Review by Rafa: The Man On Top Of The World, by Vanessa Clark

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vanessa clark man on top of the world

The Man On Top Of The World, by Vanessa Clark
Publisher: Bold Strokes Book
Release Date: August 1, 2016

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

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Advance Book Review by Rafa: Taking a Gamble, by PJ Trebelhorn

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Taking a Gamble, by PJ Trebelhorn
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: May 17, 2016

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars2-of-5


Cassidy Holmes doesn’t want a “real” job. Buying storage units and selling the contents isn’t the easiest way to survive, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She has no desire for a relationship, but when she meets Erica, everything she thought she wanted begins to change.

Erica Jacobs is a career postal worker with odd hours. Who wants to date a woman who’s asleep by eight o’clock every night? She yearns for the type of relationship her parents have, but finding the right woman isn’t easy.

Cass likes taking a gamble on storage units, but not in her love life. Erica might very well be the one, but Cass is determined to fight it. Every step of the way.


F/F Pairing
Lesbian Characters
Small Town
Commitment Issues

Taking a Gamble was my first book by this author, and unfortunately, I was not impressed. Personally, I thought it had a lot drama and very little plot. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the book was angsty, but there definitely was a lot of internal struggling happening after basically one date.

It seemed like the two main characters, Cass and Erica, spent a majority of the book not communicating while simultaneously agonizing about whether they should pursue a relationship with each other. There were a lot of mixed signals and abrupt departures. It felt too much like reading YA/NA despite the main characters being thirty year olds or thereabouts.

One element of the book I did enjoy was the various side characters. While I didn’t like that every single last one of them put a lot of pressure on the MCs to get together, I thought their presence helped lend some depth and perspective to the heroines. Ultimately though, it doesn’t say much when your side characters are more likeable than your main ones. Cass especially came across as emotionally immature, and her insistence that she could hook up with pretty much any woman she chose got old really fast.

It was impossible to miss the lesbian dating clichés throughout this book. Now don’t get me wrong, instant attachment works for many romance novels, lesbian or not. But in the case of Cass and Erica, I wasn’t at all convinced of their connection or even their physical chemistry. Surely it can’t be a good thing that I found myself against the relationship at times, and later on thinking they were moving much too fast. In short, they did not work for me as a couple, and that feeling stayed with me through the end.


PJ Trebelhorn was born and raised in the greater metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon. Her love of sports — mainly baseball and ice hockey — was fueled in part by her father’s interests. She likes to brag about the fact that her uncle managed the Milwaukee Brewers for five years, and the Chicago Cubs for one year.

PJ now resides in western New York with Cheryl, her partner of many years, and their menagerie of pets. When not writing or reading, PJ spends her time rooting for the Flyers, Phillies, and Eagles, or watching movies.

You can purchase Taking a Gamble from:
Bold Strokes Books

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: Love on the Jersey Shore, by Richard Natale


Love on the Jersey Shore, by Richard Natale
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: February 1, 2016

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Buy Links: Publisher / Amazon

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natale-love-jersey-shoreSexual chemistry and the search for real love can be a combustible mixture.

When the hunky young Anthony Ragucci falls for his dream man, a handsome attorney named Hunter Reese, his happily ever after fantasies are threatened by the meddling of the dashing and haughty Robert Burke. His loyal cousin Frank quickly rushes to Anthony’s defense, only to find his efforts hampered by a growing attraction to the inscrutable Robert.

Ultimately, the two cousins discover that Love on the Jersey Shore is a sink or swim proposition. Watch out for the undertow!

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