Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Blogger Review: Double Dutch Courage by Helena Stone

Ronan Collins has spent most of his life in Dublin hiding who he really is. Coming out would hurt his mother, and Ronan isn’t going to be the second gay man to do that. When he receives news the father he has never known has died, leaving him both a house and a business in Amsterdam, he jumps on the opportunity to get to know the man who fathered him and to discover what he’s been denying himself for years.

Lucas Brandt thought he had it all when Paul Kelly offered him a job and rooms to live in. With Paul deceased he fears he may be about to lose both. He didn’t even know Paul had a son, and now this stranger is on his way from Dublin to pull the rug out from under Lucas’s feet.

The two men don’t expect to like each other, never mind feel attraction. With numerous reasons why hooking up would be a bad idea, why does giving in feel so much better? And is Ronan’s back story really as he’s always imagined it to be?

Sudden changes require great bravery. Can both men find the courage to be true to themselves and each other?

Ronan Collins has never known his father, he's only known what his mother has told him so when he discovers that his father has died and left him his business and home, Ronan is completely shocked but jumps at the chance to go to Amsterdam and discover what he can.  Lucas Brandt was lucky to be mentored by Paul Kelly, not only did Paul give him a job but a place to live too but now that Paul has died, Lucas finds his future in the hands of an unknown son.  When these two meet, can Ronan's need to know who his dad was coincide with Lucas' need to know where he stands mesh?  Will they discover more than what they are looking for?

Double Dutch Courage is just delightful!  Ronan and Lucas are absolutely adorable both as individuals and as a pair.  There are so many routes the author could have taken, no doubt they all would have made for a good story but the journey Helena Stone takes these two men on is near picture perfect.  I just loved how Ronan is able to finally be himself, even if reluctantly, with Lucas' blend of friendship, co-worker, and tour guide.  His choice isn't easy having spent his whole life denying that part of himself in fear of hurting his mother but sometimes we need to search our past before we can find our future.

I was prepared to really hate Ronan's mother especially after she announced she was coming to Amsterdam for a visit.  Now I won't give any particulars in regard to her stay but I will say that this was one of those points I mentioned where the author could have taken many possibile paths but the one Miss Stone takes is definitely the better one.  If you are looking for proof that communication with secondary characters are important than this is a prime example. 

Drama doesn't have to mean angst and turmoil, it can be simple every day misunderstandings, miscommunications, or even just discovery which is exactly what Double Dutch Courage is about: discovering the past, discovering the future, discovering yourself, and the journey connecting these findings.  Helena Stone filled the covers with sweet romance, intense connections, beautiful scenery, and just the right amount of heat to bring you a very entertaining, dramatic yet fun romance.


Ronan seemed to search Lucas’s face for something, then lowered his gaze until Lucas was convinced he was staring at his lips. He mused that the sunshine had to be getting to him as the afternoon took on a dreamlike quality. Ronan licked his lips, the tip of his tongue tempting Lucas, teasing him. When Ronan leant forward Lucas wondered what was happening, whether he was imagining things. Surely Ronan wasn’t about to —

The soft press of Ronan’s lips against his elicited a sigh from Lucas. He would have been embarrassed about his reaction if he hadn’t been lost in the moment. It was the second time Ronan had taken him by surprise in this manner, except on this occasion he didn’t appear to have any intention of pulling back.

With so many reasons why this was the worst idea ever, it didn’t make any sense that the overriding thought running through his mind was more.

He cupped Ronan’s neck, keeping the pressure light, barely there. Ronan reacted as if Lucas had used force and pressed his lips firmer against his, parting them in the process.

Lucas was helpless against the onslaught. It had taken him days to stop obsessing about Ronan’s mouth after that quick, shy kiss a week earlier. There would be no coming back from this. He had no doubt he would end up hurt. Even as he had the thought, Lucas parted his own lips, slipped his tongue through the gap and tentatively caressed Ronan’s mouth.

“Oh.” Ronan’s soft exclamation meant his lips parted farther and Lucas took advantage. Fuck being sensible. Fuck worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or six months from today. He was here, now, and the tongue hesitantly exploring his was nothing like what he’d expected and everything he wanted it to be.

The kiss transported him back to his teenage years, to the first boy he’d ever kissed. Clumsy and with clashing teeth, it had been as awkward as it had been exciting. Pretty much as it was now, except this time it didn’t make sense.

He pulled back until the tips of their noses were the only parts of them still touching. Ronan’s lashes fluttered before he opened his eyes. They widened and he lowered his gaze.

“That bad, eh?” Ronan directed his words at the grass beneath their knees.

“Not bad.” Lucas tried to figure out what to say. Not sure what he was reacting to, he didn’t know which words to use either, so the truth would have to do. “It just brought back a memory of something I hadn’t thought about in ages.”


Ronan still wouldn’t look at him and Lucas didn’t like it. He lifted Ronan’s chin with his index finger. “It reminded me of when I was fourteen and me and Hans, my best friend back then, decided to find out what the big deal about kissing was.”

“It was like your first kiss?” Ronan still tried to avoid meeting Lucas’s gaze.

“Yes.” Lucas smiled. He couldn’t believe Hans had slipped his mind. They’d done a lot of exploring together before Hans decided he was interested in girls after all. He got so lost in his reminiscence he almost missed the words Ronan muttered.

“Makes sense.”

It hit Lucas like a ton of bricks. Here was yet another reason why getting involved with Ronan was the worst idea ever. If he was right, he would be Ronan’s first in everything. The thought that Ronan’s inexperience might include kissing hadn’t crossed his mind until this moment. He wasn’t sure he could make that journey with Ronan without getting emotionally involved. He had to know for sure.

“I’m your first?”

The combination of shame and defeat Lucas read in Ronan’s expression tore at him. He didn’t need an answer. He also didn’t need to think about what to do next. Yes, he would end up getting hurt, but he’d deal with it. It wouldn’t be the first time or, in all likelihood, the last. He could be Ronan’s first and make it a good, a memorable, experience.

“I want to be your second, too.” He didn’t wait and pressed his lips back against Ronan’s before he could respond.

Author Bio:
Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

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Book Blitz: Tainted by Amanda Cowen

Title: Tainted
Author: Amanda Cowen
Series: Wyatt #1
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Expected Release Date: June 22, 2018
Rhys Wyatt is as arrogant as he is beautiful, and Ivy Bishop has been infatuated with him forever. The night Ivy makes her move, it ends horribly, leaving her utterly heartbroken.

Three years later, Ivy is dating Blaine Wyatt; Rhys’s loving and tender younger brother. With Rhys and their past somewhat out of her mind, everything about her relationship with Blaine seems perfect. But when Blaine leaves Ivy alone all summer; neither of them anticipated Rhys to return, or him and Ivy to be stuck living under the same roof…

Rhys never believed Ivy would be all grown up and everything he’s ever wanted – gorgeous, perfectly alluring, and an infuriatingly tempting beauty he has to keep his hands off of. But the more they try to resist each other, the more intense their urges become, until one night changes everything, and Wyatt brothers will never be the same.

Author Bio:
Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn't trapped on her computer writing stories. She is an "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.

Amanda would love to hear from her readers. Become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Instagram @authoramandacowen, or follow her on Goodreads.

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Audio Tour: F*cking Shattered by KB Andrews

Title: F*cking Shattered
Author: KB Andrews
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Narrator: Sarah Puckett
Audio Release Date: May 11, 2018
I've always been the shy, quiet one.
My best friend, the fun loving, outgoing one.
When she's gone, taken away entirely way too soon,
I have to learn how to live.

And not just for me, but for her too.

I have to live for the both of us.

That means doing things I'd never do, stepping out of the shadows
to join the rest of the world- taking chances, falling in love,
and getting into a little trouble along the way.

Losing my best friend broke me.

And when a person breaks,
They f*cking shatter.

What Others Are Saying:
✯✯✯✯✯ "An emotional rollercoaster" by Brandi W via Audible
What an incredible story! I knew nothing about this story before listening to it, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity. It is a beautifully written story filled with heart ache, love and rediscovering yourself. The narrator, Sarah did an incredible job of conveying the emotion of the book. I was hooked at the first chapter!

✯✯✯✯✯ "Loved it" by Kay via Audible
This was my first K.B. Andrews novel and I loved it. F*cking Shattered was an emotional, touching novel that had me hooked from start to finish. Its a story about friendship and love, about grief and dealing with grief. Its also about living your life.

I loved Jovie and River. Together they were perfect and I loved going on that journey with them. You will experience a range of emotions with this novel, from crying to laughing to shock, KB Andrews gave us all the feels in this story. 

I listened to the audible version of this novel narrated by Sarah Puckett and it was amazing. She did a great job bringing these characters to life and I enjoyed it. 

I loved this novel and I would highly recommend it.

✯✯✯✯✯ "I truly enjoyed this story!" by Julie D via Audible
This story of friendship, loss, and new love did my heart good! I think Katie arranged this all hoping it would work out the way it did!! I enjoyed the lists and how they made each item happen!!! Sarah Puckett does a wonderful job with the storyline and with the definition between the characters. I enjoy listening to stories she narrates.

Author Bio:
K.B. Andrews was born and raised in a small town in Southern Illinois. She has been dreaming up stories since she was a small child, before she even knew how to spell. She took the first step into self publishing in November of 2016 and hasn't looked back since. Currently, she has written five books, three books in The Chance Series, Finding You in the Darkness, and Losing a Piece of Me. She is a stay-at-home mom of two children, and spends her days in a chaotic mess of life and writing. To stay up to date on things she's working on, find her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest!



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