Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie By Tyler Collins Blog Tour Organised By Jina Bazzar!

HulaBannerR final 11-28-2018

 

I am so happy to be taking part in the blog tour for a new and very exciting book Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by a very talented author Tyler Collins. This blog tour was wonderfully put together by Jina Bazzar who made sure everything was on track and none of the blog tour articles you see on this site or all the other participating sites could have happened without her hard work. Make sure if you get time to check out all the wonderful posts for the blog tour. Links to participating blogs can be found on the above schedule list. 🙂

 

So without further ado, I present to you all Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by Tyler Collins …

 

Image result for tyler collins can you hula like hilo hattie

 

Book blurb:

 

The aspiring detectives of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency take on their first official paying assignment: discover the secret of an elderly millionaire’s young wife.

 

It seems straightforward enough—until the wife is found dead in the sapphire Hawaiian oceanside.  As Jill (JJ), Rey and Linda strive to uncover the killer amid a cast of curious, unconventional characters, they stumble across several secrets and fall over a few bodies.

 

Piecing together the puzzle detours the trio—to the domains of drug pushers, informants, and gangs.  Serious game players, they play for keeps.  Does the trio possess enough shrewdness and savvy to beat the odds and win the game?

 

Interview With The Author

 

What is your earliest writing memory?

 

As an only child, my powers of invention served to entertain a lot, be it through drawing or painting or writing.  An avid Nancy Drew reader, imagination prompted me – probably around the age of eight or nine – to pen a few short mysteries.

 

What was the inspiration for Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie?

 

My love of Hawaii and the dream is to one day live there.  In the meanwhile, I thought I’d reside there vicariously through the trio from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  Hilo Hattie’s is a popular tourist shopping venue . . . but Hilo Hattie was also a real person.  A Native Hawaiian, she was a talented singer, hula dancer, actress, and comedian.  It felt right to incorporate an icon into the title.

 

Is there any fellow mystery writers who influence your work or who you like to read in your spare time?

 

With a full-time job and Mom-care, it’s tough to find time to do a lot of reading (something I’ve always very much enjoyed).  I’m a fan of Kellerman and Evanovich—the former for the gritty realism and the latter for the hysterical buffoonery—and try to read them as time allows.  Feeling nostalgic, I recently bought some classic Nancy Drew books and enjoy a chapter or two a day.

 

This particular book is from the Triple Threat Mystery series. In what way, without giving too much away, can readers expect to see a progression from book to book in the lives of the characters and their crime solving skills?

 

A great question.  JJ, Rey and Linda will hone P.I. skills with each case solved.  Because they’ll slowly but surely build a solid reputation, they’ll expand the agency to one or two other islands.  The trio will have off-again on-again partners.  One will marry.  One will suffer a loss.  And another will face a difficult, faith-challenging ordeal.

 

Do you have a favourite character from the series?

 

There are two.  I love Rey.  She’s melodramatic and impetuous . . . a real diva.  Though headstrong and self-centered, she has a good, kind heart (which she’d prefer no one notice, much less acknowledge).  I love Cash, too.  I suppose he’s the male version of Rey.  Overconfident and arrogant, and often annoying, he’s the proverbial “bad boy” that many of us are drawn to.

 

Do you have any advice for how readers should go about reading the series? Is each book a standalone or better read in the order they were published?

 

The Connecticut Corpse Caper, the first, was to be a standalone, but the gals decided to take their amateur [inadvertently acquired] sleuthing skills and go professional.  While it lays the foundation for the stories that follow, there is enough history in each book re previous cases/events that someone wouldn’t necessarily have to read them in sequence.

 

Do you have any favourite lines from book 2?

 

Yes.  When JJ impulsively throws a Taser and catches Cash in the head.  It’s one of my favorites.

 

She supported his head and got him to drink a third of the glass. “Do you deal locally or on the Mainland, as well? Do you hobnob with guys who have the status of the once-super-rich-and-successful ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross and Amado ‘Lord of the Skies’ Fuentes?”

He eyed her as if she were as demented as Norman Bates’ mother.

“Oh, sorry. You probably don’t want to share your criminal life with us. That’s okay.” Linda smiled and he closed his eyes in a give-me-strength cast. “Let’s get you upright.” She assisted him into a more vertical position.

He noticed her dressing. “Did she bean you, too?”

 

Did you experience any writer’s block in writing the book or any of the three books?

Writer’s block not so much.  I do, however, have severely stressful times and those serve to “block” my writing.

 

Has your family and friends read the series? What did they think of it? 

 

The only family I have is my elderly mother, and she’s never read it.  While I will share my writing with my blogging and writing communities, I won’t talk about my writing with those who I work with or are close to me (call it a quirk).

 

What can we expect next from your writing career?

 

I’m working on the fifth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series (“HA-HA-HA-HA”) and am tossing around an idea for a weekly installment book to place on Wattpad.  Given time constraints, I can’t do half as much as I’d love to, so for now, I’m taking each day as it comes.  I’d like to polish my blog and offer more than two weekly posts.  Editing and proofing are services I’d like to provide at some time, as well.

 

Where can readers find out more about your work? 

 

Please feel free to visit my WordPress blog A Writer’s Grab-Bag at https://thewritersgrabbag.com.  Readers can also check out Odd Woman Out on Wattpad (a weekly-installment fiction book that’s almost completed).  There’s Smashwords and a Facebook page dedicated to the Triple Threat Investigation Agency (which has daily posts about the gals’ adventures).

 

Thank you so much Tyler for being a guest on here on Culture Vulture Express! 🙂

 

To purchase Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by Tyler Collins go to:

Amazon

Goodreads

Barns and Nobles

Facebook

 

And for more about Tyler Collins and her work go to:

 

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

E-mail

Goodreads

Amazon

Smashwords

 

Excerpt:

 

Carmie was the main focus of the mission, so I dug around and discovered her name at birth had been Carpella.  She’d been born in Tenafly New Jersey to Joseph Leone Carpella, the owner of a popular local pizza shop on Washington Street, and Lina Spera, a former aesthetician.  Gino, Carmie’s fraternal twin brother, was currently a prominent businessman in New York.  At a young age, he’d recognized there was money to be made in food that drew townspeople for blocks.  A well-conceived business plan, leg power, and lots of charm resulted in his papa’s delicious pizzas becoming available beyond a twenty-block radius.  In record time, Papa Jo Leone’s product moved beyond the borders of the borough, across the state, and then the nation.

At twenty-five Gino made his first million.  Papa and Mama Carpella remained in Tenafly, but instead of living over the pizza parlor, resided in a lovely six-bedroom house with enough garden space to grow fifty bushels of Roma tomatoes.

While sister was slim, brother was heavy, not from fat, but muscle.  In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Gino had talked about an obsession with staying fit (evidently, it ran in the twins’ veins), but his went beyond the physical.  In addition to daily one-hour workouts at 5:00 a.m., he hit the books frequently to engage the gray matter.  He’d even made it an objective to take two university courses every year.

As I drove to Kalihi, I considered all the information gleaned so far.  It was edifying, but pretty rudimentary.  Would it prove worthwhile and time efficient to dig deeper?  We had to prove Carmie was having an affair at the very least, but discovering she was into something illicit or that she had something to hold over her husband would be best.  Did the past matter?  Probably not, other than maybe demonstrating she’d been a flirt or skank.  That would go to character and integrity and all that.  But if she’d been a flirt or skank, wouldn’t William have discovered that?  Surely he’d have learned all he could about Carmelita Sangita Carpella before he’d married her.

And why marry someone of such a common background?  Was it true love?  Or a need to prove virility and/or have a trophywife?  William’s first wife, Lucy, had been born to an aristocratic English family.  Fox hunts, high teas and Harrods had been part of the Howell’s routine—until she’d passed at the age of thirty, after five years of marriage.  A misadventure with a bunch of boisterous beagles during a fox hunt in Kent had cut her privileged life very short.  Like Carmie, she was slim and approximately 5’4” tall, blonde and blue-eyed.  Her nose, set between two incredibly high cheekbones, was quite pronounced.  Some might have called it Patrician if they’d been feeling kind, while others who were more candid might have called it for what it was: a Gonzo (as in Muppet) proboscis.  Snout, uh, nose aside, Lucy’s face held a noble and haughty air.

William remained single for four years and then met Lowella, the daughter of a Greek olive tycoon.  A whirlwind romance ensued.  They were married not quite eight months when daughter Sophia Bella was born.  Lowella passed after five years of marriage when a tractor-trailer totaled her and a Jaguar in oatmeal-thick fog along California’s SR 1.  Poor William.  He wasn’t particularly lucky in the sustainable marriage-love department.

I pulled into the Kalihi district and found a small parking lot in a tiny strip mall.  Before stepping from the car, I peered into the rearview mirror.  The peacock-blue cotton sun hat looked okay, but dark circles under the eyes didn’t.  I should have slapped on make-up, or at the very least concealer and lipstick, but really, why should I care that I looked tired and edgy?  The folks I’d be asking about Xavier wouldn’t.

I eyed a long, white clinic across the road.  Two young people, one scarecrow skinny and one sea-lion blubbery, shuffled from the entrance, whispered excitedly and anxiously shambled onward.  It was as good a place to start as any.  Maybe Xavier had dropped in.

My career as P.I. had officially begun.  Hopefully, in the process, I wouldn’t blow it—or get “blown”, as into bitty pieces.  What did I know about druggies and dealers other than what I’d heard at the stations I’d worked at or viewed on the idiot box, as Great-Uncle Warren called television?  My father’s uncle was the only relative I had ever known on that side of the family.  I’d never even met my dad.  When I’d been a baby, he’d taken a fatal roll down Mount Kilimanjaro during a botanical exploration (so the story went).

These folks had been babies once, too.  Innocent, trusting infants with lives to live and dreams to make happen.  . . . Or destroy.  Sometimes we made wrong choices; sometimes others made them for us.  And sometimes life simply wasn’t fair.

 

 

A Second Interview with author Tyler Collins:

 

 

Q1. What drew you to cozy mysteries?

I’ve been reading them for many years but I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries (which I’ve recently started reading again). Cozies have always been appealing because of quaint locations and settings, intriguing characters with often fun careers (cooks, bakers, archeologists), and non-graphic murder scenes.  While I also enjoy “hard-boiled” mysteries, there’s something to be said for stories that truly allow you to escape everyday life/news.

 

Q2. Do you write in any other genres?

I dabble with women’s fiction—a chapter from Odd Woman Out can be found weekly on Wattpad. It’s nearing completion, though, and I’m thinking the next “installment” book might be short stories about lessons learned.

 

Q3. What does the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series entail?

The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series is about three (still somewhat novice) private eyes living on Oahu. JJ, her cousin Rey, and Rey’s BFF Linda become embroiled in challenging if not crazy cases but, ultimately, they always catch their culprit without too many

 

Q4. Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

I’m very fond of melodramatic, part-time actress Reynalda Fonne-Werde. Rey is feisty and lippy, and believes anything is doable.  She’ll confront a villain with teeth and claws bared, and has no qualms about doing a little B&E if it will net answers.  Despite an army-tank approach and in-your-face attitude, she has a big heart.

 

Q5. Is there a specific inspiration for your series?

Nancy Drew, as mentioned. I read (devoured) her mysteries in my youth and wanted to be  I now have that opportunity—by writing the TTIA series and following the antics, er, pursuits of my three aspiring sleuths.

 

Q6. What made you decide to e-publish your work?

I’ve always wanted to be a published writer. Publishing the traditional way—or finding an agent—is very difficult, so I opted for e-publishing.  No regrets.  I’ve met an amazing group of like-minded writers/bloggers in my e-publishing travels.

 

Q7. If you could have a dinner party and invite three authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

My favorite authors would be invited: Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Shakespeare!

Q8. Is there anything of note you’re currently reading?

With a full-time job, taking care of Mom, and trying to maintain a blog (never mind writing books), it’s extremely difficult to pick up a book.  But I have managed to buy a few of the original Nancy Drew mysteries I used to read (was feeling nostalgic) and manage to read a chapter every day or so.

 

Q9. What about personal interests?

Writing, blogging, writing, blogging. <LOL>  I also have a fascination for / love of Hawaii, am interested in spirituality, and am trying to develop as a [better] individual.

 

Q10. If you weren’t a writer/ blogger, what would you be?

At this stage of my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. If I were a few years younger, however, I believe I’d like to have done food styling or catering, or something in the culinary world.  It’s another creative realm; instead of words, you use food.

 

Q11. Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or might you start a new series?

I’ve just started working on “HA-HA-HA-HA”, the fifth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series. There are plans for a sixth.  I’m quite fond of the Triple Threat trio, so I’m/we’re not ready to move on yet . . . but I’m tempted to write one of the books with Rey as the narrator.

 

Q12. What’s your favorite thing about being an author?

It’s fun (and challenging) making characters and situations come alive. I love being with the characters as they learn and grow; in essence, they influence how I learn and grow.

 

Q13. Do you have a set writing routine?
I write as often as a full-time job and Mom-care allow.  A dream come true would be to write and blog for several hours a day.  It’s all good, though; things still get done (it just takes a wee bit longer).

Q14. How do you pick the names and settings? 
A name will pop into my head courtesy of a television program, a newspaper or magazine article, or even a product.  If I have to “think” of a name, nothing comes to mind; if I do something trifling, like dishes or dusting, an array of them pop into my head.  As for settings, the Triple Threat Investigation Agency e-books (Caper aside) take place in Hawaii.  I know Oahu well enough that neighborhoods and venues are easy to select and describe.

 

Q15. What do you like about your main characters? 
The three gals from the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency—JJ, Rey, and Linda—bicker and banter.  They can be funny and quirky, and bitchy, and are [wonderfully] far from perfect.

 

Q16. How did publishing your first e-book change your process of writing?

It didn’t really change my process, but it did offer me enough confidence to continue. Seeing an actual cover—a product—provided self-assurance.  But after the second and third e-books were published, I realized I had to get out there and start marketing and promoting myself.  That in itself, however, is a full-time job.  So I’m not even close to where I want to be re my blog and e-books, but everything in its own sweet time.  J

 

Q17. What’s your favorite novel and/or character of all time?
I still love To Kill a Mockingbird and Something Wicked This Way Comes.  They’re books I read in school, fell in love with, and pick up again every few years.  The characters and settings seemed so real back then, vibrant and tangible, as they still do today.  When you can create such realism, you know you’re a stellar writer.

 

Q18. How social-media savvy are you?
<ROTFL>  Oh, that was a real question?  . . . OMG.  There’s so much to learn and constantly stay on top of.  Given time constraints and comfort levels, I stick with Facebook and Twitter.  While I signed up for Instagram, I truly haven’t a clue as to what to do with it (I’m not a picture-taker, at least not right now, but photography is something I’d like to eventually pursue).

Q19. Are there any common traps for budding writers? 
Trying to be “perfect” the first time out.  Not doing due diligence when seeking services such as formatting or cover design, editing or promotion, or marketing.  Not doing any form of self-promotion or marketing.  Not using social media to its/your full advantage.   . . . Do as I say, not as I do.   <LOL>
Q20. Any advice for aspiring writers? 
Believe in yourself.  Always strive to better yourself and your product.  If you’re serious about becoming a published writer, be it traditional or e-book, learn all that you can about the various components involved.  Completing a book/e-book for publication is merely the first step.

 

Q21. The mystery genre, regardless of type, is your favorite.  What about music?
These days I’m into K-pop . . . totally.

 

Q22. What’s your favorite food?
Cheese.  Fromage.  Käse.  Queso. Formaggio.  Ser.  치즈.

 

Q23. What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
My glasses.  (Seeing the world as a blur has merit on occasion, but not being able to read is no fun.)

Q24. You live in Canada currently, but have been known to say (declare, promise, affirm) that one day you’ll reside in Hawaii.  Is this still true?

The first time I set foot on Hawaiian soil, I knew I had to live there.  Yes, there’s that teeny-weeny [annoying] issue about Canadians not being able to live there permanently without a green card, but I’m maintaining faith/hope.

Q25. Name one thing you’re good at and one thing you’re bad at.
The good: scheduling and coordinating (I’m great at organizing, if I do say so myself though, sometimes, I spend way too much time at it).

The bad: scheduling and coordinating (I’m great at organizing, if I do say so myself though, sometimes, I spend too way much time at it.)

Q26. What do you like to do when you have free time?

Free time?  What’s that?  <LOL>

Q27. What’s your pet peeve? 
Bad customer service / rude people / me-me-me folks.  (The three fall into the same bucket.)

Q28. If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would that be?
One thing I’ve always desired: a great voice.  While I love writing, it would be awesome to sing/perform (without sounding like I’m choking on a handful of jellybeans).

Q29. What projects are you currently working on? 
The fifth in the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency series, titled “HA-HA-HA-HA”.  I’m finishing Odd Woman Out, which can be found in weekly installments on Wattpad.

 

 

About the author:

 

TylerC BioPhoto

 

Tyler Colins is a fiction writer and blogger, and a sometimes editor and proofreader (books, manuals, and film/television scripts).  She’s also been known to create business plans, synopses and outlines, and film promotion documents.

 

Fact-checking and researching, organizing and coordinating are both skills and joys (she likes playing detective and developing structure).

 

Her fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries.  Her genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and “affirmative” non-fiction.

 

She aims to provide readers with smiles and chuckles like the ever-talented Janet Evanovich and missed Lawrence Sanders, the “coziness” of Jessica Fletcher, and a few diversions and distractions as only long-time pros Jonathan Kellerman and Kathy Reichs can craft.

 

Book Trivia:

 

1- Hula is, according to Google: noun

a dance performed by Hawaiian women, characterized by six basic steps, undulating hips, and gestures symbolizing or imitating natural phenomena or historical or mythological subjects

2- Hilo Hattie, according to Wikipedia was: “Hilo Hattie (born Clarissa Haili, October 28, 1901 – December 12, 1979) was a Hawaiian singer, hula dancer, actress and comedian of Native Hawaiian ancestry.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilo_Hattie

 

3- Sam, a homeless fellow in Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?, was inspired by one of several the author met during her trip to Hawaii.

4- Xavier, the teenager with drug issues, was also inspired by that first trip.  Anti-drug posters at that time were quite graphic, if not horrific, and certainly thought-provoking.

5- The author set Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie in Hawaii because it’s a place she’s always wanted to live in; and because – in real life – the requirements to open a pi agency in Hawaii is less strict there than in the states.

 

Good luck with Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie Tyler. Hope it sells many deserved copies! 🙂

The previous blog tour post was on The BookWorm Drinketh blog by Nicole Campbell and the next post in the blog tour will be tomorrow and can be found on Plot Monster by MD Walker. Be sure to check them out when you get the chance. 🙂

 

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Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) By James J. Cudney Review!

Image result for academic curveball james j cudney

 

 

Academic Curveball (Released October 15th, 2018) is the first book in author James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mysteries series and the third book I have read by the writer following on from his amazing novels Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure.

 

This book is told from the POV of the protagonist Kellan Ayrwick who is 32 and a single father. He returns home to Pennsylvania following his father’s retirement and finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery (Like you do! J) when he finds not one but two murder victims. What really drives this book along so well is Kellan as a character and telling the novel from his POV gives readers a chance to really get to know him and root for him. Alongside Kellan, I really quite liked his grandmother and their interactions together were great to read. In the book his father’s donations to the athletics program in the college is under fire as a blogger is reporting that these dealings are somewhat biased and shady. This, alongside his father’s weird behavior, causes Kellan to wonder if he indeed has anything to do with the murders. Add into this his entire family has connections that could cast suspicions and you’ve got a hot bed of wondering and guessing about each of them and their possible involvement in murder.

 

This book is filled with intrigue, witty dialogue and an array of characters that are easy to like while others are easy to not like which adds quite a lot of depth and reality to the plot. There was plenty of red herrings to throw readers off the scent and I didn’t see the outcome of who the killer/s was which is obviously one of the key elements of a mystery book. Very solid writing which sweeps readers as much into Kellan’s life as the mystery plot.

 

All I can say is roll on book 2!

 

To purchase Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries #1) By James J. Cudney go to:

 

And for more about James J. Cudney and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17128817.James_J_Cudney

Father Figure By James J. Cudney Review!

Image result for father figure james j cudney amazon

 

Father Figure (2018) by James J. Cudney is the second book by the author following on from his first novel Watching Glass Shatter.

The book centres mostly around Amalia Graeme and Bianna Porter. Firstly Amalia grows up in rural Mississippi. Her mother is a tyrant (trust me, she is a million per cent unlikable) and verbally and physically abuses her daughter. I liked Amalia’s father and brother but as for her mother she drove me up the wall reading the sections with her. However that shows her mother was written well. Her dominant and power-crazed streak came through very much and makes the reader root even more for Amalia and her freedom. Secondly Brianna Porter who lives in New York City and is raised by a single Mum Molly and badly wants to know who her father is so she can move forward with her future. In addition Brianna is trying to figure out her sexuality and is falling for her best friend Shanelle.

 

This book has many of Cudney’s signature trademarks like family dynamics and a mystery element. In this novel the reader is swept along on a journey to find out who Brianna’s father is and it is told from different points of view and from different time periods. You get a real sense of the main characters’ backgrounds and how they come to be the people they are when the novel begins. It’s very tightly pieced together and all the elements tie up wonderfully at the end which is no small feat considering there was a lot packed into this novel. So many of the twists I didn’t really see coming either which is great in mystery. The emotions of the characters are very well-developed and there is definitely a feeling of one never stops learning in life no matter what age but you gather more ways to cope better as you go along. This book deals with family, identity, sexuality and the search for fulfillment and contentment. There is a fantastic array of characters and each add very much to the overall plot. My favourite was Shanelle. She was so strong, fierce and has no fear and I loved that about her. Also in Brianna’s parts, the book is set in the early 2000s when I was growing up and the elements like music were spot-on which made me smile.

 

Another great job by James J. Cudney who is fast becoming one of my new favourite authors.

 

To purchase Father Figure by James J. Cudney go to:

 

For more about James J. Cudney and his work go to:

https://jamesjcudney.com/

https://thisismytruthnow.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17128817.James_J_Cudney

 

For my review of Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney go to:

https://culturevultureexpress.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/watching-glass-shatter-by-james-j-cudney-review/

My New Book Rory Murphy Mysteries: Final Act Is Now Available On Amazon!

Image result for theatre mask

 

 

 

Hello everyone! 🙂

 

I have just released my 16th book Rory Murphy Mysteries: Final Act on Amazon. It is the third book in my Rory Murphy Mysteries series. In this book, Rory, his boyfriend Joseph and their friends and fellow couple Steven and Simon embark on the mysterious murder of theatre actress Mary-Anne Shepherd and soon find that her murder is connected to two other murders. But who is the killer/s?

 

In a world filled with disguise the four men must uncover the layers and find out what exactly lies at the heart of all this death in theatre land …

 

I love writing this series and with each book comes new characters who can play supporting roles to our main man Rory and his crew of four amateur detectives. I found the whole element of using disguises very interesting to work with in this book and I thought it fitted well with the theatre and acting. And it was nice to dip into Simon’s world!

 

If you would like to purchase Rory Murphy Mysteries: Final Act go to:

 

For books 1 and 2 in the series go to:

 

To purchase only the first book in the series Rory Murphy Mysteries: The Church Murders go to:

 

To purchase only Rory Murphy Mysteries: Trip To Birmingham go to:

Valentine’s Love By Helena Stone Review!

Image result for helena stone valentine's love

 

 

 

Valentine’s Love (2018) by Helena Stone is a beautifully crafted, heartwarming love story.

 

The story follows protagonist Ty O’ Malley who owns a gift shop called Spoilt for Choice and enjoys nothing better than helping his customers find the gifts they need to show their appreciation of those they love. Often these situations are with their significant others and while Ty is helping them, he is putting to one side his own emotional affairs in matters of the heart with the same sex and the pain and hurt he feels about the breakdown of his relationship with a man who he loved who left him three years prior. I couldn’t help thinking of Jane Austen when I was reading parts in this book because like Ty, a lot of her work was about romance and yet she struggled to find it in her own life. But alas, Ty is thankfully not going the same path as dear Jane as hope is on the horizon in the form of a customer who comes into his shop called Ben Cronin. With the help of Ty’s cupid-like assistant, there is now a chance for finding his own love of his life to buy gifts and shower in love and affection. But there is of course a snag like in all good ‘will-they-won’t-they?’ romance as Ben has come into the shop looking for gift ideas for another mystery man who has his heart all aflutter …

 

I think the chemistry between Ty and Ben is very natural and drives the plot forward with ease. You definitely find yourself rooting for them to get together and for Ty to finally move on from his arsehole ex-boyfriend. The emotions and fears that both men feel about making this big leap and adjustment to their lives is written very well especially Ty’s feelings on the issue as he has far more baggage coming into this possible new relationship. He is learning to trust again and finding it difficult to allow his heart to be put in another man’s hands again.

 

I also love in this book how the author fitted in a bit of social commentary and how it is often assumed that someone is romantically linked to someone of the opposite sex and is buying gifts for them. Though there is a bit more to that part of the story which I don’t want to give away, it was a point well made and something which needs to be brought up in fiction, and in general, more.

 

Another thing I loved about this book is that as an Irish person, it felt very authentic of Ireland to me. The characters in this book are like Irish people I meet all the time and that isn’t always the case with the representations of Irish characters in fiction. I mean the amount of times I have lost my shit over representations of Irish people involving leprechauns, a belief in mythical creatures and an all-round naive outlook of the world has been a hell of a lot. So I very much appreciated that the author did not use the stereotypical approach to the story. These characters are strong, everyday Irish people with human emotions and modern outlooks and that is the real Ireland that I live in every day. Also loved that Monkstown was the setting because my late and very much loved father was from Monkstown.

 

Ty and Ben are such a lovely couple to read about and this story is one of those lovely romances that you can sit reading with a cup of coffee and marshmallows and feel all warm and happy inside.

 

A fantastic read. Very beautiful. And a read for all year round, not just for Valentine’s!

 

To purchase Valentine’s Love by Helena Stone go to:

 

And for more about Helena Stone and her work go to:

https://www.amazon.com/Helena-Stone/e/B00U4Z7SF6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1537493193&sr=1-2

Loving A Straight Boy By Joseph Lance Tonlet Review!

Image result for loving a straight man by joseph lance tonlet

 

 

Loving A Straight Boy (2018) by Joseph Lance Tonlet is a short story about unrequited love.

 

This is a great book which deals with the subject of unrequited love and the psychological dynamics that are often at play in such situations. The protagonist and the straight man he’s in love with are both very flawed characters in the situation and both their personalities make an incredibly difficult situation even harder for them both. Countless times I have been in the position of the main character feeling love for a person it isn’t going to happen with and I understood the pain, the emptiness and the longing that the author has written very well in the piece. But the way he is handling it is all wrong. His approach is very forceful and he is not accepting that this man has a right to feel how he feels too. But the other man’s approach is just as bad. He loves the power he has over the main character and the way he relishes in the power he has over him is sickening. He is leading him on in short even though he says nothing will happen. His actions are very different from his words with a lad he knows worships the ground he walks on. He may not ever want to be with him but he wants to always have complete control over him.

 

Ultimately it is quite a sad tale filled with needs for love, possession and lack of understanding and communication. This piece is very thought-provoking and is sadly often what does happen when you put your own needs always before the needs of others. Both characters are quite selfish for the vision of their own future that they see. It is a story of a very intense and toxic friendship for both of the characters’ wellbeings and you find yourself wishing they would get away from each other, have some space and maybe the situation would become more healthy. Maybe they could even still be friends but be able to find happiness in their respective love lives and not be so wrapped up in each other. Because they both are for very different reasons.

 

A really great read with great insight into the emotional dynamics of not been able to pull away or to even try to.

 

To get your free copy of Loving A Straight Boy by Joseph Lance Tonlet go to:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/894616

 

And for more about Joseph Lance Tonlet and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8344230.Joseph_Lance_Tonlet

Watch Me (Extracurricular Activities #1) By Neve Wilder Review!

Watch Me (Extracurricular Activities, #1)

 

 

Watch Me (Extracurricular Activities #1) (2018) is the first in a series by a new writer Neve Wilder.

 

The series follows protagonist Nate Sanders, a college student, who thinks he is straight but his beliefs on his sexuality come into question when he feels strongly attracted to his housemate Eric. While Nate is masturbating, Eric accidentally walks in on him which causes Nate to wonder whether he liked Eric watching him in such a sexual state. After this he sees Eric with a male friend and a female friend and finds himself getting jealous. But Nate has other matters to attend to as well with his pending Calculus exam which is not a subject he is very good at (as it’s in the maths realm I could definitely relate to that!) but all is not lost as Eric is very good at Calculus. So Calculus hero Eric comes to the rescue to help Nate with the study preparation for the exam. But study preparation doesn’t quite stay that way when Eric agrees to help his bi-curious friend to find out if he really is into lads.

 

It is quite a steamy read which I don’t personally mind but if you like a ‘left to the imagination’ kind of story this series might not be to your tastes. It’s a very well-written book that explores sexuality and the search to find out who you are and I think it does so in a very authentic way. As someone who is pansexual I very appreciated that the author explored the area of sexuality from the perspective of the middle of the sexuality spectrum. A lot of characters in fiction tend to be either gay and straight and there is definitely a lack of representation in comparison of other sexualities. So it was nice to see that Eric was bisexual for a change. And while it was never completely made clear in this first outing whether Nate is bisexual, heteroflexible or is straight and simply attracted to Eric there is still a step away from a completely binary way of feeling in terms of his sexuality.

 

As a couple I think Nate and Eric have very good chemistry. Nothing seems forced or contrived. It all feels very natural. Their dialogue with each other flows very easily and there is the perfect mixture of tenderness, compassion and humour in their interactions with each other which helps the reader to want to root for them to get together and really make a go of things. This is quite a short read that you could finish in 1-3 sittings depending on how much time you have to spare for reading but there is so much packed into the book and you really get to know the characters and their personalities. Very rounded characters who really work well together and who drive the plot in a very seamless fashion.

 

A really great read and I look forward to at some stage soon embarking on the next adventure in the Nate & Eric/Naric series.

 

To get your free copy of Watch Me (Extracurricular Activities #1) by Neve Wilder go to (Free until September 30th):

https://www.instafreebie.com/discover/author/26867/neve_wilder

 

And for more about Neve Wilder and her work go to:

https://www.facebook.com/nevewilderwrites/