5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, S.C. Wynne

Review: Home to Danger by S.C. Wynne

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Title: Home to Danger

Author: S.C. Wynne

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I highly recommend this book, as it was an engaging and easy read.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jason Sinclair isn’t very good at relationships, which is no surprise given a childhood with an eccentric father and an unloving, emotionally damaged mother. After leaving home at seventeen, Jason has spent the past four years doing everything he could to stay away. That changes when he learns his mother is dying of cancer, and he grudgingly returns to Larame Bay to say good-bye.

Word on the street is that Jason will sell his family’s property and run back to LA the minute his mother dies, but when Jason meets the new groundskeeper, the sexy and confident Adam Trent, all that changes. As Jason begins to fall for Adam, he surprises everyone, including himself, by sticking around after all.

However, it doesn’t take long to realize someone out there desperately wants Jason gone from Larame Bay and will make sure that happens—one way or another.

Dividers

Review: S.C. Wynne’s bio states that she likes to write characters who are usually a little jaded, funny and ultimately, redeemed through love…. this sums up Jason Sinclair exactly.

Jason has had a hard upbringing, what with his dad dying when he was young and his mother being emotionally distant. Is it any wonder that his last boyfriend called him dead inside? S.C. Wynne knows how to write her characterizations – I could picture Jason and his mother, the housekeeper Belinda, and Adam the very sexy groundskeeper. This is not an easy journey, as absolution never is, but it is a believable journey, and my heart ached for these characters – while simultaneously laughing at the jokes Jason tells. Nothing about this story is trite; add a little mystery on top of the emotional, and the time while reading this book just flies by!  Because not only are Jason and Adam falling in love, but since Jason’s mom is dying, the vultures are circling for the lucrative property they own, which will go to Jason on his mother’s death, and someone is willing to commit murder to make sure that they get first dibs on the land. Jason learns to open himself up emotionally with the help and support of Adam, and they both have to figure out how not to die in the process.

How does S.C. Wynne keep all these balls in the air, plot-wise, while keeping the whole book upbeat and witty?  Incredibly.  Interestingly. Impossibly well! I highly recommend this book, as it was an engaging and easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, New Adult, Reviewed by Sammy, S.C. Wynne

Review: Hiding Things by S.C. Wynne

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Title: Hiding Things

Author: S.C. Wynne

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 71 Pages

At a Glance: Hiding Things is one to add to your bookshelf if you are looking for a sweet coming of age story with a lovely happy ever after ending.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Mason Downing is good at a lot of things, but math isn’t one of them. What he is good at is hiding the fact that he’s a poor kid on a full scholarship at elite Bragson University—though he won’t be there for long if he can’t get his grades up.

Carter Lantor is the embodiment of all that Mason pretends to be: rich, confident, and smart. But when Carter is handpicked to be Mason’s new math tutor, Mason learns that he’s not the only one hiding things. Soon, Carter’s picture-perfect façade begins to crack under the pressure of his father’s expectations and his own unhappiness.

Together, Mason and Carter must teach each other that no matter how much they question their place in the world, their love for one another might be the answer they are looking for.

Dividers

Review:   Mason has lost nearly everything: his parents, his emotional support, and now lives a secret life—one where he is not a poor orphan, financially strapped, with only his scholarship keeping him at the prestigious private university. Instead, he pretends to be one of the majority—wealthy, unencumbered and “good enough” to breathe the same air as those that surround him at school. Unfortunately, math would be his undoing, as he finds himself in need of a tutor but with no way to pay for it. Now he must take on the burden of a part time job while still maintaining his taxing academic schedule. Determined not to let others know of his humble status, he keeps to himself and quietly hopes no one will recognize him as he drives the shuttle on campus. However, his first night brings with it an encounter that will ultimately be his undoing and, at the same time, his redemption.

Carter lives behind his camera. With a burning desire to become a famous photographer one day, Carter wants nothing more than to be free to pursue his dreams and his art. However, between his being gay and his chosen field of study, his father is threatening to cut him off. Carter freely acknowledges that he enjoys the money he comes from, but he simply cannot envision his life as the heir apparent to a firm his father has lovingly nurtured. With his mother encouraging him not to make waves, Carter realizes his parents may never accept him and that he may indeed lose everything he is accustomed to having. When he meets the shy yet intriguing student he is to tutor in precalc, he feels things he never thought possible. But can the two young men open up and trust each other with their secrets?

S.C. Wynne writes a short story that immediately captures the imagination and presents two characters who both yearn for the same thing–acceptance. While the story develops rapidly, there is real depth to both Carter and Mason. This story could have devolved into a “poor rich boy meets mousy poor boy” so very quickly, and yet, this author smartly saves it from becoming so by making Carter and Mason so very down to earth and real. Carter admits he loves the wealth that allows him to do the things he want—he acknowledges that it would be more than difficult to give it all up to pursue his dream career. Because of this, you develop great compassion for him and see him as much more than the shallow façade that kind of wealth can produce. He stands up for himself and for his feeling towards Mason, and, in doing so, utterly captures the reader’s heart.

Mason’s fears that he will be viewed as being beneath those he attends school with stems from a real place of fear of failure. He allows himself to believe that he is less than his fellow classmates, and it colors everything he does. Trusting Carter does not come easy for him, and we experience his struggle with believing that someone obviously out of his league could truly care for him.

While there were a few glitches in this story—minor things like Mason being on his knees one moment and then being able to kiss Carter the next without transitioning to his feet, and other awkward movement issues like that within the story, it was still a sweet college romance that was well done in many ways.

Overall, Hiding Things is one to add to your bookshelf if you are looking for a sweet coming of age story with a lovely happy ever after ending.

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Reviewed By Carrie, S.C. Wynne

Review: Secrets from the Edge by S.C. Wynne

Title: Secrets from the Edge

Author: S.C. Wynne

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 142 Pages

At a Glance: This was a great book, the characters well written, and the scenes solid. I highly recommend it for a hot summer day.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Keith Williams is twenty-two and struggling to feel normal again. Once a rising super star in the competitive world of snowboarding, he’s only now healing from a horrible crash that almost wrecked his body and ripped his confidence from him.

Jesse Royce is a reporter embedded on a snowboarding documentary that Keith has agreed to be a part of. The two of them have always had a sexual attraction that’s hard to ignore. But Keith’s loss of nerve isn’t the only secret he’s keeping, and while it’s tempting to give into his desire for Jesse, it might end up being career suicide.

Dividers

Review: I have only one complaint about this book. It wasn’t longer. I really wanted more pages of Keith and Jesse.

S.C. Wynne takes us right to the really good beginning stuff, and then lets our imaginations have at it. Oh, these two will make it – they may not get married, being that traditional isn’t who these men are – but they will grow old and have a HEA, that is for sure. All the bad is behind them, the worst has happened, and they still have each other.

Keith is twenty two. At twenty he was at the top of his snowboarding career, when he took a tumble on a questionable course. It has been a hard-fought battle, mentally and physically, to come back into the world of snowboarding, but he is accomplishing it, slaying his demons and feeling normal again.

Jesse works for Snow Job Magazine, a publication which used to be all about snowboarding how-tos and technical know-how, but has degenerated into a gossip rag among the industry. What starts out as a story about the documentary he and Keith have been contracted for, changes mid-stream when Jesse’s boss wants the dirt on all the boarders present, including and especially Keith.

Keith had a hard childhood, being kicked out by his parents when he was a teen for being gay, and there are parts of that time period he would rather stay in the past. He keeps secrets: who he is, what he really feels, his reactions – everything. He can’t tell Jesse…. Can he? The word trust comes into play big time between these two men, and the journey is an incredible ride. I loved the snowboarding talk, the descriptions of the runs, imagining myself with ice crystals on my cheeks was a great escape from reality when the temperature is so hot outside.

This was a great book, the characters well written, and the scenes solid. I highly recommend it for a hot summer day.

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3.5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Reviewed by Lynn, S.C. Wynne

Review: Damaged Heart by S.C. Wynne

Title: Damaged Heart

Author: S.C. Wynne

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 134 Pages

At a Glance: A recommended read, but be aware of an angsty ass ahead.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: Cory Johnson was just twenty when he fled Bayville, following his father’s suicide. Estranged from his abusive mother, he’s made a new life for himself as a successful lawyer in Los Angeles.

When Cory’s mother dies he grudgingly returns to his hometown to handle the estate. Rhys Tucker owns the construction company that is going to renovate Cory’s childhood home. But Cory is unaware that Rhys has harbored a crush on him since they were in high school. When Cory comes home Rhys takes that opportunity to get close to Cory. Or at least try to.

Their physical chemistry is undeniable, but will Cory ever be able to have a real relationship with Rhys after being so emotionally scarred by his past? Can a heart as damaged as Cory’s every really come home?

Dividers

Review: This was my first time reading this author, and while I enjoyed the story, it was a frustrating read.

Cory left his small hometown right after high school and is now a successful lawyer living in LA. After his mother dies, he comes back home to settle her estate and renovate the house in order to sell and get out again as soon as possible.

Rhys is a younger, former classmate who’s had a crush on Cory forever. Be it old lovers, friends who become lovers, etc., I do love a story in which two people reconnect and fall in love. It’s what attracted me to Damaged Heart and made me want to read it.

As expected, they reconnect and are attracted to one another. However, the majority of the story is Rhys trying to help Cory get over his less than conventional childhood so he could learn to love and be loved in return, a fine story goal except that I felt it threw the balance of the couple off. I got that Cory had a very hard life with his parents; they were a little on the crazy side. His mother, specifically, was abusive, which made his life unbearable and left him emotionally unstable. What I didn’t get was his constant whining and indecisiveness when it came to Rhys. To put it bluntly, I just didn’t like Cory at all. I’m usually all for the damaged character, my heart goes out to them, and I’m rooting for them to get better, find love and live happily ever after. I just didn’t feel this way about Cory. I do like having his POV throughout the story. It brought more understanding about his insecurities, why he doesn’t want to let anyone in, and I liked that. It still didn’t make me like him anymore, but I had a better appreciation for his feelings.

My reasoning comes from the way he treated Rhys. I’m telling you, Rhys has the patience of a saint to put up with Cory’s rudeness and his tendency to just be an ass. I would have sucker-punched this dude about midway through the book, and said good riddance. But Rhys being his sweet, lovable self doesn’t, and by the end of the story Cory does redeem himself, just a little bit, in my eyes. He slowly comes to realize he can be happy with Rhys as long as he stops fighting his feelings and just lets it happen. I do like how the author does eventually show Cory’s progression from an angry, disillusioned young man to a man who is finally willing to take a chance on the one thing that could bring him happiness—Rhys.

Now, I really liked Rhys’s character. He was your typical good guy. He’s close to his family, had a normal upbringing, an all around good guy. The torch he’s carried for Cory after all these years tells me his feelings for him are genuine. We don’t get his POV, but the author brings his personality alive through dialogue and clear actions. There is little doubt to his motives throughout the story or of what he is thinking. If we aren’t getting his POV, this is the next best thing.

I realize there will be some characters I’m just not going to like, so it’s nothing personal. Actually, I believe the author has created characters that are true to life, even though they’ll frustrate the hell out of some readers. I will say the writing here is top notch, it was fast paced, and the words ran really smooth. The storyline kept me interested enough to see it to the end in spite of my personal feelings for Cory. I give the author a shout out for making me feel that way about a fictional character. It doesn’t happen often.

A recommended read, but be aware of an angsty ass ahead.






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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Reviewed by Kim, S.C. Wynne

Review: Falling into Love by S.C. Wynne

Title: Falling into Love

Author: S.C. Wynne

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 112 Pages

At a Glance: I liked what I read

Blurb: Chris Lambrough is having a run of bad luck. He’s lost his job and his boyfriend and is feeling depressed. His best friend Jenny tells him about an ad she’s noticed where The Muddy Mountain Ski Resort is looking for waiters. Chris has restaurant experience and since his New Years Resolution is to learn to ski, it seems like a nice opportunity to jump start his life.

Trevor Brown is a ski instructor at the resort. He befriends Chris right away, and they have undeniable chemistry. But Trevor has guilt over the death of his lover, Lane, two years earlier. Can the two of them learn to trust each other and move forward and forget the past?

Dividers

Review: Falling into Love starts off on New Year’s Eve, with Chris and Jenny doing their fair share of celebrating. When Christopher’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend, Riley, enters the restaurant with a new guy, the festive mood is dampened. And as if the evening couldn’t get any more depressing, Chris also confesses to Jenny that he’s just lost his job, and it looks like his employers are going to skip out on paying him.

Good ol’ Jenny has the solution to Christopher’s problems.

She’s heard of a resort that’s hiring seasonal help and thinks it would be the perfect opportunity for Chris to experience a change of scenery, with a chance for adventure. Since Chris has already made a New Year’s resolution to learn to ski, he figures…why not apply for the job? Jenny also makes the suggestion that if he meets anyone new, rather than immediately jumping into bed with a guy and finding out he’s a jerk later on, Chris should take his time to get to know the fellow first.

Now to Trevor: when he meets the new waiter, it’s lust at first sight. It’s kind of cute to see Chris sweat as Trevor does everything he knows how to, to seduce this cute guy, all to no avail. Trevor comes off as a bit of jerk when Chris tells him of his resolution to get to know a guy first before putting out, and Trevor starts to avoid him. Eventually, without revealing too much, the two get together and more is revealed when Chris has a near death experience.

S.C. Wynne is a fairly new author to me. I’ve only read a couple of her previous works and enjoyed them immensely. In the book’s dedication, she mentions this is her first attempt at lighthearted and romantic. How’d she do? Well, there were a couple of things that stood out and caused me to ponder. I don’t know if this will happen with any other readers, but I liked what I read. I would recommend Falling into Love if you’re into snow, near death experiences, and the insecurity of meeting someone new…who may still be hung up on his dead boyfriend.

Now Ms. Wynne, is there any chance that Riley and Mason might get together? These two bad boys seem to deserve each other.






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