bring him out of his shell, help him to explore his new sexuality, but knows he will bail at any sign of drama or permanence.

Tyler is captivated by the older man but leery. Both Jamie and Ethan tell Tyler to stay away from Trevor, in fact they practically forbid it. But he can’t stay away and a tenuous relationship begins.

Oh, Tyler lives in Seattle and Trevor in New York – so there’s that, too.

Through some stolen weekends and many phone conversations and texts, the couple draws closer, but Trevor refuses to take it that ultimate step, fearing for Tyler’s heart.

Just when it seems the couple might be crossing some bridges, trust on Tyler’s part, commitment on Trevor’s, something comes up. They reconcile. Then something else comes up. They reconcile… etc.

Finally, after facing his awful family, coming to grips with what he really wants for his future and deciding that he has to value himself first, Tyler essentially boots Trevor to the curb.

When faced with absolutely no connection to Tyler, Trevor also begins to re-consider his values, fears and desires and decides that nothing is going to keep him from Tyler, especially not Tyler’s fears.

**

First let me say that I didn’t read books one and two. But I read the blurb and this sounded really intriguing and it sounded like a standalone.

I believe you didn’t have to have the background from books one and two – per se- but it would have made the story so much richer. Trevor and Jamie and Ethan have a LONG history together that totally shapes the story. Add to that, this is a long book, much of it filled with Jamie/Trevor/Ethan interactions that probably held more appeal for followers of the series.

There was a lot to like in this story. The characters are very well developed, and there is as much development of the secondary characters as the MCs. The emotions feel mostly authentic and each hurdle is handled realistically and thoroughly.

The May/December aspect was maybe downsized and rolled into the lack of experience/trust/playboy hurdle more than an actual issue of age.

The distance is handled really well, and very realistically.

What I didn’t like:
I never felt that connected to Trevor. The authors did too good a job setting him up as an unfeeling ass, and though he was good to Tyler, Tyler was so shiny and good that he really needed someone as wonderful to balance him out. (Tyler works all the time, volunteers when he’s not at school or at work, won’t take a handout, is demure about his talents, etc., etc.) Trevor just shows up, is hot, works a lot, pines over Tyler and never really shows himself as NOT being the playboy his reputation leads us to believe. He just wasn’t as likable as Tyler.

Add to that, Ethan, one of Tyler’s heroes, absolutely despises Trevor for some past sin (undoubtedly found in the other books) and this shades the reader’s opinions as well.

Another thing I didn’t care for was Tyler’s seemingly split personality. He’d be at once flirty and adventurous, then suddenly give Trevor the cold shoulder.

There wasn’t much time with the couple as a couple, and most of their interactions were via text or the phone, which were nice ways to develop their relationship, but we aren’t given much time at all to see them in a relationship on the same coast. It didn’t make me feel that the couple had a lot of potential longevity.

So, overall, I wasn’t that impressed by this. I liked the writing, the editing, the characters and most of the plot, but I wasn’t crazy about this couple or the length. Far too much time was spent on Tyler’s insecure waffling and it got a bit monotonous.

If you have read books one and two, this will undoubtedly be something you should read, and perhaps had I read the first two I’d have felt more warmly about this.

3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

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