Tell Me It’s Real (At First Sight #1) by T.J. Klune

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Enter Vince Taylor.
Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.
But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.

TJ Klune’s books really need to come with a disclaimer… something about uncontrollable laughter followed by tears – sometimes simultaneously. Sometimes within the same chapter and more often than not, within the same paragraph. And for the record, reading it the second (or third…) time around doesn’t change a thing. I fall in love with Paul, Vince and Sandy – and everyone else all over again. Every. Single. Time. 😉

Paul is… well, Paul. There’s really no other way to explain him. His self-confidence and self esteem are at the same level.. zero. It’s not because he has people putting him down – he’s got a huge support system that includes family and close friends who tell him constantly how special he is. You don’t have to spend much time with Paul to realize that he is special and loving and as devoted to those he considers family as they are to him. He just doesn’t see in himself what others see, which is sad. Especially when Vince comes into his life, because there is no way in Paul’s mind that someone like Vince could possibly fall for someone like Paul. He spends the better part of the book afraid that it’s an elaborate prank. There’s no way that it could possibly be real.

Then there’s Vince, sweet, lovable, totally misunderstood Vince. I loved the guy and I loved that Paul saw in him almost from the start (at least after the unfortunate incident with the car) what others didn’t. Just like Vince saw in Paul even more than those who knew him best, Paul saw Vince in a way that no one else did. It became his ultimate goal to protect Vince from everything and everyone who even hinted at the possibility of hurting him in any way. Extreme, I know, but that’s Paul. He jumped first and asked questions later. That trait almost caused him to lose everything… almost.

Tell Me It’s Real was a light read in this author’s spectrum, but there were some parts that were heartbreaking… which is a trait that Mr. Klune sometimes carries to the extreme. Hence, the love/hate – author/reader relationship that I have with TJ Klune. You just never know what type of tears you will be shedding – so have the tissues close by regardless.

Somehow I inadvertently neglected to review Tell Me It’s Real the first time around, so that has now been rectified. Next up is The Queen and the Homo Jock King – which somehow I have no record of reading – but I know for a fact that I did. Stay tuned, because there will be “proof of reading” coming soon. 😉

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How to be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.
Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.
Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?

T.J. Klune’s books are a lot of things. They can be emotionally draining, beautiful, gut wrenching, thought provoking, witty, hilarious, crazy, fantastical – whatever they are, I never walk away from one of this author’s books feeling the same as when I picked it up. Basically, they make you feel. Sometimes more than one emotion in the same book (sometimes the same chapter and occasionally the same paragraph…)

From the description of How to be a Normal Person, you can probably guess where the feels come from. Which begs the question, what exactly is normal? Gus desperately wants to find out almost from the very first time he meets Casey. The craziness that ensues in that desperate endeavor is one of the most entertaining reads I’ve picked up in a long time. In true Klune fashion, hilarity is not the only aspect of How to be a Normal Person. I walked away from my time spent with the residents (and visitors) of Abby, Oregon wanting to be best friends with almost all of them, but mostly Gus.

I honestly could go on and on and on… but it wouldn’t come close to the full experience of How to be a Normal Person. I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this one, but I can pretty much guarantee that it will be added to my re-read list. Especially since there’s a sequel in the future. If you have yet to pick up a book by T.J. Klune, you can start here. Or, like me, you can start with Bear, Otter and the Kid, or Wolfsong, or The Lightning Struck Heart, or… anywhere. Just don’t deny yourself any longer. You can thank me later. 😉

Lovers Leap by J.L. Merrow

LoversLeapIf they looked, would they ever leap?
Good-looking, confident, and doted on by his widowed mum, Michael is used to thinking only of himself. Getting shoved off an Isle of Wight pier by an exasperated ex ought to come as a wake-up call—but then he meets Rufus and he’s right back to letting the little head take charge. Rufus is cute, keen, and gets under Michael’s skin in a disturbing way.
Would-be chef Rufus can’t believe his luck when a dripping wet dream of a man walks out of the sea on his birthday, especially when Michael ends up staying at the family B&B. Life is perfect—at least until Michael has to go home to the mainland.
Rufus can’t leave the island for reasons he’s entirely neglected to mention. And though Michael identifies as bi, breaking his mum’s heart by coming out and having an actual relationship with a guy has never been his plan. With both men determined to keep their secrets, a leap of faith could land them in deep water.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Okay, so there was absolutely nothing serious about this one, but sometimes that’s okay. It was a sweet, silly little romance.

Michael is spoiled and self centered, but there’s something about Rufus that makes him want to stick around. Rufus has his own secrets that he’s hidden from everyone, except for his best friend.

The comedy of errors that bring these two together and fueling the small town’s gossip mill, turned this into a light, humorous read. If you’re looking for something deeper, this one probably isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a cute, funny read, Lovers Leap will more than likely fill the bill.

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The Nerd Who Loved Me (Nerds #2) by Vicki Lewis Thompson

TheNerdWhoLovedMeShe’s got the high-kicks…
Lainie Terrell is no ordinary single mother. With feathers in all the right places, she’s one of the hottest showgirls in Vegas. Aside from a hot-tempered ex-boyfriend on her sequined tail, Lainie’s biggest problem is finding a decent babysitter for her son. Lainie’s dilemma is solved when she ropes Harry Ambrewster, the casino’s shy-but very smart and cute-accountant, into the task. 

He’s got the low-down…
Inheriting his chemist father’s high I.Q. and sexy good looks, Harry has always been intrigued by Lainie. He isn’t thrilled at the prospect of babysitting, but he’ll do anything to get near the gal who fuels his craziest fantasies. Then Lainie’s dangerous ex comes knocking…

Their option? Run faster than a pair of net stockings…
In disguise and on the lam, Lainie’s masquerading as the perfect wife. Harry’s doubling as the he-man protector. But with a set-up this hot, who’s fooling who? When the lights go down, and the masks come off, a nerd like Harry could be just the right ignition to set a woman like Lainie on fire.

If you’re in the mood for something light and cute, The Nerd Who Loved Me is just that kind of read.

Harry was adorable and a lot braver than he thought. Lainie was a great mom in an impossible situation. She wanted to be independent and get herself and her son out of the trouble they were in. She wasn’t used to depending on or trusting anyone. Needless to say she was a bit overwhelmed when a group of ex-showgirls, a mob boss and her favorite nerd all came to her rescue… like it or not.

The characters were great, the romance was hot but still really sweet. The situations were crazy and at times laugh out loud worthy. Throw in an adorable, intelligent and witty kid and there’s plenty of fun to go around.

Even though this is the second book in the series, the books don’t seem to be connected at all so I think you’d be fine jumping right in with The Nerd Who Loved Me. If you just can’t read a book out of order based on principle, the first book in the series is Nerd in Shining Armor.

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It’s All Geek to Me by J.L. Merrow

ItsAllGeekToMeJez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London—the temple of geekdom itself—Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress him, so he bluffs his way through comic book jargon . . . and then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception, and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with a Fake Geek Guy?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1It’s All Geek to Me was just plain cute. I know. That’s usually not the description that you expect from a M/M Romance, but that’s what this one was. The characters were cute, the premise was cute and the inner dialogue that Jez has with himself is not just cute but adorable.

Cute as it was and with all of it’s ‘Laugh Out Loud’ moments, it was way too short. It’s not that it didn’t come to a satisfactory end or that things were rushed, it’s more that now that I’ve been introduced to Jez, Rhys and even Tel, I want to get to know them better. I loved these guys and even though the story was a bit predictable, it was still a fun, quick read. 😉

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Wickedest Witch by Eva Langlais

WickedestWitchThank you for engaging the services of Wicked Incorporated, where the insults are given for free.
Evangeline is not a very nice witch, and she’s not afraid to show it. Her ruthless nature comes in handy as a problem solver until she lands a job where she’s forced to work with an uncouth shifter. He’s rude, cocky, totally unsuitable, not to mention part animal, but despite it all, she can’t help craving his touch.
Ryker is big, bad, and brash. When he’s partnered with a curvy witch, he does everything in his power to fight her allure. And fails. But he’s not too disappointed as he discovers wickedness has its uses, especially in the bedroom.
Vampires, a wedding from hell, and a cackling boss named Rumpelstiltskin, will these two wicked beings complete their job and admit, despite their stubborn nature, that they belong together?

This was my first Eve Langlais read, but given the fact that a lot of bloggers that share my reading taste liked it, I wasn’t surprised that I did too.

Evangeline was a fun character. She was definitely wicked, but not in an evil way. I know, that sentence makes little or no sense out of context, but once you read this book you will totally understand, honest.

Ryker was fun too. Evangeline brought feelings and emotions out in him that he didn’t know he was even capable of. Thrown together, these two characters were extremely entertaining. The supporting cast of characters was a lot of fun too. The interactions that Evangeline and Ryker had with them made this book even more fun. Do you sense a theme here?

Yep, Wickedest Witch was a cute, funny – not to mention hot and steamy, read. There was plenty of action and a little bit of mystery thrown into the mix. I can’t wait to pick up my next Eve Langlais book. 😉

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I received Wickedest Witch as a free download from Amazon on June 21, 2013.

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How to Date a Werewolf (Rylie Cruz #1) by Rose Pressey

Convinced that she will never find true love because of a family curse, Rylie dedicates her life to helping lonely local werewolves meet their soul mates through her company Got a Mate Dating Service. When she begins to fall for one of her clients and believes that the curse is finally lifted, her life takes a dangerous turn. 

Rylie, who is being tormented by an ex-client, must convince her new love that she is in serious trouble not delusional, as he fears – before it is too late.

I like PNR with a touch of humor. I like a book that has a bit of humor thrown in. I love werewolves and characters with spunk. How to Date a Werewolf had all that, yet for some reason it just didn’t grab me.

I’m not sure what it was. The story was good. The characters were engaging. The dialogue flowed easily. There was just something about this one that didn’t make me fall in love with it.

Don’t fret though. That doesn’t mean that I’m not recommending it. I think the Rylie Cruz series has definite potential and I’m not abandoning it at all. I’ll get around to reading the rest of the series, I’m just not scrambling to pick up the next one.

If you’d like to find out what other people thought about How to Date a Werewolf, check out these reviews.

Karen Fowler’s GoodReads Review 

Amanda’s On a Book Bender Review

Dana Burnett’s GoodReads Review

I received How to Date a Werewolf as a free download from Amazon on October 6, 2012

The Vampire Club by J.R. Rain and Scott Nicholson

Over 150 years ago, a man was killed with a silver bullet in a rural, Pennsylvanian town. A man who just might be a vampire.

The Vampire Club, a group of misfits who meet regularly in the basement of Western Virginia University’s library, think that they might have found their first documented case of a real vampire. Better yet, the Club thinks that the vampire might still be alive to this day, lying comatose in a hidden grave. And this is good news indeed for a group of vampire lovers.

The hunt begins, and as they close in on their immortal prize, they soon realize that they aren’t the only ones interested in the vampire; indeed, a powerful group of killers will use whatever means possible to keep the vampire permanently in its grave.

The first in a series that features The Vampire Club, a group of lovable, laughable, larcenous college students turned vampire hunters.

Okay, if you don’t like silly, campy, slap-stick humor, you won’t appreciate this story at all. Just a word of warning. To be honest, it’s not exactly my favorite genre either, but who doesn’t like to be silly every now and then? This book proves that neither J.R. Rain or Scott Nicholson take themselves too seriously, and that’s refreshing. The rest of the books in this collection have a touch of humor but not to this extent. It was actually a pretty entertaining read and a nice break from the usual paranormal fare. Basically, if you’re looking for a nice diversion that will have you either slapping your palm to your forehead, moaning in disbelief that they actually did ‘go there,’ laughing out loud and at times doing all three at once, this book is perfect. 😉

I read The Vampire Club as the third book in the Dark Spells 4-Book set. I’ll be picking these up one at a time. I’ve also downloaded a couple of them separately, so you’ll have to bare with me. I’ll try not to confuse you too much. 😉

I received The Vampire Club as part of the 4-Book set of Dark Spells from Amazon on September 2, 2012.

Fairystruck by J.L. Bryan: Bout-of-Books 4.0 Review

With their first single shooting up the Billboard charts, the Zebras hit the road as the opening band for an epic stadium tour across America. The future looks bright for the band, if they can survive the rioting fans, Queen Mab of Faerie, the dullahan, and the evil teddy bears.

Aoide the Lutist and Liadan the banshee wolf cross into man-world on the trail of the stolen fairy instruments. Aoide is shocked at the strangeness of life among the humans, but she also learns about a thrilling new kind of music never heard in Faerie…rock and roll.

Okay, things are getting interesting now. Not that they weren’t before, but more and more characters are added with each book and the reader is learning more and more about each of the existing characters all the time. J.L. Bryan definitely has our attention now.

Jason, Dred, Erin and Mitch/Mick are finding out life on the road isn’t always fun. Aoide and Liandan learn all sorts of things about the mortal world that they didn’t know before. Queen Mab is pulling out every evil member of Fae that she can to get the instruments back and we are finding out exactly how low some of these bad guys will go to get exactly what they want. Regardless of who stands in their way.

I really like the direction that J.L. Bryan is taking this series. Of course it can be silly at times (assassin Teddy bears, for instance?) but somehow it all works and just keeps things interesting…. really, really interesting. There are also a couple of characters that are still getting on my nerves (mainly Mitch, Zach and Jason’s parents) but every series has to have a couple of those, right?

Fairystruck ends with the fate of a lot of characters hanging in the balance, so it’s no surprise that I will be among other loyal readers begging for the next installment. 😉

Intentions of the Earl by Rose Gordon: Bout-of-Books 4.0 Review

When the impoverished Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, hits rock bottom, he makes an agreement that will end his eight year poverty streak once and for all. In order to gain his fortune he must do but one simple thing: ruin an innocent girl’s reputation enough to make her flee to America.

Brooke Banks isn’t interested in marriage, or so she thinks. She came to London to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Widely known for her tendency to flout the rules, she suspects nothing when a handsome stranger appears on her doorstep.

Thirteen days, a handful of kisses and one scandalous situation later, Andrew and Brooke will have to choose to stick to their original plans, or decide if a life together is worth the risk.

Ever start reading a book that you didn’t really intend to? I know, unless you are a true reading addict, with a serious problem, in need of a 12-step program, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. However, I bet that at least some of the readers who stop by here know exactly what I mean. That’s how I stumbled upon Intentions of the Earl. I was flipping through my free reads on my Kindle, hunting for something quick to read before I went to sleep. What I thought was probably another short, sweet novella, turned into this full length novel. Once I started reading it, I just couldn’t stop. *sigh*

Intentions of the Earl is one of those books that is just fun to read. Every once in a while you need a book like that. No lessons learned, no heavy drama, just light, witty reading. It wasn’t quite as risque as the title might suggest, although there were some steamy kisses and the potential for a picnic tryst, if not for the bout of laughter that stopped it. As mentioned, the main entertainment in this one came from the wit and comical moments. The characters were just funny. You knew how it was going to end probably from the beginning, but the book kept you reading to see exactly how these characters were going to get out of the situations that they put themselves in.

There are at least 2 more books in the series which I’m not sure if I will pick up or not. Regardless, there are two more Scandalous Sisters that the Banks family needs to get married off. 😉

I received Intentions of the Earl as a free download from Amazon on April 22, 2012.