Rachel Spangler – Perfect Pairing

PerfectPairing.jpg

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.

Miranda Macleod – A Road Through Mountains

ARTMCoverMedium.jpg

When Cecily Parker volunteers backstage at the Oakwood Theater, the only thing she wants is a few hours of relief from the doldrums of her upper-class suburban existence. The last thing she expects is to be reunited with the only person she ever truly loved, a woman she left behind almost twenty years ago. 

Rorie Mulloy has build a career as an award-winning production designer in Hollywood, but her personal life is anything but a success. When she agrees to design the sets for a community theater production of A Streetcar Named Desire in Connecticut, she has no idea that the woman who broke her heart and ruined her for love will be assigned to her crew.

As the sparks are rekindled between them, these star-crossed lovers just might have a second chance at love. But only if they can overcome the ghosts of their past, and survive the sometimes comic cast of characters determined to keep them from their happily ever after. 

REVIEW
Some people look forward to spring flowers or summer sun around this time of year. I look forward to ROYGBIV, since it’s….. (drumroll)…. PRIDE SEASON! Right now, my neighborhood (gayborhood, really) is bursting with color as businesses and residents pitch their rainbow flags and equality signs. It’s a wonderful feeling to enjoy brunch with your closest friends at a local breakfast cafe that supports LGBT. That’s something I never take for granted.

Pride Season is also when everyone “in the scene”, in the periphery, or out in hiding gather in one square mile to celebrate. We’re watching (or marching in) the parade together, line-dancing in the Country tent, guzzling down over-priced booze, and also… (dun dun dun) running into our ex-girlfriend (or ex-boyfriends). For those of us that have this experience, you know that it’s the MOST. AWKWARD. THING. EVER.

Cecily doesn’t run into Rorie at Pride but at a local theater, so it might as well be. 😉 There are few places that are as inclusive as a theater for those that are of the straight and non-straight persuasion.

In William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Jacque’s monologue that begins, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” is perfect in describing the succession of stages in Cecily’s perfectly planned life. She’s the lead actress who’s expected to play her role and move seamlessly from scene to scene: growing up, attending university, joining a sorority, marrying a rich husband, a house with a white picket fence, two children and a dog, etc. When Cecily meets Rorie, Cecily loses all her lines. The irony is that Rorie assumes that Cecily was only pretending with her, when the truth is really the exact opposite. Cecily has only been most authentically herself with Rorie. It’s only when Cecily goes back to her carefully scripted life without Rorie that she’s mindlessly going through the motions again.

Fortunately, fate brings Rorie and Cecily back together again after nearly two decades apart. What happens following that… Readers, you’ll just have to pick up this book and see for yourself! This is another fantastic novel by Miranda Macleod that you won’t wanna miss!

SOUNDTRACK
1. Michael Brun – Tongue Tied July
2. Jarryd James – Do You Remember
3. Kimbra – Two Way Street
4. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – Stars
5. Lapsley – Hurt Me
6. Patrick Baker – Feel the Same
7. Sophia Black – OVR AGN
8. Rationale – Re.Up
9. JP Cooper – Colour Me In Gold
10. RAC & St. Lucia – Ready For It
11. Ruben Haze – City of Dreams
12. Wolf Gang – Lay Your Love Down
13. Chvrches – Warning Call
14. For The Foxes – Running Back To You
15. David Guetta feat. Zara Larsson – This One’s For You

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

SIDECAR
-2 oz of Cognac
-1 oz of Cointreau
-1 oz of lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake shake shake until it’s chilled. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with a twist of an orange peel.

BL Miller – Accidental Love

AccidentalLove

What happens when love is based on deception? Can it survive discovering the truth? Accidental Love is a captivating story between Rose Grayson, a destitute lonely young woman and Veronica Cartwright, head of a vast family empire and extraordinarily rich. A horrific accident brings them together, but will the truth end up tearing them apart?

REVIEW
BL Miller sure knows how to write a dramatic love story. This book has the characteristics of a traditional romance: heroine grows up under unfortunate circumstances due to status, money, broken family, etc. leaving her vulnerable, and a Knight in Shining Armor rides in to save the day. Except, the “Knight” in Accidental Love has a dark secret. You’ll be at the edge of your seat for this one.

This novel is lengthier than most in the genre, and you’ll experience a lot of highs and lows through the past and present of both characters. Financially, the characters are from opposite ends of the spectrum. Veronica’s got the big bucks and Rose hardly has two dimes to rub together. But both have a common history of having people in their lives take advantage of their generosity. This makes the reciprocation of love and affection between Rose and Veronica that much more tender, sweet, and genuine. Accidental Love is a novel that’s emotionally rich and readers experience the depth of feeling from both character from the trials and tribulations they face.

Oh, and I’d like to mention that there’s a cute cat in the novel. Everyone knows that lesbians luuuuurve cats. I can say that because I fit that stereotype to the tee. And don’t even get my started on (byname for cat) jokes. I could literally go on forever. Meeeeee-yowwwww!

The story’s great, the characters are well developed, the sex scenes will make you blush, and there are enough twists in the plot line that will keep you interested from Chapter 1 to Chapter 27. Just make sure your air-conditioner works before you turn the cover to the first page.

SOUNDTRACK
1. Duran Duran – Come Undone
2. Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels
3. REO Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling
4. Depeche Mode – Somebody
5. 10,000 Maniacs – Because The Night
6. Aerosmith – Amazing
7. Duran Duran – Ordinary World
8. Cranberries – When You’re Gone
9. Madonna – I’ll Remember
10. Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry
11. Journey – Faithfully
12. Donna Lewis – I Love You Always Forever

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

SHOCK TOP BELGIAN WHITE

Clare Ashton – That Certain Something

CertainSomething

Love or money? Follow the head or heart? Pia and Cate seem to be flip sides of a coin. But when they meet they definitely have that certain something, and these questions aren’t so simple after a night like theirs. 

Pia Benitez-Smith has her head in the clouds of ideals and romance. She’s a photojournalist out to prove herself with her compassionate eye and although not exactly accident prone, most days trouble seems to find her. On one such day, she literally falls into the arms of beautiful Cate. Elegant, intriguing and classy. Cate is Pia’s polar opposite. When the two dispute the importance of love versus money, Cate is adamant that her perfect night will always be an expensive one. Working class Pia can’t resist the challenge and with the assistance of a beguiling summer night in London, she begins to enchant her new friend. 

An irresistible couple, a charismatic city, a priceless supporting cast – That Certain Something is a sparkling romcom from Goldie award winner Clare Ashton.

REVIEW
From the very first page, That Certain Something grabs its readers and doesn’t let go. Some novels are slow to warm. Authors usually set the stage in the first few chapters of their novel before really getting down to the nitty gritty, but Clare Ashton…. She don’t play. It’s fast-paced, engaging, and takes your head for a nice little spin.

This is just a side note, but what I’ve noticed is that many many lesbian authors make desserts sound so damn delicious in their books. After I finished reading That Certain Something, that next morning, I went to a nearby breakfast café in my neighborhood and ordered a lemon-butter crepe.  The extra centimeter of horizontal growth in my thighs is attributed to you Clare Ashton.  I hope you’re happy.

This isn’t your average rich girl-poor girl love story. There’s a lack of superficiality and a depth to Cate’s character right from the onset. The readers see how Cate is a product of her upbringing, and understand the reason why she doesn’t choose to prioritize her passions and talents. Those are only secondary to seeking a normal and stable life.

When Cate meets Pia, all bets are off.

Sometimes, it only takes the right person to help you realize that a heart isn’t just an organ that beats in your chest, and that love isn’t built on the promise of money and stability. Pia shows Cate that the best things in life don’t come with a price tag and that any place can be magical, as long as you have the right company. Just as Pia captures a person’s essence through her camera lens, her eyes capture the beauty of Cate’s soul. Seriously, what can be more romantic than that? If only we could be so lucky to meet someone as passionate and idealistic as Pia. I loved the way Clare Ashton wrote the spirit of this character.

When you read this novel, you can really sense that the characters feel at home with each other. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for, a place to call home? We all belong in the arms of the one we love.

SOUNDTRACK
1. Imogen Heap – Goodnight and Go
2. Bird and the Bee – Rich Girl
3. Corinne Bailey Rae – Like a Star
4. Wynton Marsalis – The Very Thought of You
5. Joss Stone – The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind)
6. Belle and Sebastian – Waiting For The Moon to Rise
7. Jessie Ware – Say You Love Me
8. KT Tunstall – Heal Over
9. Frou Frou – Let Go
10. Blind Pilot – 3 Rounds And A Sound
11. Corinne Bailey Rae – Another Rainy Day
12. Tim Myers – Today’s The Day

CHEERS!
This book would be best read with a…

BLISSINI
-1 part prosecco chilled
-1 part orange juice
-1 part pomegranate juice
-Mint leaves

Combine prosecco, orange juice, and pomegranate juice in a champagne glass. Garnish with mint. (This is a 2 drink max. If you’re planning on having more, you’ll be reaching for your Advil in the morning)