Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Fool of Main Street Audio Cover 2374tfvTitle: Fool of Main Beach

Series: Love in Laguna 05

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: KC Kelly

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 9 hrs, 17 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (4th November 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teeny-bopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.

Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never under-stand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Fool of Main Beach is the fifth and final book in Tara Lain’s Love in Laguna series. If you haven’t read or heard the rest of the series, you really should, just so that you can do justice to all the characters, because I’ve become so emotionally invested in this, it’s crazy. However, this book in particular is good for those that love sweet romances with a splash of Hollywood.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, with incredibly relatable characters and deep romances, I’ve loved both Lain’s writing and Kelly’s narration. Both were excellent, although I’m going to say that I got a little annoyed hearing Audi pronounced as “Or-dee” as opposite to “Ow-dee”. Though I figure it could be an accent thing, like the ridiculous way Americans pronounce Craig (don’t get me started).

Onto the actual story, Lain has left the sweetest story to last in this series, and other than the pace of the story starting at a good speed and then slowing down at a couple points, there isn’t really much I can criticise. Quite simply, this is a sweet romance and full of heart.

Readers met Merle Justice in book 2, when Ru and Gray got together. Merle was the famous TV actor who starred in the stage production of Hamlet with Hollywood heartthrob Gray Anson. Unlike Gray, Merle has been out of the closet for years and while that has affected his career he’s been pretty comfortable as the lead in a popular teen vampire series (basically, he’s like the Angel or Edward Cullen of the show that he’s in). However, his stint in Hamlet introduced him to a group of down to friends, the very same group we’ve been following for this series. Now Merle is having a home built in Laguna when he can get away from LA, he’ll be close to his friends and in an idyllic seaside location.

One night on the beach some bigots try to attack Merle, but he is saved by a gentle giant called Tom Henry. Later, when he goes through his home with his friend and contractor, Billy from book 1, Merle finds Tom working on Billy’s crew. And now fate has intervened and is throwing the two men together. They start a really beautiful friendship, although at first it takes time for Merle to see that Tom is much more than his outside appearance. In this sense, Merle undergoes a lot of change and development throughout this story.

Tom is a gentle giant. He kind of naïve and has very low self-esteem, but he loves animals and will do just about anything for his friends. His naivety can be easily mistaken for some form of mental illness by the reader, I’ll admit that I wondered this, but in the end he is a pure soul whose doesn’t seem to be touched by the darkness of life. He just wants love and happiness for everyone. Even for his parents who have sent him away for being gay and will do anything, even sending the last of his money, for his beloved little sister.

Together their lives seem incompatible, Tom knows what he wants and knows how much of that he can get because in reality he is not famous as Merle and does not see himself as amazing as the man he could give his heart to. Despite the fact that they are amazing friends, it really does seem to be an impossible dream, to both of them but especially to Tom. But Merle is less accepting of the logical outcome, yet he must contend with his own preconceived notions before figuring out what’s more important.

Lord of A Thousand Steps by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Lord of a Thousand Steps Audio Cover 832bg3Title: Lord of a Thousand Steps

Series: Love in Laguna 04

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: KC Kelly

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 7 hrs, 42 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (12th December 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at 18 for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boy-friend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is look-ing better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of 15 years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to suc-cumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian – even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a friends with benefits fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an old guy who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Lord of A Thousand Steps is the fourth book in Tara Lain’s Love in Laguna series. This has been a wonderful series to listen to on audio, Lain’s writing translates well to audio narration and the characters are just so relatable. I was looking forward to this book because we’ve already met both characters separately in the previous books. The series revolves around one of the men in the featured couple battling his way out of the closet, while the other is out and proud but needs to support and understand the transition is new man needs so much.

KC Kelly has done a fantastic job performing the narration for this series. He nails the light-hearted moments just as well as he nails the tense moment, with just the right tone and distinct voices for the main characters.

Ian Carney entered this series in book 2, when he showed up on his much older brother Jim’s doorstep with a stray cat he found outside Jim’s place. Ian was about to go to college and be the architect he had always dreamed of being when their father disowned him for being gay. Three years down the track, Ian is living with his brother and his brother’s fiancé and the cat. He has become that architect he has always wanted to be. And the same boyfriend, Rico, he had when he arrived in Laguna is still with him. But when Rico goes to Mexico Ian is understanding and sympathetic of Rico’s situation, with his father potentially dying. Ian is the loyal boyfriend to a fault, even when he feels an attraction to one of his bosses at the firm where he works while attending school.

For Braden Lord, his life is a mess. His professional life is fine, he’s CEO of a major architectural firm. His personal life is a mess. He’s divorcing his wife, trying to keep his kids and she is after everything she can get her grubby hands on, including the company if she can. Braden is ready to not live a lie in the back of the closet. His attraction to the firms intern, Ian, doesn’t help but Braden is far too ethical to allow anything to happen. But fate brings them together, along with Ian’s cat and Braden’s kids, who both love Ian as well. If not for the conspiring ex-wife, their lives seem to just click together as the romance slowly builds once Ian can allow himself to give his heart to another after Rico.

I have to admit that this is probably my least favourite book in the series. I simply found Ian’s situation was vastly more complicated than called for. While there was no cheating or anything, the timeline made the plot feel rather compressed and I didn’t feel the development of the characters quite like I did in the other books until about halfway through this one. The story also employs one plot device that I feel is bit bland – the old evil ex, for both men, the lying rat ex-boyfriend and the bitch ex-wife who doesn’t want her kids so much as she wants revenge. Still, how Lain has written this in works fine and actually adds a little more drama into the overall plot.

Nonetheless, this is an enjoyable book and those that have been following the series will likely appreciate Ian getting his own story, I know I did.

Prince of the Playhouse by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Prince Of The Playhouse Audio Cover 3548hjTitle: Prince of the Playhouse

Series: Love in Laguna 03

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: KC Kelly

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 8 hrs, 41 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (6th June 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland has let obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of – great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Prince and the Playhouse is the third book in Tara Lain’s Love in Laguna series. This is a series that you need to follow in order to enjoy properly. The characters are intertwined throughout and now that I’ve gone through two books, I looked forward to checking in with the couples from books 1 and 2. When starting this series I had the niggling feeling that I’ve tried reading a book from the series before, not realising it was a series, and didn’t enjoy the book. And surprise, surprise, that book was The Prince and the Playhouse. I have to say, now that I’ve gone through the audios of this series in the proper order, I really enjoyed and has been looking forward to this story.

KC Kelly has once again done a great performance for the book. I really have no complaints. To be perfectly honest, I was simply happy that he didn’t use the voice he had done for Ru in book 1 here, because I really hadn’t liked that. Also because of that voice, I didn’t really feel particularly close to Ru. But Ru is a character full of surprises and his story was excellent.

Ru Maitland is an up and coming fashion designer, he works alongside popular designer Shaz (Chase from book 1), who is also Ru’s best friend. Ru hasn’t done well in the romance department; he has been more concerned with his career and making it in the fashion industry. He also has a massive secret which he has never told anyone of his friends, and that past is just about ready to catch up with him just as his love life and career begin to take off. Ru has been hired to work for a well known movie director, who has turned his hand to directing a stage production of Hamlet, with Ru providing his own unique brand for the costumes. This production is even more special because it features the world’s hottest action star as Hamlet, as well as one of the hottest actors on TV. Both men are attracted to Ru, but for Ru it is action star Gray Anson who is the main attraction. Ru has crushed over the movie star for a long time and now he meets the man in real life.

The possibilities aren’t exactly endless for an out and proud fashion designer and a closeted action star who is under strict order to keep that closet door firmly shut. Gray Anson isn’t exactly happy with how his life is going, mostly because every aspect of his life, including the people (women) he is seen with, is controlled by his bigoted manager. Gray knows he can’t offer a whole lot on the relationship side of things but he can’t help his attraction to Ru and the wonderful thing that his life becomes when they are alone together, because they truly can’t appear as anything more than friends in public.

The guys have a strong connection which I really enjoyed hearing. Although I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Ru even though he was ready and willing to keep everything in the closet for Gray. Gray as a character wasn’t entirely likable to me at first, but as the story progressed his character changed in positive ways because of Ru.

This was a fun story, a little bit Hollywood, a little bit gangsta, and a whole lot of love.

Knave of Broken Hearts by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Knave of Broken Hearts Audio Cover 3485bmpTitle: Knave of Broken Hearts

Series: Love in Laguna 02

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: KC Kelly

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 7 hrs, 46 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24th November 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Jim Carney has a full time job – running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at 16 because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job, and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems – a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable – but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares. How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital – when all he really wants is the knave of broken hearts?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Knave of Broken Hearts is the second book in Tara Lain’s Love in Laguna series. I would suggest reading this series in order, because it would make it easier to understand the large cast of secondary characters that we are getting to know. I love Tara Lain’s writing, I find it so easy to connect to, but in saying that I do think that I once tried reading a book in this series (without realising it was a series) and didn’t really enjoy it and so just became a forgettable experience.

KC Kelly, who is performs the narration for the audio of this series has done an excellent job for the second book. There is nothing really that took away from my enjoyment of the book, it was just so easy to connect with the characters when I started listening to this book.

The characters of the book are Jim Carney and Doctor Ken Tanaka. Jim was actually in book 1, a close ally and now friend to Billy Ballew. In fact, Jim now works for Billy after Billy took the big step to start up his own contracting business. Jim starts the book in a really down position. Being in the closet means that although he has been supportive of Billy, he feels like a liar and begins to revaluate his life as his new job begins to take off. To top it off, he has a tonne of baggage when it comes to his family as well, who he hasn’t seen in years. It just so happens that the doctor’s appointment that he has to attend for the new job leads him to the office of cardiologist Doctor Ken Tanaka.

Ken comes from a very traditional Japanese family. His parents love him and are endlessly proud of his professional accomplishments. In fact, his mother loves him so much and is so traditional, that now she has accepted that her son is gay, he is going to find him a good Japanese boy to marry. Because… well, tradition. But Ken is conflicted when it comes to his attraction to Jim, after all Jim is a patient as well as being a man who is struggling even more than Ken. But the two men, once thrown into each other’s orbit, cannot do anything but get back together.

However, it isn’t all roses. Ken is confused by his feelings for a man who would not pass muster with his parents, no matter how accepting they are. Ken has concerns for Jim’s health. Jim is struggling to become the better man he wanted to become. Jim also has to deal with his estranged family when his little brother arrives on his doorstep, desperate for help from his big brother (the two had never been close, due to their age difference). The guys have a lot of growing to do before the spark between them becomes a blazing fire.

Once again, I’ve loved the in-depth development we see of the MCs, but also love the support and getting to know the secondary characters in this book. I see that one character being in closet is the theme in this series. I don’t think its necessarily a bad thing because all the characters are very different have their reasons for staying in the closet, oh, and there are a lot of blue-collar construction workers. It is only when they fall in love that they realise that they can live in freedom. It’s a really sweet, heart-warming series, with really down to earth characters so far.

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Knight of Ocean Avenue Audio Cover 382yjkTitle: Knight of Ocean Avenue

Series: Love in Laguna 01

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: KC Kelly

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 9 hrs, 33 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th July 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: How can you be 25 and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help sup-port his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz – alias Chase Phillips – a ris-ing-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted – stalwart, honest, brave – but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in com-mon find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue is the first book in Tara Lain’s series, Love in Laguna. I’m very familiar with the author, although I have to admit I think I may have read one of the books in the series in epub format but I don’t remember at all. Regardless, I was looking forward to starting this series on audio, purely because of the blurb and my previous experience with the author.

Billy Ballew is a huge man, he’s a construction worker, he is everything that is blue collar. However, at the age of twenty five, Billy has only just allowed himself to want someone sexually. Before now sex and attraction has been a non-event for the most part. He was labelled as stupid most of his life and so he simply dropped out of school and began to work hard to make money. He has put all his energy to help his sisters through college. he has become excellent in his work, so much so he’s been urged to get his contractor’s license but is terrified of tests (linking back to his school experience). Billy really does know he isn’t straight, although he has never accepted it and mostly because he fears how his mother would react to his sexuality. For the most part, Billy is happy with his lot in life. Then he meets Shaz.

Shaz, real name Chase Phillips, is an up and coming designer who has become sought after by the rich and famous. He has no questions of who he is what he needs to do. Chase is cool and confident. As soon as he meets Billy there is a brilliant spark, these guys have a great connection and it was lovely to be able to see this spark of attraction develop between the two. At first Chase thinks that Billy is straight, and then after that both Chase and Billy must go on a journey of discovery regarding each other before they can contemplate a HEA.

Chase is interested in Billy as a man, but also in Billy as a person and it was so easy to fall in love with Billy through Chase’s eyes. In saying that, the same is true for Billy and seeing Chase through his eyes.

The narration of this book was performed by KC Kelly. On the whole, I really enjoyed the narration and the thought that Kelly did a wonderful job conveying the emotion from the words. However, the one criticism I have for this was the voice for one of the secondary characters, Ru, whose story is told later in the series. There was something about the tone that I did not like and I hope that it hasn’t been carried over to Ru’s story, because I’m just not sure if I could hear that voice for a major character.

This is a great start to a series. I’m looking forward to getting to the audio of the rest of the series. The main theme being that one of the MCs must come out of the closet so that he can embrace happiness and love. I recommend this to those that like a down to earth romance in an almost tropical locale.

Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hi guys! We have Tara Lain popping in today with her upcoming release Fool of Main Beachwe have a great guest post from Tara, a fantastic excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! <3 ~Pixie~

Tara Lain - Fool of Main Beach Cover

Fool of Main Beach

(Love in Laguna 05)
by

Tara Lain

The unlikeliest of lovers. The sweetest of loves.

Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.

Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?

Release date: 21st August 2017
Pre-order:
 Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback | Amazon paperback | Amazon ebook | B&N | iTunes  | Kobo

Continue reading “Fool of Main Beach by Tara Lain Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain, Blog Tour, Character Bio, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Tara Lain - Lord of a Thousand Steps Blog Tour Banner

Hiya peeps, we have Tara Lain stopping by with the tour for her newest release Lord of a Thousand Steps, we have a brilliant character bio, a great excerpt for you to check out and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! <3 ~Pixie~

Tara Lain - Lord of a Thousand Steps Cover

Lord of a Thousand Steps

(Love in Laguna 04)
by

Tara Lain

To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.

Continue reading “Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain, Blog Tour, Character Bio, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain

Tara Lain - Lord of a Thousand Steps CoverTitle: Lord of a Thousand Steps

Series: Love in Laguna #4

Author: Tara Lain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (220 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 31st 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4.5 Hearts

Blurb: To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.

ISBN: 9781634776660

Product Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lord-of-a-thousand-steps-by-tara-lain-7389-b

Reviewer: Aerin

Review: Braden and Ian are my absolutely favorite couple in this whole series!! I loved the first book but I have to admit I’ve been slightly disappointed by books 2 & 3. This book however was amazing!

There are so many things that stand in the way of Braden and Ian’s relationship: age difference, a messy divorce and a couple of kids, the fact that Braden is Ian’s boss, and let’s not forget Rico, the cheating bastard who didn’t deserve Ian’s loyalty. But none of those things seem to matter because the chemistry between Ian and Braden has no limits.

Braden’s kids were cute and lovable, especially JoJo, but at times I thought his 5 year old daughter was way too smart for her own age (too precocious to be believable). However, I LOVED Ian’s relationship with both kids so much; I was able to overlook certain details.

The sex is smoking hot (although not enough of it for my tastes), this couple has everything going for them while simultaneously having many things going against them; I’m telling you, there’s not a dull moment to be found! And if you’re a fan of pets in your stories, like I am, you’re going to love Anderson, the cat with enough personality to steal your heart. Anderson almost feels like one of the main characters with the way he dictates a substantial part of this story.

Great addition to this series, I’m wondering what’s coming next!

Lord of A Thousand Steps by Tara Lain Cover Reveal & Excerpt!

Tara Lain - Lord of a Thousand Steps Cover Reveal s

Hi peeps, we have Tara Lain stopping by with the cover to her upcoming release Lord of a Thousand Steps, we have a great excerpt for you to check out, so enjoy the cover and the post! <3 ~Pixie~

Tara Lain - Lord of a Thousand Steps Cover

Lord of a Thousand Steps

(Love in Laguna 04)
by

Tara Lain

To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.

Release date: 21st August 2016

Continue reading “Lord of A Thousand Steps by Tara Lain Cover Reveal & Excerpt!”

Prince of the Playhouse by Tara Lain

Tara Lain - Prince Of The Playhouse CoverTitle: Prince of the Playhouse

Series: Love in Laguna 03

Author: Tara Lain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 240 pages

ISBN: 9781632169648

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 4th 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Blurb: Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland lets his obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of—great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7550

Portia’s Review:  ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Ru has had a crush on Gray…forever.

Posed to finally have his fashion designs recognized and shown at Spring Fashion Week, he doesn’t have time to give to anything else. Until, the owner of his community theater asks him to design the costumes for a summer play, staring…(gasp) Gray Anson.

I LOVE this series.  The stories weave together seamlessly.  So, whether you read them in order, or as standalones, you are guaranteed an enjoyable experience. No one creates characters like Tara Lain.

For me, this was Gray’s story.  Ru was already on his second lifetime, and despite his little quirks, is happy with his life.  Gray, on the other hands, feels like he is living a lie.  A very lucrative lie, but a lie nonetheless.

And for me it was about much more than coming out.  Professionally, Gray learns so much about himself. And I loved watching Ru support him.

Truth be told, with a name like Portia, I probably would have loved any Shakespearean story that Tara had chosen.

If you love sweet romance, well-developed characters, enough intrigue to keep you turning pages, and a crash course on Hamlet…The Prince of the Playhouse is a must read.

 

Aerin’s Review: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts

I’ve been looking forward to Ru’s story ever since I first met him, because I have a certain weakness for flaming, artistic types and Ru is definitely that. One thing I can say with 100% certainty is that Ru didn’t disappoint at all! The other main character, Gray Anson, is who I had big problems with; his behavior was disappointing and infuriating, and I wanted someone else for Ru because Ru deserved better than being someone’s dirty little secret.

The writing was great, I can’t complain about that at all, and while some parts were totally ridiculous, they blended perfectly with the overall sense of silliness and amusement this series as a whole has. I really loved the complexity of Ru’s character, because what you see is a flaming, effeminate, in-your-face clothing designer, but what you get is a former gangbanger, slightly domineering guy who likes to give orders in the bedroom and who’s definitely a top. I just love the contradictions and the fact that they all fit together perfectly to make Ru a character who’s charming and who makes a lasting impression.

Ru has been fantasizing about actor Gray Anson for a few years now, and he couldn’t believe his luck when fate puts them in each other’s path. Gray Anson has taken the opportunity to expand his acting repertoire by accepting a role as Hamlet in a modern-day Shakespeare production. The instant attraction between them is obvious (to them at least), but Gray is so deeply closeted, his closet has a zip code of its own and Gray can’t imagine ever finding his way out; Gray is an action hero and we all know that gay men can’t play action heroes….do you detect a hint of sarcasm? Well maybe this is a real issue but I can’t imagine that people would refuse to watch a spectacular action movie just because the main character is gay; unless the actor has no talent for acting and is mediocre at best, which comes back to talent and not sexuality. But let’s suppose I’m that naive and have no clue what I’m really talking about.

There were a few plot problems that I couldn’t really believe no matter how much I wanted to. One of them is the reason Gray and Ru started spending so much time together; Gray couldn’t understand his character in the play and therefore completely sucked at acting. Let’s say that could possibly happen and nobody on Gray’s staff made sure Gray knew what he was getting into to start with. On what planet is Ru a professional acting coach? I get that there needed to be a reason for Gray and Ru to spend time together, but why couldn’t it be due to an inexplicable need to be around each other? Or the fact that they maybe enjoyed spending time together?

Also, I wanted to tell Ru numerous times that he should seek emergency medical services because an erection that lasts more than a few hours is extremely dangerous. Ru got so many erections that the current one didn’t even go completely away before the next one popped up again, that I became bored with his erections. That never happened before, but there’s always an opportunity to experience new things I guess. All these things I’ve been complaining about weren’t really all that bad considering I’ve started this book prepared for this level of silliness.

What I wasn’t prepared for and couldn’t really get past was Gray’s constant struggle with hiding his sexuality. I thought that Ru deserved better than having to see Gray with women all the time and being denied his true status. And the denial went all the way until the last chapter or so, and it really was disappointing and frustrating. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I thing two characters are not well suited together. This was one of those cases where I wanted someone else for Ru, and I believe Bernardo would’ve been a much better fit.

Overall a nice story, humorous and even a little fluffy, but despite Ru being my favorite character in this series, this was my least favorite book.

Knave of Broken Hearts by Tara Lain

KnaveofBrokenHeartsLGTitle: Knave of Broken Hearts
Series: Love in the Laguna, #2
Author: Tara Lain
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel (224 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (August 3rd, 2015)
Heat Level: Moderate/Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.25 Hearts
Blurb: Jim Carney has a full-time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility.

Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka.

Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares.

How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?

ISBN: 9781632169624

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6633

Reviewer: Aerin

Review: This book is part of a series and I recommend it to be read in order, because many characters from the first book are present in this one as well. I liked this book a lot more than I liked the first one, and that one was pretty good to start with.

I was looking forward to Ru’s story, so imagine my surprise when I realized I wasn’t going to get it this time around. This is Jim’s story; remember Jim from Love in the Laguna? He was very supportive of Billy and I liked him; in this book we get to know him very well. He’s a closeted man, to the point where he fools himself on a daily basis when it comes to his sexual preferences. I must admit he became aggravating at times in his determination to not accept his sexuality, and I might have felt the urge to smack him around.

Ken Tanaka is the sexy Asian doctor who takes care of Jim’s heart; he was my favorite character! I have a weakness for pretty Asian characters and Ken definitely is both. The chemistry between him and Jim is pretty easy to see, although if you’re looking forward to steamy, intense, melt-your-brains sex you might be a little disappointed. We do get the sex, but the steam factor is affected in a negative way by the constant humor and by Jim’s issues.

Whoa! Did I just complain about humor? But I love humor in my books! In this case humor was both a good thing and a bad thing. You know that invisible line when it comes to humor, which when crossed, makes a book too silly and less intense? That’s exactly how I felt about it. The sex had the possibility to melt by brains, but it was too silly and it felt short. Even so, this book was a solid 4.5 to 5 stars….until we got to the end.

The last two chapters were too cheesy, too silly and hard to believe. A very traditional Japanese mother MIGHT accept her son is gay, but she still insists on marrying Ken the traditional way to a husband of her own choice. Except all of a sudden at the end, she’s impressed with Jim, but not because of his shiny personality of his great quality of life. She came across as a materialistic, socialite, selfish person and I didn’t like her at all.

But hey, next book IS going to be Ru’s book and I’m so excited to read it! Is it here yet?
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain

KnightofOceanAvenueLGTitle: Knight of Ocean Avenue
Series: Love in Laguna, #1
Author: Tara Lain
Genre: New Adult Romance
Length: Novel (254 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 1st 2015)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3 ¾ Hearts

Blurb: How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, and brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

ISBN: 978-1-63216-576-3

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6281

Reviewer: Aerin

Review: I liked this book a lot, it was humorous and adorable! I loved Shaz, he was my favorite, such a sparkly personality in a small but magical package. Can you say Shazam?

The first half of this book was 5 stars, it was addicting! I loved Billy and his clueless ways, I mean he could’ve tripped and fell face first on a dick, love it and still not think he might be gay. I got a good laugh out of him, that’s for sure! And he even had gay cats, isn’t that so darn cute?

Shaz was just….Shaz! Never afraid to show who he is, Shaz was very brave in a town where it seems most of the population had homophobic tendencies. I loved Shaz (I know I said that before but it bears repeating ☺), which it’s a bit weird for me because normally very effeminate, outspoken, outrageous, in-your-face gay men are not my favorite. But somehow Shaz was effortlessly fabulous and he brought a lot of spark to this book.

The second half of the book was too cheesy for me, so maybe 3 stars. I needed some angst or something; I’m not sure what was missing, but I felt I needed something more. I found Shaz’s teaching ways very innovative; we’d all ace our tests if we had some Shaz magic in our lives.

However, I couldn’t stand Billy’s mom. What a freaking bitch! She was fine with Billy working his ass off to pay her bills, but she didn’t miss any opportunity to criticize him and do what she did best throughout the whole book: BITCH! I wanted to duct tape her mouth shut! She ruined this book for me, that’s for sure!

This was a great start to a new series and I’m looking forward to book #2, where Jim is going to mend his broken heart (literally). I was hoping we’d get Ru’s book sooner, but I guess some waiting didn’t kill anyone.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *