3.5 Stars, Andi Van, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Jules

Review: A Certain Kind of Holiday by Andi Van

Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Certain Kind of Holiday (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Andi Van

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 28 Pages

At a Glance: This one was cute, guys!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: When Elliot Knapp took a business trip over the holidays last year, he didn’t expect to run into the professor his first serious boyfriend cheated on him with. The man was handsome, certainly, but Elliot has better things to do than deal with drama from a decade ago.

Luckily for him, Howard Wise wasn’t going to let him get away without an explanation. A year after meeting again, the couple is making their first holiday trip to celebrate Christmas. Everything is fantastic, but Howard is obviously keeping secrets, and Elliot can’t help but wonder what his silver fox has up his sleeve.

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Review: Elliot and Howard, who haven’t been in contact in ten years, run into each other unexpectedly on a train ride from Seattle. Their reunion is, of course, soured by the fact that Elliot’s last memory of Howard is him kissing Elliot’s college boyfriend. Howard manages to talk Elliot into letting him explain, however, which turns out to be a very good thing, as things are not always what they seem. I really liked Howard – sexy professor, twinkly eyes, playful demeanor – and I loved that he remembered Elliot right away. Obviously their connection all those years ago wasn’t just one-sided.

A Certain Kind of Holiday is short and sweet. Via three consecutive Christmas vignettes, Andi Van takes us on Howard and Elliot’s journey, allowing us to get to know them and showing us how good they are together.  Again, Howard’s character was the main part of the appeal for me, but I definitely liked Elliot as well. It’s hard to cover much ground in just twenty-eight pages, but Van did a good job of engaging me. This one was cute, guys!

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4 Stars, Andi Van, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Starting With the Unexpected by Andi Van

Title: Starting With the Unexpected

Author: Andi Van

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I found the pace of this story to be fairly quick, mostly because I couldn’t put it down. The pages flew by and I enjoyed each one.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Zachary Blaise is having a weird week—even by his standards. Though he’s gay, the radio personality has been dumped via text by a girl named Marian—and he’s never even met her. On top of that, he’s developed a massive crush on Marcus, the new waiter at his favorite diner. His best friend thinks the whole thing is hilarious.

Marcus’s week hasn’t been his best either. He’s been betrayed by those closest to him, and although he isn’t the guilty party, Marcus is the one getting harassed.

Impossibly, things are about to get even weirder. Marian has secrets, and those secrets are going to make some serious ripples in Zach’s life. When he discovers that the girl called Marian is actually the man named Marcus, Zach stumbles down a rabbit hole of abusive ex-boyfriends, psychotic relatives, and revelations from his own past. If he can survive the chaos, the journey might prove worth the effort.

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Review: When I first read the opening lines of Starting With the Unexpected, I howled with laughter and knew it was going to be good. What this book really turned out to be was pretty awesome, and it in no way read like a debut novel. There are serious authoring skills at use in this book, and if the old ideas of authors growing into their talent and developing skills along the way are true, then we are all so lucky and hopefully, Andi Van is going to be prolific. This debut novel is first class.

The characters are well developed and so vividly described that they were colorful in my head as the story unfolded. They reacted to others, and to each other, in such a real way that it was hard not to think of them as real people, and the conversations they have are also spot on in both timing and humor.

The author allowed the MCs to develop a real friendship before she mixed romance into the story, and I loved that aspect of the plot. And, speaking of plot, there is a good one in this book; full of twists, emotional drama, and physical hurts that we feel right along with the characters. It is smooth and a joy to read as the holes are plugged, and as soon as I figured something out, it played out. Very nicely done.

I found the pace of this story to be fairly quick, mostly because I couldn’t put it down. The pages flew by and I enjoyed each one. Starting With the Unexpected is a book I will read again, as it filled a gap I didn’t realize was missing in the genre – namely a well-crafted, humorous romance with a killer plot.

I definitely want to read more from this author. She gave me a fresh, fun, and lively story, with two MCs I just adored. I would even be open to a sequel about these same characters at a random point in their future; they were simply that impressive.

Congratulations on your debut novel, Andi Van, and good wishes for a productive future.

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Andi Van, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Starting With the Unexpected Blog Tour with Andi Van

Starting With the Unexpected

The Novel Approach welcomes author Andi Van today on the tour for her debut novel, Starting With the Unexpected. Andi’s written a five part progressive story for the tour, and what you’re about to see right now is Chapter Three, so if you have some catching up to do, you can find the entire Tour Schedule HERE.

As for the giveaway portion of the tour, you can enter for the chance to win a Print copy of the book OR one of two E-books up for grabs. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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Anticipated Chaos [Part Three]:

In my experience, when people hear “country club”, they tend to think of a bunch of wealthy snobs. While there’s some truth in that, it only applies to about half of Jordan’s customers. The other half? Well, they’re odd ducks.

Take the lion lady’s husband, for example. We always referred to her as “the lion lady” because of the massive stone lions guarding her house. When Jordan initially took over the route, he had no idea she was married, and when I met her I honestly got the impression she was a lesbian.

Bob proved us wrong. Bob’s a nice guy, and we don’t see him often, but I sometimes wish he’d put clothes on.

“Morning, Bob,” Jordan said, handing over the paper to the lion lady’s husband, who had been waiting for us by their garage. Completely naked.

“Morning,” Bob said cheerfully. He glanced in the back seat, smiled widely, and leaned his head in to talk. “Hi Zach.”

“Hi Bob,” I said, somehow managing to keep a straight face as poor Marcus just sat there, his face bright red. “How’s life treating you?”

“Oh, can’t complain,” he answered cheerfully. “Who’s your friend?”

“This is my boyfriend, Marcus,” I told him. “Marcus, this is Bob.”

“Nice to meet you,” Marcus said, his voice breaking halfway through the sentence.

Bob beamed at him. “The pleasure’s mine. You boys have a good morning, okay?”

“Will do, Bob,” Jordan said as he backed out of the driveway.

“So,” I told Marcus. “That was Bob. He’s a nudist. We had no idea he even existed for the longest time. The first time we pulled up and he was in the garage naked, he was kind of embarrassed. As you can see, he’s comfortable with us now.”

“Do you not have any normal people on your routes?” my boyfriend demanded of Jordan.

“No,” Jordan and I answered in stereo.

“For instance,” Jordan said, waving at the house we were slowing down in front of, “this guy’s always in his kitchen when I show up, and he watches me from his window. Every morning. Frankly, I’d rather deal with Bob than have someone perv at me through their window. At least I know what to expect from Bob.” He tossed the paper into the creeper’s driveway, and we could indeed see him staring out at us.

And then he left the window, which he never did. As Jordan started to back up, the garage door opened.

“Oh hell,” I swore. “Hurry up and get going before he comes out to talk to us or something. Knowing our luck he’s probably an axe murder rapist or something.”

Marcus gave me a perplexed look and mouthed “axe murder rapist” silently as if he was trying to figure out what the hell I’d just said. I ignored it, since people tend to do that a lot around me. Instead, I watched the creeper’s house as Jordan pulled up to a house down the street to drop off their paper. I could see a car pulling out of the driveway.

“Huh, nice Porsche,” I said. “I wonder where’s he’s going at five in the morning, though. Seems like an odd time to take a drive.”

“Unless you’re us,” Jordan pointed out, but he was watching the creeper as he drove by, too.

I’d expected him to turn at the end of the road, but instead the Porsche came to a stop in front of the street’s nest of mail lockers. The old creeper got out of his car, checked his mail, and got back in. Then he turned the car around, headed back for his house, and closed the garage after him.

“Am I the only one who was vaguely disturbed by that?” I asked.

“No,” Jordan answered. “That was…weird. Why on earth would someone drive a hundred yards in a Porsche to check their mail at five in the morning on a Sunday?”

“Because the Lamborghini’s in the shop, obviously,” Marcus shot back.

“Seriously,” Jordan said. “Everyone knows you don’t check your mail in the Porsche. How gauche.”

I rolled my eyes at their antics, but I was amused. “Can we go?” I asked. “The sky’s getting lighter, and it’d be nice to be at the diner before the blazing orb of doom is at the perfect angle to blind us all.”

“Good plan,” Jordan agreed, backing out of the driveway we’d been sitting in. “Let’s hope the rest of the morning is a little less odd.”

I winced at his words. You’d think he’d have learned not to tempt fate at some point in his life.

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SWtU - CoverComing May 15, 2015 from Dreamspinner Press

Blurb: Zachary Blaise is having a weird week—even by his standards. Though he’s gay, the radio personality has been dumped via text by a girl named Marian—and he’s never even met her. On top of that, he’s developed a massive crush on Marcus, the new waiter at his favorite diner. His best friend thinks the whole thing is hilarious.

Marcus’s week hasn’t been his best either. He’s been betrayed by those closest to him, and although he isn’t the guilty party, Marcus is the one getting harassed.

Impossibly, things are about to get even weirder. Marian has secrets, and those secrets are going to make some serious ripples in Zach’s life. When he discovers that the girl called Marian is actually the man named Marcus, Zach stumbles down a rabbit hole of abusive ex-boyfriends, psychotic relatives, and revelations from his own past. If he can survive the chaos, the journey might prove worth the effort.

Pre-Order Your Copy Now At: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

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11011471_1623841364506288_4202352576478518114_nAbout the Author: Andi Van lives near San Diego with a small fluffy thing named Koi, a baseball bat that’s forever being used for things other than baseball, and a fondness for rum and caffeine (though not necessarily together).

Andi is fluent in three languages (English, sarcasm, and profanity), and takes pride in a highly developed—if somewhat bizarre—sense of humor.

You can find Andi at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Andi Van

Andi Van Gives You “A Swift Herd for Solstice”



“One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ― Lewis Carroll


A Swift Herd for Solstice was a very funny story. Imagine driving home from work late and almost hitting a drunk elk….. that talks! When this happens to Martin Jones, he ends up taking the elk home and this changes his life.

When Martin Jones wakes up with Haven Clarke the next morning, he realizes that he likes this man. They start dating and when Martin meets Haven’s herd, he finds out that there may be a way to stay with the shifter longer than he thought.
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