5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Reviewed by Lisa, S.A. McAuley

Buddy Review: Where Wishes Go by S.A. McAuley

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Where Wishes Go

Author: S.A. McAuley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages

At a Glance: We loved it. Check this one out, folks!

Reviewed By: Jules and Lisa

Blurb: Can you have a second chance at a first love?
Nick Paine is just starting to return to normal after he told his wife he’s gay and asked for a divorce. Despite a daughter he loves dearly and a job he believes in, part of him is stuck in the past. He’s never forgotten the first love he let fade away fifteen years ago.
Adam “Izz” Azzi has settled into a happy rhythm. His daughter is healthy, he’s found a mosque that accepts him, and his work as a modern artist is gaining international attention. While his past is fraught with mistakes and what-ifs, his life now is good, and he doesn’t want to upset any of the balance he’s worked so hard to achieve.

When Nick and Izz are reunited by luck and fate, their attraction is just as undeniable, but what was left unsaid haunts them. They have hope for a future together, but wishing may not be enough.


Review: Jules: Sometimes you simply need a swoony, well-written, easygoing contemporary romance in your life. It’s a fact; you just do. Next time you find yourself in that position, reach immediately for Where Wishes Go by S.A. McAuley. This is not just an easy-breezy contemporary romance, though…No, no…This book has sexy dads. That’s right – DADS, with an ‘s’. Whether or not there are sexy dads is ALWAYS a good baseline for judging if a book is going to be worth your time. And, this one definitely is.

Lisa: At its core, Where Wishes Go is a story of second chances—at love, at life. Nick Paine and Adam Azzi get the ultimate do-over after a fifteen year separation; after their failed relationships with women gifted them each with a daughter; after myriad hardships and recoveries. And after they each are able to reconcile their pasts, to understand and forgive their teenage selves and put behind them all the mistakes they made at the moment they said goodbye at graduation all those years before, these two men rediscover each other, rekindle a love that never really burned out, and suffer the ultimate trial a parent can face. And, in the end, Nick and Adam came together and built a family.

Adam realized that Nick and he were kindred spirits in a way that time or distance couldn’t diminish.

Jules: I loved how this story unfolded, how we get to know them each individually and where they are in their lives, and then watch them reconnect and grow together. The perfect way their worlds mesh and meld together, from their daughters’ fast friendship to the seamless blending of Adam and Nick’s friends. It’s all so well done.

Speaking of the friends…this cannot go unsaid. They. Were. Fabulous. Every last one of them. Adam’s best friend and business partner, Charlie, Nick’s best friends Roban, the restauranteur, and Daniel, the boutique owner, all fit together like a puzzle, and were perfect as the guys’ chosen family. The girls not only had doting fathers, but three doting uncles wrapped around their fingers as well. This crew starred in many scenes ranging from heartwarming to hysterical, and I want them all to have their own books immediately. :D

Lisa: I loved all the characters in this book, even when I thought I may not necessarily like Nick’s ex-wife Shelly. Adam isn’t as fragile as he believes, finding strength and peace in his faith and in the love of his daughter; Nick is tenacious and loyal and patient as both a father and lover—they carry the story along, but without their daughters, Katie and Miriam; without their mothers; without their close group of friends there to lift them up and support them every step of the way, Adam and Nick might have had a much longer and more arduous journey to their happy ending than they’d already had to endure. Daniel, Charlie, Roban—the guys who bring a little lightness to some of the heavier moments in the story—were stellar. I loved them to bits because they brought the humor right along with the impenetrable wall of support when Nick and Adam needed it, and them, the most.

Jules: McAuley’s writing style feels so effortless and smooth, the entire book is a joy to read. The scene setting is fabulous, the character building was so thorough, the interactions so perfectly executed, and the romance…is like butter. There is a bit of tension/angst/drama, to give just the right amount of extra depth to the story. But, overall this is a good feels book.

Lisa: Where Wishes Go is so happy-making. It’s romantic to the extreme, a little angsty, a lot embraceable. It grabs you by the sentimental short-hairs and doesn’t let go until the final sentence, unashamedly plucks at your heartstrings, and delivers a few chuckles along the way for good measure. The next time you’re in the mood for a feel-good read, this book fulfills that wish.

We loved it. Check this one out, folks!

Buddy Signature




You can buy Where Wishes Go here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Alex Kidwell, Dreamspinner Press

Grief Is A Dish Best Served Told – After the End by Alex Kidwell

Grief is the price we pay for love. – Queen Elizabeth II

Quinn O’Malley knows a little bit about grief; it’s buried him, after all, under the pale ash of a life devastated by the very act of surviving when the one he’d lived for, the one he’d loved for, left him; and with that death, stole all the color and definition from the world.

Alex Kidwell’s After the End is this: a story of grief and of survival and of renewal, told in the juxtaposing voice of a man who understands moving through each day but doesn’t understand the meaning of the words “moving on”. For Quinn, those words somehow translate to betrayal and forgetting, and when a man as alive and as vibrant as Aaron Paterson slips the bonds of being, he leaves a gaping hole in the fabric of all the other lives his was meticulously and joyously woven into, and he is impossible to forget, let alone attempt to replace. There is only the pain of remembering and the bitter aftertaste of regret left for Quinn to sustain himself on. But the dichotomy of it all comes in the form of a man who sweeps in and slowly, meticulously begins to leach the weeping wound that’s been Quinn’s existence for the past two years.

Two very separate and distinct forces of nature have cut a swath through Quinn’s life, though they are similar much in the same way a hurricane is to a typhoon; you are either swept up in their power and embrace what they wreak, or you get out of their way. Quinn embraced the first storm with everything he had and was left with nothing but pain and memories for his efforts, left behind to attempt to rise from the wreckage of loving with abandon and then being abandoned by that love. When the second storm blows in, Quinn does everything in his power to close himself off from what he believes can be the one and only ending, but Brady Banner is nothing if not persistent and is patient enough to wait, to carefully begin to thread his way into Quinn’s life until, in the end, that thread is indispensible to the warp and the weft of Quinn’s remade existence.

After the End is the eloquent fairy tale of the knight who lays siege to a fortress and slays dragons to rescue a man who didn’t realize he was even in danger of being wholly consumed until he was kissed awake and with eyes wide open, was finally able to see the ghosts of his past and his present, and could see that allowing himself to move on didn’t mean forgetting; it meant healing. Brady delivers Quinn from the “I was” to the “I am”, from the end to the beginning, transforming the tense of his existence from past to present so that he was finally to embrace what could be.

Alex Kidwell brings friendships and family together to tell an utterly romantic story filled with universal truths and emotions, and does so with words that I didn’t read so much as feel; this is a story that washed over and through me, and I was reaching for the tissues before I even made it out of chapter one. This is a book that exemplifies the difference between reading a book and living a story, and is the difference between words written on a page and a portrait being painted with words, in all their contrasting colors, from the blacks and grays of sorrow to the rich and vibrant and sometimes violent tones of happiness and love and guilt and anger and hope and fear and redemption.

It is a story that introduces this profound truth: when life’s music inevitably changes, so must the steps we use to dance our way through it.

You can buy After the End here: