Review: “Ten Mile Bottom” by Teodora Kostova

TITLE: Ten Mile Bottom
AUTHOR: Teodora Kostova
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 22, 2018
PRICE: 3.99 -e-book / 10.99 -paperback


Hitting rock bottom is just the beginning…
I’m a son, a brother, a friend.
A writer.
An addict.
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.”


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.


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 :

Review: “The Quality of Mercy” by Ari McKay

TITLE: The Quality of Mercy
SERIES: Bent Oak Saga
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Historical Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


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 ***


Review: “Pins and Needles” by A.J Thomas

TITLE: Pins and Needles
AUTHOR: A.J Thomas
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Jennifer Vance
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 300 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 25, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 –e-book / $9.99 -paperback


The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

Sean Wilkinson is 22 years old when his life is destroyed. As an Engineer, he worked on a ship for an oil company when he survived a terrible accident, and Sean lost his left leg and almost lost the other.
His dad, a tattoo artist, tried to hire a lawyer for his son, but with his biker looks and tattoos, the lawyer he met refused to work with him.

Nate Delany, a young lawyer working for his dad’s firm, decided to walk away when his father refused to acknowledge his work, and worse, accused him of stealing the work of the other partners claiming it as his own.
Nate decided to start his own practice and accepted representing Sean in court.

This book is one the best books I’ve read since the beginning of the year.

Sean is broken, hurt and has to fight for his life, and needs to figure out how to keep going when all your life is broken. He has to deal with re-education, learning how to walk, how to move in this new body with missing pieces. He also has to understand what to do with his future. He’s a kind of genius, an Engineer and a Tattoo artist.
He’s a warrior and a survivor. All through the book, I followed his evolution, and it was beautiful. It wasn’t all whining and crying, it was an internal fight between Sean’s dreams and his reality, and how he succeeds to put them together.

Nate is sublime, really sublime. He’s completely devoted to Sean. As a lawyer, he works hard to manage the best decision for his client, he fights hard and doesn’t give up. Even when his father tries to mess things up with him, Nate stands up for Sean. When Nate falls in love with Sean, he knows that the limits have been reached, and he tries again, to do his best protecting Sean. Even if it means hurting him. Nate doesn’t treat Sean differently because of his handicap. Yes, he’s more concerned, but that doesn’t mean he can’t see how beautiful Sean is, and wheelchair or not, he loves him just like he is.

I love their love story, it was beautiful but not too much, not too dramatic, it was just simple, and it works for me. Nate and Sean have both pretty bad backgrounds, even if Sean past was harder than Nate’s, it didn’t define them, and Sean helps Nate to express his opinion in front of his father and family, just like Nate helps Sean to accept things that he refuses to admit out of fear.

I love the plot, how 2 young men, whose people assume the worst, defy everything and everyone, proving, at every step, they are more than what people think.

This book deserves to be read, I really loved it, and Sean & Nate are absolutely awesome.

5 OptimuMM’s for the octopus and his nautilus (read the book, and you’ll understand).

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


Review: “What’s the use of Wondering” By Kate McMurray

TITLE: What’s the use of Wondering
AUTHOR: Kate McMurray
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback


Violinist Logan has spent most of his life training for a career in music. But as the pressure mounts during his junior year, he questions whether playing in an orchestra is the future he wants, or one chosen by his parents. His new roommate—that annoying jerk Peter from last year’s production of _i>Guys and Dolls—complicates matters. Crammed into a dorm room with the overconfident but undeniably hot accounting major, Logan can’t stop snarling.

Then Peter sprains his ankle building sets, and Logan grudgingly agrees to play chauffeur. But instead of putting further strain on their relationship, spending time together reveals some common ground—and mutual frustration. Logan discovers he isn’t the only one who doesn’t know what he wants from life, and the animosity between him and Peter changes keys. But just as the possibility of a happier future appears, Logan gets a dream offer that will take him away from Western Massachusetts University—and Peter. Now he has to decide: will he live the solitary life laid out for him, or hold on to Peter and forge his own path?

This is a sweet story of young love and about the trials and tribulations of wanting to please everyone around you. This story is set in college and feeling the pressure of living out parents dreams and not knowing what are your dreams. It’s difficult to know what your dreams are when you’ve been training all your life for a dream that has been ingrained to your brain for the ultimate outcome. Is this really my dream or is it my parents dream? That is the question for these two young men trying to find their way in this world.

Logan is a junior in college and is the concertmaster since his sophomore year. He has been playing the violin since he was very young with his parents pushing him to get into a famous orchestra. His entire life consists of the violin. All his extra curricular activities have to do with the violin, practicing upon practicing, being pit-master for school shows, and working closely with his teacher. This is all Logan does. Oh, and, he thinks about boys. Not that he has time for boys but he thinks of them often.

Now, this is where we meet Peter, the blond Adonis. Peter has the look of the perfect jock. Big broad shoulders, square jaws and let’s not forget those very powerful thighs. Peter is the one who is building the sets for the production Guys & Dolls. Peter wants everything perfect on the set and is kind of a bear to get what he wants. He is going to college to be an accountant but do you think that’s what he wants to do? Not even. It’s another case of what the parents want. He loves art and theater and has a lot of fun building these sets.

Now, Logan thinks Peter is straight and Peter thinks Logan is a brat. Their first meeting during the sophomore year did not impress either of them. Well, guess what? They are roomies at the start of junior year. LOL This does not impress either one of them but they can just avoid each other as much as possible, right? Not even, Peter gets hurt building a set and Logan has agreed to drive him around.

Will these two find a way to tolerate each other? Will these two finally find love? But, most importantly, will these two figure out what they want in life without everyone else’s influence?
I recommend this to anyone who loves a HEA and how life has a great sense of humor as to throw the two most unlikely people together to figure out life.

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