Review: “When He Was Bad” by Poppy Dennison

TITLE: When He Was Bad
AUTHOR: Poppy Dennison
SERIES: Coconut Cove
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romane
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 70 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 20, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 e-book

BLURB:

Coconut Cove: Book Three
Lights, camera… wardrobe?
Coconut Cove is television’s newest hot sensation. The glitzy teen drama set in the beach lover’s paradise of Key West is the talk of every gossip rag eager for dirt and hookup news on the hot young actors—like Levi Phillips, who plays the show’s resident bad boy.
Levi’s attraction to costume designer Whit heads into high romance when Whit orders Levi out of his clothes—in an attempt to save Levi from heat exhaustion, of course.
Sassy Whit knows just how to dress, and undress, Levi, and soon the sexy duo are steaming it up offscreen, which is no surprise to their friends and castmates.
But love in the public eye is complicated, and rumors pose challenges that can threaten careers and love….


I’m totally in love with this book. I can’t decide which book of the series I love more. For being a series of novellas, they sure do pack a lot of heat and heart. I love the chemistry between the main characters. The banter was laugh-out-loud funny. This book had very little drama and no angst which made it even more fun to read.

Levi Phillips plays bad boy Robbie in the Coconut Cove hit tv show. I love his wit and sense of humor. He was such a fun character to read. He’s such a trooper especially when the Florida heat almost gets the best of him. This poor guy is having to wear a leather jacket in the middle of summer for his character and ends up with heat exhaustion. Luckily for him, he was in the care of Whit, the sassy costume designer before he passed out. When Whit orders him out of his clothes, things go from hot to scorching as these two banter their way into the bedroom.

Whitney is the show’s sassy costume designer, and I just loved his tenacity and take-no-prisoners attitude. He takes his job extremely serious, so when his lust interest almost falls out in front of him, he does what he’s good at… gets him out of his clothes. Sparks fly, and these two are just downright combustible.

I definitely recommend this book, and I would suggest you read the previous books in the series. Every character has something special, and I’m enjoying getting to know them all.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Words” by John Inman

TITLE: Words
AUTHOR: John Inman
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Mystery / Suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: Jun 12, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

The world of writers, readers, and reviewers is a close-knit family of friends, fans, and fiction fanatics. That’s the world Milo Cook and Logan Hunter reside in—thriving on the give and take of creativity, the sharing of stories and ideas, and forever glorying in their boundless love of books and the words that make them breathe.
But sometimes words can cut too deep. And when they do, there is inevitably a price to pay.
What begins for Milo and Logan as a time of new love and gentle romantic discoveries, becomes before it’s over a race for their lives and for the lives of everyone they know.
Who would ever suspect that an entity as beautiful as the written word could become a catalyst for revenge? And ultimately—murder?


The world of writers, readers and reviewers is a close world. They all know each other. That’s how Milo Cook a writer and Logan Hunter a reviewer meet and start a relationship. While they discover each other romantically, murders are committed in the reviewer’s community, and everyone has the same question in mind. Is it their words that sealed their fate?

It’s the first book I’ve read by the author John Inman, and it won’t be the last. Milo and Logan are just adorable together.
Milo is a talented writer, funny and smart. He doesn’t believe in long-term relationships after the disaster with his ex’s infidelity, but Logan makes him believe that it’s possible. Logan is a professional reviewer who moves from NY to San Diego to start over. Logan doesn’t believe in a second chance at love until he meets Milo who shows him that it’s possible. I loved them; they were adorable, funny and sweet.
The book was very well written with a good plot and subplot. In my opinion, the main plot was Milo and Logan’s love story and in background or subplot was the serial killer and his victims. But at some point in the story, the two plots collided and merged together. It was very well done.

The author has a good style; his writing is full of descriptions and details. Sometimes it was a little bit too long but honestly, it was nothing. Most of the time I was hooked, and it gave me the feeling of being in the book. The serial killer’s scenes were like that, and they gave me the feeling of being the killer myself.

Speaking of the killer, I dare you to find out who the murderer is! The entire book, I had an idea, and the more I read, the more I had this little smirk on my lips (you know the one that you’ve got when you know something that others don’t). Then the big revelation came, and my smirk fell, and I made a beautiful “O” with my mouth, and I had the vision of the author with a smug smile on his lips and asking me “you know what??”
It was very good, and the twist at the end was great with a good rhythm and dynamic.

I recommend this book, it was a good Romance/Suspense book, and you’ll enjoy your time with Milo and Logan.

Its 4 OptimuMMs for the writer and his reviewer!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Ten Mile Bottom” by Teodora Kostova

TITLE: Ten Mile Bottom
AUTHOR: Teodora Kostova
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: self
COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 22, 2018
PRICE: 3.99 -e-book / 10.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Hitting rock bottom is just the beginning…
I’m a son, a brother, a friend.
A writer.
An addict.
Dead.
Cardiac arrest isn’t enough to keep me dead, though. The doctors brought me back, but for what?
At twenty four I’ve already achieved what most people do in a life time. I’m a successful author, own a flat in the heart of London and drive my dream sports car.
Or at least that’s what people see.
Once the spotlight fades, I’m left alone with my overactive mind, alcohol and drugs the only way to quiet down the noise.
Until an overdose nearly kills me and drags everyone I love down with me.
With the help of my best friend, I leave London and its toxic influence behind, moving to a small town in the outskirts of Cambridge to try and put my life back together again.
If only it were that easy.


Finn is 24 years old, a successful writer and a junkie.
When he overdosed in the toilet of a club, Finn, with the help of his sister and his best friend, decides to start over, for good, and for the fourth time.

After his rehab, Finn moves to Ten Mile Bottom, a small town near Cambridge, where he meets Ben, a handsome young mechanic.
This time, Finn wants to succeed at getting his life back, to be in control again, but nothing is easy when his demons still haunt him.
I had a real pleasure with this book.

Finn is maybe 24 years old, but he sounds like an old soul. He’s a self-destructive man, addict of hard drugs and alcohol and it took an OD, the heart attack of his best friend and his sister having a miscarriage because of him for Finn to understand that he needs to change. I loved Finn, not at the beginning of the book, I found him too selfish until I understood that he’s an addict, and because of that, he couldn’t understand the pain he inflicted on others. But when he finally understands that he can’t live like that, risking his life but also his best friend’s life, he makes a real change. Finn doesn’t try to find excuses for himself, and he’s lucid about his condition. I really loved him. I found him touchy and funny sometimes.

Ben is a young, hot mechanic. He’s 21 years old but very mature, calm and kind. He supports Finn in his rehab, he tries to understand him, and his fears, and because of that, Finn succeed in his rehabilitation. I really loved Ben, how calm, confident and kind he is, and hot, really hot.

I really love this book. It was a sweet love story, but not only that, it was also a book about a second chance (or in this case fourth). How sometimes a decision like moving to a small town at the bottom of England can change your life, or how inviting an almost stranger to dinner can be the beginning of the most beautiful story of your life. I liked it, I like this kind of book, when the Mc has to start over from scratch.

It was my first time with Teodora Kostova. I never read her before, and it was a good surprise. I loved her writing, simple, fluid and dynamic. I loved how she built her plot around Finn and the aftermath of his OD. It was an exceptional book that I read easily. I was hooked into the story and was surprised when I finished it. I’ll definitely read more books from her.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for me.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Happy Valentine’s Day !

The team of OptimuMM, wishes to all it’s followers  Happy Valentine’s Day !

 

About Valentine’s Day :

Roman Roots

The history of Valentine’s Day is obscure, and further clouded by various fanciful legends. The holiday’s roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day.”

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Valentines Galore

Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.

Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, the factual ends and the mythic begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.” Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

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Tradition of Valentine’s Cards

Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging handmade cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine’s cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester, Mass., began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.”

 

 

*Source : https://www.infoplease.com/valentines-day-history

Review: “The Quality of Mercy” by Ari McKay

TITLE: The Quality of Mercy
AUTHOR: Ari McKay
SERIES: Bent Oak Saga
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Historical Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Gil Porter and Matt Grayson’s Bent Oak Ranch in Mercy, Texas, is a rare haven for gay men in the nineteenth century, and their friend Carlos Hernandez will need it when a man from his past unexpectedly comes back into his life.
Jules Wingate hopes to start over in Mercy as the schoolmaster after a scandal sent him and his son fleeing their former home. But he discovers he’s left one bad situation for another when he encounters his former student and lover, Carlos. No matter how Jules tries to resist, he yearns for the passionate connection they once shared… before Carlos broke his heart.
Carlos knows his foolish, immature actions hurt Jules, but he desperately wants a second chance and to show Jules he’s changed. But trust so badly broken is hard to repair. While he works to earn Jules’s forgiveness, someone else at the ranch has his sights set on Carlos—and he doesn’t care how many lives he has to ruin to make Carlos his and his alone.


I really enjoyed The Quality of Mercy by Ari McKay. It’s the second book in the Bent Oak Saga. This is the first book in the series that I have read, and while Gil and Matt— from the first book in the series, Finding Forgiveness—are in the second book, they are there only as supporting characters. The book is a standalone and focuses on Jules and Carlos. I do, however, want to read Finding Forgiveness because I do find Gil and Matt to be great supporting characters and I want to know more about how they become a couple and start the Bent Oak Ranch.

I liked the storyline and the characters in the book. I did think that the story could have been written without the cheating element from when Jules and Carlos had been together in the past. I get that Carlos was young and not ready for a permanent relationship and wanted to roam and sow his wild oats but he could have just left instead of cheating on Jules and betraying their relationship in that way. I’m not sure if I could have forgiven him even ten years later for having betrayed me in that way. However, this is a book and not real life. I do think that the author has done a great job of showing that Carlos has done a lot of growing up and maturing in the ten years that they have been apart and that he’s ready to be in a committed relationship and can prove that he’s trustworthy. After all, he has plenty of opportunities to get with the hot younger ranch hand Caleb if he was still a cheater.

I did really like Jules and how he interacts with the children, and later with the ranch hands that he teaches. He also has a great relationship with his son, Alex, who gets a job at the Bent Oak Ranch and is assisting Carlos with the horses. Of course, his son doesn’t know that he is gay, but that’s the time period that they’re in. Where you can’t be out and proud and being different can get you killed. I liked that the Bent Oak Ranch is a rare haven for gay men in the nineteenth century. I also like how Gil and Matt play matchmaker between Carlos and Jules by having Jules come and live at the ranch when he breaks his leg and needs to be taken care of. I especially like when they move both him and Carlos into the empty Foreman’s house, which gives them privacy and forces them to be together so that they can’t escape their chemistry and attraction to one another.

Overall an enjoyable story. For me, the cheating aspect in the past wasn’t an issue, but I know a lot of readers don’t like to read books with cheating in it, especially when the book would have been just as good without it.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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