JC Chasez

“I see the beauty in your strength, baby
And you fight to keep in you
But I break down your walls with my army of love

Take a journey through my heart
It’s a test of fate
As we hold each other close, our spirits gravitate
Let’s drift into forever as our boundaries melt away”
Lose Myself

Rachel Spangler – Perfect Pairing

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Hal Orion is an accomplished chef and food truck owner. She loves her life, her longtime sous chef and best friend, and the food she shares with the residents of her beloved city of Buffalo. Her life is exactly how she wants it: no strings, no commitments, no roots- just great grilled cheese and a whole lot of freedom on the side.

Quinn Banning is an investment banker, and the dividend she seeks is a resurgence of the once-great city of Buffalo. Putting together her next business venture, she recognizes Hal’s talent and charm as necessary assets for success- her good looks don’t hurt, either. But Hal’s transient ways are in direct opposition to the stability Quinn craves. Relying on their shared love of Buffalo, Quinn makes Hal an offer she can’t refuse- a restaurant under her own name, complete creative control, and secure financial backing. It’s every chef’s dream. But Hal utters the one word Quinn can’t stand to hear, “No.”

Will their physical attraction grow cold as they argue over their ideals, or will they find that the most distinctive ingredients often make for the perfect pairing?

REVIEW
What’s up with all these lesbian authors and their sinfully delicious food descriptors?! I feel like I need to hit the gym a few extra hours after reading through their novels. Seriously! Packing on the literary pounds here reading about all this food.

In Perfect Pairing, Rachel Spangler brings out her inner-chef to cook a mouthwatering story for her readers. Sausage + Maple Syrup, Chocolate + Bacon, Beef Jerky + Rolo, Mac&Cheese + Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Banana + Peanut Butter, French Fries + Vanilla Ice Cream… Foods that are independently yummy, but explosively tasty when they’re paired together in a way that isn’t easily assumed. This would best describe the two protagonists in Perfect Pairing.. Where opposites attract and together create an exquisite entree of luuurve.

At first glance, Quinn and Hal couldn’t be any more different. Spangler presents an interesting juxtaposition in lifestyle and position for the two main protagonists in the story. Quinn, banker-extraordinaire, dresses like she’s going sailing when she’s in casual-ware. Stability, for her, is everything and she keeps her feet firmly fixed to the ground. Hal, chef-extraordinaire looks more like she just rolled out of bed in the morning and lives a nomadic existence. Quinn presents an offer that she assumes Hal can’t refuse, but when she does, she makes every effort to try and convince Hal to see things her way and stay in one place. Hal would much rather have her four-wheeled freedom and tells Quinn to take a hike. But Hal’s stubbornness has met its match in Quinn’s tenacity. These two have a lot to learn from each other, and initial appearances and impressions can sometimes be deceiving. They eventually find out that they have a lot more in common than they expected and the ways Hal and Quinn discover each other will keep you turning its pages.

This was my first Spangler novel and holy-moley, did it make me hungry for more! The chemistry between the main characters Hal (aka “Fryboi”) and Quinn sizzle like hot bacon in a pan from start to finish. This perfect pairing is definitely one that you won’t want to miss!

Bon Appetite!

SOUNDTRACK
1. Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back
2. Natalie Merchant – Torn
3. Nsync – Girlfriend
4. Merril Bainbridge – Mouth
5. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
6. Britney Spears – Sometimes
7. Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home
8. Melanie C – Reason
9. JC Chasez – Lose Myself
10. Justin Timberlake – (Another Song) All Over Again
11. Backstreet Boys – Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
12. Sarah McLachlan – Ice Cream
13. Melanie C – Water

CHEERS!
This book would be best read with a….

MICHELADA
-3 oz of tomato juice
-12 oz of Mexican-style beer (I recommend Modelo Especial)
-1 lime
-4 dashes of Tabasco
-2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
-2 dashes of Maggi
-Tajin
-2 cups of ice

Rim the glass with Tajin. Fill the glass with ice, squeeze the lime juice over the ice, tomato juice and beer. Add Worcestershire sauce, Maggi and Tabasco, and stir. Garnish with a lime wheel on top.

**Sneak Peek**

“Fair enough, but I don’t think you’ll have to wait too long. Give me three minutes to make a pitch and your gratitude for knowing me may just burst out of you like little rays of cheesy sunshine.” Hal sat on the bench facing out with her elbow resting on the table beside her. “When you phrase it like that, how can I tell you no?” “You can’t tell me no, Hal.” Quinn flashed a smile that seemed more practiced and controlled than the earlier one, but still very effective.

rea(d)rinking spaces – Eat Drink Americano

A few months ago, I caught a bad case of writer’s block. Everything that I wrote was crap! Utter crap! I dreaded my daily writing hour because during this time, I’d be staring blankly at my tablet screen or I’d be busy berating myself for not being able to produce a single paragraph that made sense. I was about a month into this dead zone when a few friends came over and we decided to spend the night binge-watching romantic comedies. One of the movies on our list was Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. There’s a scene in the movie when Alex (Hugh Grant) and Sophie (Drew Barrymore) are at this creative impasse (i.e writer’s block). Sophie suggests to Alex that they leave his apartment and take a walk around the neighborhood to eat new things, see new things, and try and find some inspiration.

Who knew that I’d be able to find indispensable advice from a rom-com? Anyway, the timing sort of worked out perfectly. Shortly after rom-com fest, I went on a trip to AZ with friends and during our time there, I had the opportunity to see and experience a lot of things that I haven’t before and witnessed two of my close friends getting engaged! Huzzah, love! And huzzah to my writer’s block being obliterated!

After the trip, I got to thinking that one of the things I’d love to share with fellow readers and visitors to this site, are the places that I enjoy going to when I want to read, or drink, or both. Occasionally, I’ll be posting reading spaces / drinking places, so hopefully y’all can grab the latest les lit you’re working on, head on over, grab a drink, and cozy up!

One of my go-to places is Eat Drink Americano, located in the heart of the Los Angeles Arts District. Eat Drink Americano is a cool little gastropub that serves tasty bar-fare and has a great selection of local craft beers and whiskey. Their well-bourbon is McKenna, which they use when they make old-fashioneds. Any place that pours McKenna instead of Bulleit into their jigger when they’re mixing cocktails is definitely a cut above the rest. Btw, if you do have a chance to visit Eat Drink Americano, do order their old-fashioned. Seriously! You won’t regret it!

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The decor of this place is off the hook. It’s sort of a Steam Punk + Americana style: red brick building, crazy metal art pieces, wood furniture, and this giant glass bottle chandelier hanging on the ceiling by the windows.

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During the day, it’s the perfect place to sit by the window and read a chapter or two of Gerri Hill’s Weeping Walls or Keepers of the Cave. If you’re planning on visiting Eat Drink Americano during the evening, the best time to go is Monday night from 9:00pm – 11:00pm when the gypsy jazz band Vignes Rooftop Revival are playing live.

CHEERS and HAPPY READING!

Eat Drink Americano
923 E 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Gerri Hill – Weeping Walls

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An abandoned old house in a small town northeast of Houston is the site of a second murder, eerily similar to a supposed cold case of fourteen years earlier. FBI Agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are dispatched to find the link between the two homicides.

The team, including Ice and Billy, find the case to be anything but cold. For CJ and Paige, juggling the investigation while trying to keep their love affair a secret proves to be as hard as uncovering long-buried clues. 

REVIEW
WARNING! If you haven’t read Keepers of the Cave yet, immediately abort! DO NOT READ PAST THIS PARAGRAPH! I would highly recommend finishing Keepers of the Cave before picking up Weeping Walls. You’d really be cheating yourself if you didn’t. There’s a beautiful depth to the story that would be better understood and appreciated if you start at the beginning. For those that have already finished Keepers of the Cave, this review is more like an extension of my previous review. Onward, we go!

Weeping Walls picks up right where Keepers of the Cave left off. CJ and Paige are working together on a new assignment involving a homicide, a cold case, and a haunted house in the town of Pecan Grove. Gerri Hill seems to have a real knack for weaving stories that scare the heck out of readers.

Stories can sometimes degrade down the line, from book #1, to book #2, to book #3, etc. The Southern Vampire Mysteries is a case in point. It’s like a car that runs out of gas and just eventually sputters to a rolling stop. Thankfully, this is not the case with the Johnston & Riley series. The writing is consistent and the storyline is just as engaging as Keepers of the Cave. Weeping Walls has a well-executed plot, and the character development for the main cast (CJ and Paige) as well as the supporting cast (Billy and Ice) is exceptional. You’ll develop a real fondness for this FBI dream team as you follow them on this crazy adventure.

CJ and Paige’s love story is what really shines in this series. They are both very likable and relatable characters, and the progression of their relationship is enjoyable to read. In Weeping Walls, CJ and Paige begin to see that what they started in Hoganville is becoming more than just a temporary affair. CJ and Paige both stumble into a place that they’ve never been before, as they allow themselves to let go of their fears to just love. The sex scenes are tastefully done, and the emotional aspect of their intimacy is powerfully written. What happens here is really a wonderful thing. Sigh. L’amour. I really hope that Gerri Hill will write at least another book or two for Johnston & Riley because this was friggin amazing.

SOUNDTRACK
1. Jose Gonzalez – Step Out
2. Shakey Graves feat. Esme Patterson – Dearly Departed
3. Radical Face – Secrets (Cellar Door)
4. Modest Mouse – Lampshades on Fire
5. Shins – Phantom Limb
6. King Charles – Gamble for a Rose
7. Matt Harke and Maggie Peake – Gold
8. Arctic Monkeys – Baby I’m Yours
9. Shins – September
10. Death Cab for Cutie – Soul Meets Body
11. Johnnyswim – Don’t Let It Get You Down
12. Ray LaMontagne – You Are The Best Thing
13. American Authors – Best Day of My Life

CHEERS!
This book would be best read with a….

SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER