Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars

This is an incredibly great middle grade fiction book about a young girl with her first stirrings of a crush on a girl and all the confusion that comes with that and trying to figure things out.

Book Cover: Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee - purple background - two girls, one dressed as Romeo and the other as Juliet, dancing in the foreground

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Synopsis

Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.

 

Review

I thought this was an absolutely wonderful book and a delightful read! I read about this book on Facebook when the author posted something about being asked to tone down her presentation in a school in a conservative town. Immediately, I seeked the book out on Amazon and bought the Kindle version.

Our main character, Mattie, is a very complex character. She’s not liked by the “popular” crowd, but she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Instead, she has her friends Tessa and Lucy to hang out with and she’s okay with that. Until she meets Gemma at a costume party the “popular” crowd was having that she wasn’t actually invited to.

The settings in this book had great descriptions without going overboard. The plot line moves along at a steady pace. At no point did I think that it was moving too slowly or too fast.

Part of what I loved about this book is that at first, Mattie doesn’t even realize she has a crush on Gemma. When someone points it out to her, it still takes her awhile to work through her feelings and decide for herself. I like that the author showed us the fact that Mattie was struggling.

This is an incredibly great book for tweens and early teens who may be struggling with their sexuality and what all those feeling are inside. Yet, it’s not at all preachy or condescending. The author does a really great job keeping a balance between examining what Mattie’s feeling without the sole focus being on just her sexuality. There’s a good balance between other things in life too, her schoolwork, her play rehearsals, etc.

I highly, highly recommend this middle grade fiction for all ages really. It was incredibly well written and a wonderful, delightful read.

Jumping Jude – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Jumping Jude is the third book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox. These books are just so awesome! I’m probably overdoing it in my praise, but I absolutely love them!

Book Cover: A Made Marian Novel - Jumping Jude by Lucy Lennox - Gold background - top has two shirtless men with beards - one has shoulder length hair, the other is cropped short - the bottom has a stage with cheering fans
Made Marian #3

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Synopsis

Jude: Reaching the top of the country music charts brings out the crazy, and there’s no one crazier than my ex. Unfortunately, his threats to out me are escalating. Enter the bodyguard of my dreams. I’d probably chafe under his constant presence if his attention to my body wasn’t so… ah… thorough. Now I have to worry about outing myself to millions of fans if I can’t keep my hands off him in public.

Derek: Now I’m an ex-Marine turned babysitter. If I have to hear Jude sing his mega-hit Bluebells one more time, I might murder him myself, and after 6 years in special ops, I know my way around a weapon. Unfortunately, so does he. Except his arsenal includes washboard abs and a killer set of pipes. I’ve faced guns, knives, explosives and yet it’s Jude Marian who may end up bringing me to my knees.

 

Review

Jumping Jude is the third book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox and it’s just as great as the first two, Borrowing Blue and Taming Teddy. I absolutely adore this series and the Marian men! This book comes in a very close 2nd as far as my favorite in the series.

This book belongs to Jude and Derek, two men who have yet to come out to their families or the world. Jude belongs to a hit country band and country music and its fans aren’t always the most accepting in the world (this is the view of the book, not necessarily my own view!). Derek on the other hand comes from a military background and a very conservative Southern Baptist family, neither is conducive to coming out. So here we have two guys who are attracted to each other and they don’t realize the other is gay as well.

The characters in this book are incredibly complex and well-developed. The plot is also complex but still easy to follow along with. I loved the ending and I’m thrilled that Jude and Derek were able to remain together.

 

 

 

Taming Teddy – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars

Taming Teddy is the second book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox and is even better than the first book, Borrowing Blue! In fact, I think this might just be my favorite in the series so far.

Book Cover: Taming Teddy: A Made Marian novel by Lucy Lennox; Blue background with a snowy woods scene at the bottom, two men without shirts on the top.

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black and silver film canister on the right with a line of 35mm film stretched out to the left

Synopsis

Teddy: If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s commitment. You don’t become an award-winning photographer by staying in one place. I’m always on the road, looking for the next shot, the next award, the next hot body. Which is how I end up on Dr. James Marian’s front porch in the middle-of-nowhere Alaska. He’s known as the Wildlife Whisperer, and I want to photograph him in action. He’s reluctant at first, but I can be persuasive.

Soon enough I have him in bed saying yes over and over and over again, but my ability to shoot and scoot is frozen by a Denali snowstorm.

Jamie: I always thought of myself as the marrying type. Until I got left at the altar. Now I have a new motto: never commit and never fall in love. So when a cocky nature photographer decides I’m the key to his next masterpiece, it seems like the perfect arrangement: the hotshot’s only in town for a brief assignment and then he’ll be gone. No commitment, no strings, and no chance of getting my heart broken again.

There’s just one problem: I think I’m falling in love. Now I’m afraid that maybe I’m the marrying type after all. And he definitely is not. (Source: Goodreads)

black and silver film canister on the right with a line of 35mm film stretched out to the left

Review

After reading four and a half books in this series, I think this one is my favorite. Number one, I’m an amateur nature photographer so Teddy’s job spoke to me. Number two, I’m enthralled with wildlife so Jamie’s job spoke to me as well. But even more than that, the way they were together and their love story was simply wonderful. 🙂

This one actually had that little bit of pizzazz and emotional connection I need to rate it five stars. I understand holding someone at arm’s length at first only to have that ultimately fail in the end and end up falling head over heels in love. There’s nothing like it in the world, especially when that person loves you back.

The characters in this series are just wonderful. They’re well-rounded, complex, and developed. The author has thought about it enough to give them all adequate back stories and it’s a joy to read.

The descriptions of the settings are great. I never have any trouble imagining where we are and yet they’re not so descriptive that they’re boring. Ms. Lennox does an excellent job with that balance.

The plot line moves along at a steady pace. I never felt that it was dragging, but I never felt that it was going to fast either.

All in all this book is just about perfect! While it can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the series from the beginning, starting with Borrowing BlueTry it and have fun with the Made Marian crew!

Borrowing Blue – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Borrowing Blue is the first book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox. This is a romance series about gay men and finding their true love. A friend of mine had listed it as “read” on her Goodreads page and it sounded really good so I bought the ebook. I was not disappointed in the least and immediately went out and bought the rest of the books in the series.

Book Cover: A Made Marian Novel - Borrowing Blue by Lucy Lennox. Green background with photo of a grapevine at bottom and two men standing together, one shirtless and the other with a shirt on but unbuttoned.

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GrapevineClipart

Brief Synopsis

Blue: When my ex walks into the resort bar with his new husband on his arm, I want nothing more than to prove to him that I’ve moved on. Thankfully, the sexy stranger sitting next to me is more than willing to share a few kisses in the name of revenge. It gets even better when those scorching kisses turn into a night of fiery passion.

The only problem? Turns out the stranger’s brother is marrying my sister later this week.

Tristan: I have one rule: no messing with the guests at my vineyard resort. Of course the one exception I make turns out to be the brother of the woman my brother’s about to marry. Now we’re stuck together for a week of wedding activities, and there’s no avoiding the heat burning between us.

So fine, we make a deal: one week. One week to enjoy each other’s bodies and get it out of our system. Once the bride and groom say I do and we become family, it’ll all be over between us. Right?

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Review

When I first picked up Borrowing Blue, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. This is the first M/M romance that I’ve read so I was slightly hesitant, but the description had really sounded great and one of my friends had read it and had given it a high rating, so I went into it with an open mind. I was not disappointed at all.  The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because it didn’t have that little extra emotional “hook” or “pizzazz” I need for 5 star ratings.

Tristan and Blue are awesome. 🙂 Blue is short for Bartholomew. All of the Marians’ biological children are named after apostles, but his oldest brother couldn’t pronounce Bartholomew, so it came out as Blue and the nickname stuck.  Then, on top of the six biological children they have, the Marians also adopted three children from a local shelter for LGBTQ teens. Tristan on the other hand only has his brother.

The more I learn about these quirky, lovable characters, the more I love them. They’re complex and well-developed. They’re realistic and fun. I really enjoy them.

This particular book takes place at Tristan’s vineyard in California wine country. The descriptions are adequate. I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more descriptions of the settings, but they weren’t overly sparse. I was able to imagine most of the areas they talked about.

The story line moves along at a good pace. It’s not too slow but not so fast that you’re in a whirlwind. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with where a story is going, but the tempo this one worked well.

All in all, I highly recommend this book and the whole series actually! Enjoy!

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About the Author

Lucy Lennox is a mother of three sarcastic kids. Born and raised in the southeast, she now resides outside of Atlanta finally putting good use to that English Lit degree.

Lucy enjoys naps, pizza, and procrastinating. She is married to someone who is better at math than romance but who makes her laugh every single day and is the best dancer in the history of ever.

She stays up way too late each night reading M/M romance because that stuff is hot.

To stay up-to-date with new releases, be sure to click Follow and sign up for her author newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/co4omz.

Or visit http://www.LucyLennox.com for more information! (Source: Amazon’s Author Page)