Alison Mello-Refuse to Lose

We have a new author on the blog today, Alison Mello. I saw her on FB and was like, sure I’ll be happy to read and review your book. Have I told you how much I love my life? Being a blogger/reviewer is cool af. I get a chance to read alllllll the things. I get a chance to share allllll the things with you. It’s a win/win situation for all of us.

So, Refuse to Lose. This is a sweeter and lighter story than I would normally read, which isn’t a bad thing. Even my dark and twisted soul needs some sweetness and light sometimes. It balances me out, and sometimes, when I’ve read a lot of dark all at once, I need to have something lighter. It’s like the pickled ginger that you eat when you are eating sushi. It helps to clear your palate and get you ready to go on. Of course, I’m the person who loves eating pickled ginger right out of the jar. I like it so much that my stepfather got me a jar of pickled ginger one year for Christmas. OK, enough digression. This book is a piece of yummy, yummy pickled ginger. It was good to read and it made me happy.

The story starts out with Stella and her son, DJ. They are living in NYC, and it’s been a couple of years since Stella’s husband was murdered. Stella has decided that she wants to take DJ away from NYC and to some place where he can grow up in the fresh air and sunlight, and she doesn’t have to worry about him walking down the street. So, when DJ comes home after the last day of school, Stella tells him that they are leaving first thing in the morning, here’s a couple of boxes, I’ve already packed your clothes, go pack the most important things you have. She’s done some research and has decided that West Virginia is the place to go. She’s not sure where, but she’s sure they’ll find a good place.

When they get to a nice, small town, she finds a diner where she and DJ can eat, and finds out that they are hiring, so she asks Misty, the boss, for the job. Misty hooks her up and voila, Stella and DJ have somewhere to live.

Six months later, Stella is still going strong at the diner. She’s renting a house from one of their old-timer regulars. DJ is getting ready to start baseball. And Trystan, who calls Stella sugar when he sees her at the diner, is in front of the judge because he was arrested on a DUI. The judge sentences him to community service as a little league baseball coach.

Trystan loves baseball. He was trying for the semi-pros when his National Guard unit was called up to the war. While he was there, his girlfriend Sophia cheated on him. When he came home, he started working with his friends at a construction company. On the night that he got arrested, he was out with his boys, and he was driving his friend Billy home because Billy was drunk as a skunk. Trystan isn’t happy about being sentenced to coaching, but the judge tells him that he thinks it will be a good thing for him and for the boys.

Those poor boys. They really have no real team going on. Their last coach wasn’t all that interested in coaching and everyone was glad when he moved. Trystan knows that he’s going to have to get the boys playing as a team, so he does what he can to build camaraderie. Meanwhile, he and Stella start getting closer.

Anyway, you know how it goes now. You don’t want the risk of spoilers, stop at the picture. You don’t mind spoilers, keep going. Like I said, I enjoyed the book. I did think that there were a couple of small places where it didn’t flow as well as it could’ve, but that’s just my personal opinion. And flow issues are something that happens to every author from time to time, so, in the greater scheme of the book, they didn’t really me overly much. It was a good story, with a lot of sweet moments in it. Trystan is a very good man, and he takes a lot of care of Stella and DJ, as well as all the boys on his team. He does really well stepping up to the plate there. Stella is a strong woman who has had more than any person should deal with, but she doesn’t let it break her and she has not only survived, but she’s also thrived, and has made sure her son has thrived.

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OK, I knew that Sophia was a problem, but I didn’t realize that she was a complete nutter. I didn’t like her from the first time we saw her, but I didn’t expect her to go to the extent that she did.

I’m glad that Billy found someone to help him fight. He needed that, and Daisy and Landon could really use having a man around to help them. I liked Billy. He seemed like a really nice guy, so that made me happy.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this. The book is on KU, so go check it out. Happy reading!

Livia Grant-Royalty, American Style: King of Baseball

Livia Grant has brought us a new romance. Unlike some of her other work, this one isn’t really kinky, but it is really steamy. Anyone who read Royally Mine is going to recognize this story or at least parts of it. It’s Livia’s offering in that book. However, she has expanded out the story, given us new bits and new info, and a whole new Christmas scene. So, let’s talk about Royalty, American style: King of Baseball.

Colt is a baseball player who has a long career, and he’s doing very well. He’s chasing a record when it comes to double-base hits. If he gets 94 more, he will have the record. That has been his focus lately. According to Wikipedia, which I had to use to check because my baseball terminology is rusty, a double means that runs are being driven in from 2nd and 3rd bases, and even 1st base, occasionally.

While he’s been working on that and playing in the playoffs for the Yankees, his agent ambushed him with a contract to a reality show. On this show, he’s going to go live in a house with 6 attractive women and end up choosing one of them. Think the Bachelor. However, since it’s on cable, think the Bachelor on HBO, where all the things that have been faded to black are now shown in living color. Colt isn’t very happy about that. Yeah, he’s been a playboy in the past, but this is a totally different situation, and he really doesn’t want to be on TV, but he has no choice.

Harper is a chef in need of both a job and a home. She was living with Giorgio, who was her boyfriend and her boss. That is, right up until she found him playing dip the sausage with another employee. Then, G was “nice” enough to recommend her for the job. So yeah, there’s that. Now she’s working as the chef on the show, cooking for everyone, and living on the estate in a glorious apartment. On her first night there, she makes her signature dish, a mushroom ravioli. Colt recognizes it as the dish from his favorite recipe, where she used to work and where she created it. He runs into the kitchen to meet her and gushes all over her.

Harper’s plan has been to just avoid the playboy man-whore named Colton, cook her food, get paid, and figure out the rest of her life. Should she go home to Illinois or go back to NYC and try to cook?

So, here’s where I’m going to part ways with you. I like this story. I like Colt, even though he plays for the Yankees. Boo hiss, Red Sox Nation 4-evah, yo. LOL. Actually, I grew up cheering for the Cincinnati Reds, since we lived in Indianapolis. My dad was a huge baseball fan, and all my brothers played Little League. Anyway, it’s a good story. I liked it in the original anthology, I like it more in this incarnation. The first sex scene is incredibly erotic, and I really liked it. I really want to try it sometime. This is definitely worth the money to pick it up and read it.

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Oh, I really hate Gavin, the producer. He’s a slimy little fuck. He gets his in the end, which makes me happy. Karma is a bitch, and then she bites you in the ass. I did the Nelson laugh from the Simpsons when I first read it and still did it this time too.

The Christmas scene is lovely. I like seeing the continuation of their HEA. I mean, usually that’s the end of the story, and the MCs ride off into the sunset perfectly happy. But, a real HEA takes work and negotiation, and all that stuff. We get to see some of it in the Christmas scene, and I really like that. I mean, yeah, in some places I’m perfectly happy to have the HEA be the end, but I always enjoy the rest of the story.

OK, as much as I would love to keep talking about this lovely book, I don’t want to spill anything more than I may have already done. So, I’m going to still my furious fingers of fire and start the next blog. Go grab this one and look forward to the next one, like I am now. Meanwhile, happy reading!