3.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Willa Okati

Review: Best Laid Plans by Willa Okati

Title: Best Laid Plans

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 209 Pages

At a Glance: A free-wheeling rom-com that has dueling, convoluted love stories, conniving best friends, and a resolution that leaves a smile.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Teddy and Jefferson get along like a house on fire. Literally. Jefferson’s a serious-natured soccer star, and Teddy was born to party till the wheels come off. Oh, they might have jerked it a few times thinking about each other, but they’ll burn this mother to the ground before they ever get along. The only thing they have in common are their friends–Jefferson’s buddy Emmett, and Teddy’s BFF Noelani. Emmett’s just blown all his savings on a house near campus, and he needs tenants to help make the monthly payments. That’s where Teddy and Jefferson come in. Hey, anything’s better than the dorms.

So far so good. Until Noelani’s former fiancé Beau–also Emmett’s former best friend–rolls back into town. Panicked over the return of their old feelings for the rough-riding badass, Noelani and Emmett decide the only sensible ‘save’ is to get married. Of course. Teddy and Jefferson both know that’s a bad idea, and that those two are going to need their friends more than ever. That means only one thing: no choice but to raise the white flag and join forces.

Pros: free rein for sexual hijinks in the name of ‘getting along’. Cons: Easier said than done.

Despite it all, Teddy and Jefferson are also discovering that they have more fun fighting with each other than they would kissing anyone else. Maybe–maybe–they’re falling in love. But when Beau reveals the real reason for his return and everything turns topsy-turvy for everyone involved, is their new alliance strong enough to save the day?

Dividers

Review: I am a fan of Willa Okati’s writing and have read several of her stories in vastly different genres. This is the first romantic comedy I have read by her, and I really enjoyed it.

Jefferson and Teddy are about as different as two guys can be. Teddy is a flame-haired, flamboyant party boy. Jefferson is a serious student and soccer player. They have two things in common – their friends (and romantic couple) Noelani and Emmett, and they are both into guys. When there are two rooms available to rent in the off-campus house that Emmett has just purchased, they also end up being housemates.

They definitely get on each other’s nerves. No matter what Jefferson says, Teddy takes it as an insult or a dig at his sexuality and self-expression. Jefferson can’t for the life of him understand why Teddy is ALWAYS mad at him. But they both like the living quarters and want to support their friends.

Noelani has had a rocky road and a really tough time after her former fiancé took off and left her. She and Teddy are a team, and they definitely have each other’s backs. When Emmett, Noalani’s ex’s best friend, woos her, she returns to old herself and is once again happy. Teddy wants to make sure she stays that way, and Jefferson wants to make sure that Emmett is happy as well.

Just when things are starting to get into a pretty smooth rhythm, the ex, Beau, returns. This throws Noelani into a panic and sets off a chain of events that might lead to the breakup of Noelani and Emmett, and sends Teddy into an absolute rage. In order to thwart any ideas Beau has of coming between their friends, Jefferson and Teddy make a pact to stop him. And hey, if there’s a friends with benefits kind of arrangement to go with it, then so much the better. Turns out there is a lot of stress that needs relieving. ;)

I don’t want to get too spoilery, but Jefferson and Teddy try to work their way through the mess that seems to be stirred up with Beau’s return. Nobody is quite sure what his motivations are or what his real goal is in making his unexpected return. Let’s just say that there is definitely a surprise in store for every single one of these characters. And, it seems that there have been a lot of plots and machinations going on behind the scenes that many of the characters are oblivious to throughout the book.

This is a really cute story, and Jefferson and Teddy are fun characters. We feel for Jefferson as he really struggles with trying to figure Teddy out. We empathize with Teddy’s prickly demeanor since he’s definitely been on the receiving end of some pretty unfair assumptions and certain biases. Noelani and Emmett are good supporting characters that definitely provide a different layer to the story. And Beau is an enigma that we don’t really understand until well into the story. I definitely recommend Best Laid Plans for those looking for an entertaining and funny story with some tension thrown in for good measure.

 

 

 

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed By Carrie, Willa Okati

Review: Breathe Deep by Willa Okati

Title: Breathe Deep (St. Hawk’s Medical: Book Three)

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 114 Pages

At a Glance: In my opinion, this is the best book of the series.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: A golden-hearted mountain man. A nursing tech with a secret. Life and death are on the line—and they’re running out of time.

Shepherd knows what people think of him. He’s too big, too tall and too broad not to be scary. But though he looks like a grizzly bear, he’s all teddy on the inside. He’s dreamed of finding someone to love. Someone who can help him break through his shyness and who he can shower with all the affection in his heart.

Kit knows what people think of him. That he’s young, good-looking and kissed by luck. He survived leukemia as a teenager, and he thought he had his entire life ahead of him. But now, the cancer might be recurring—deny it though he might—and Kit’s world has come crashing down. He needs someone like Shepherd. Someone kind and caring, who’s strong enough to lean on.

Kit’s falling fast for the big mountain man—but he hasn’t told Shepherd the truth. He’s afraid that knowing he may be sick will be more than Shepherd can handle. And now, after delaying treatment, he thinks he may be running out of time.

Secrets can be life or death—and when it comes to telling the truth, they can make all the difference.

Dividers

Review: Breathe Deep is the story of Kit and Shepherd. Kit is a nurse tech at St. Hawk’s Medical. He survived a bout of leukemia when he was fifteen, and knows what it’s like to be told you only have a year to live. But he beat it then, and now he has plans to graduate nursing school, maybe get a master’s degree, travel and see the world. The timing is just all wrong to meet the love of his life, especially since he suspects the cancer has come back. Kit is afraid, terribly afraid that he won’t make it out alive with this go round, but fortunately, he finds that sometimes fate puts just what you need in front of you when you least expect it.

Shepherd is a large, blond Norse god of a man, with the heart of a teddy bear. He is shy, and as such, doesn’t date at all. When Kit crosses his path, Shepherd can’t help being drawn to the man despite knowing that there is something not quite right going on with Kit.

If there is one thing Willa Oakati does well, it’s chemistry. The chemistry between these two men is incredible. Even though we spend the first part of the book dancing around the elephant in the room (Kit’s cancer), we end up with a sweet HEA between the two men that leaves you with a warm and understanding heart.

This is the story of two really good guys who deal with what life has thrown at them, and realize that the hard times are easier with a good man at your side.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Breathe Deep here:

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Historical Romance, Loose Id, Willa Okati

Review: The First Hello by Willa Okati

Title: The First Hello

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 143 Pages

At a Glance: This is a poignant tale of love and loss and love again – beautiful and lyrical and at times, heartbreaking. It grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the final sentence.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Shawn Tillerman thinks he’s losing his mind. Wary and damaged after a hard life filled with broken promises, he’s been having dissociative episodes for the past few months. Flashes of different lives he didn’t live. Walking in the footsteps of men he knows he never was. In these waking dreams, he’s always with a lover, but he can’t see the man’s face and doesn’t know his name. Though the episodes are becoming more frequent, he hasn’t told anyone what’s happening to him. He’s too busy taking care of his twin sister and keeping her away from Oxy. If he can sell the house he’s inherited from a distant relative, he’ll finally have enough money to put her in a good rehab center. He can turn their lives around.

Or not. Because Raleigh, the compelling stranger who wants to buy their house, swears that Shawn isn’t experiencing psychotic episodes, but is reliving memories. That he and Shawn have come together in life after life and time after time.That he is the man from Shawn’s dreams, and has been searching everywhere for him. Even if Shawn remembers nothing, Raleigh remembers it all, and he isn’t going to give up now.

Shawn doesn’t believe Raleigh–but he’s beginning to wish he could. What if it is true, after all? What if saying goodbye to all he thought he was sure of is only the first part of hello?

Dividers

Review: The First Hello is a really beautiful story that is just so well written that is best experienced by reading. You can see from the blurb that this is a tale of an endless love, but it’s so much more than that.

Raleigh and Shawn meet and while Raleigh always seems to be holding something back, Shawn always seems to be unable to grasp something just out of reach. They are at the opposite ends of a tug a war, and the rope is their sanity and possibly, their very existence. Shawn thinks he’s losing his mind and Raleigh thinks Shawn’s being willfully obstinate.

As they dance around one another, Shawn is extremely fearful that if he gives in to his attraction to Raleigh, something awful will happen – that his mind will truly shatter. He’s trying to hold on to something that he can’t even define. He’s worried about his sister, who has a drug problem, and he’s trying to keep it together long enough to get her the help she needs.

Raleigh tries to be patient, but he’s terribly worried that Shawn is not even taking care of his own basic needs. He does his best to try to help without overstepping, but Shawn is proud and doesn’t want to accept his help. Shawn feels a constant pull towards Raleigh, but he’s convinced it will literally lead to his ruin. Shawn hasn’t had an easy moment in this life, and he really is just hanging on by a thread – a thread that could easily snap at any moment, with disastrous consequences for many.

The prose of this story is just lovely. The descriptions of time and place, the beauty of the love between the characters in various incarnations is exquisite. Shawn’s pain and Raleigh’s desperation are so well balanced. The secondary characters also contribute to the loneliness and beauty and sadness in this story. I honestly felt like this story was longer than one-hundred-forty-three pages, not because it dragged at all but because it felt like so much happened and so much of this love story played out over so many incarnations. Crossing from contemporary to historical and back again, this is very well done and recommended.






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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Pia, Totally Bound, Willa Okati

Review: Give Chase by Willa Okati

Title: Give Chase

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 32000 Words

At a Glance: If you’re looking for a quick read that’s a bit sexy, with smart and stubborn men, then this book is for you.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: Declan’s always been careful to guard his heart, but Isaac’s catching up at last. Some things are worth fighting for, even when they’re running fast.

Dr. Isaac Paliades has never been much for letting sleeping dogs lie, and he’s been intrigued by his colleague Dr. Declan Day from the moment they met. Declan’s a hard man to get a read on, one minute cool as snow and the next minute hot-blooded enough to give Isaac a run for his money. Though they work together, play together—and occasionally sleep together—Isaac has yet to get a good look at the man Declan is behind the carefully constructed masks he shows to the world.

But when the pair of physicians rescue an abandoned baby discovered while they’re out for a jog, Isaac sees cracks start to appear in Declan’s façade. He’s taking the care of their foundling more seriously than anyone imagined he would, and bringing Isaac along for the ride. He’s asking for dominance in bed, and a deeper friendship at St. Hawk’s.

Isaac thinks he’s finally found the key to unlocking Declan’s guarded heart. But even when the walls come down, can Declan find the courage and will to let Isaac in?

Dividers

Review: That feeling you get when you find a new author and want to read all of their books as soon as you can? That’s how I feel about Willa Okati. Yay!!!

In Giving Chase we meet Dr. Isaac Paliades and Dr. Declan Day. Both are doctors working at St. Hawk’s hospital. I have to admit it took me a bit to get into this book, not because it was bad but because for me, the characters took a bit to warm up to. Declan is a man who held his feelings close to the vest for most of this book, which is understandable when you find out why, but I would have loved to have had more of an insight into his background. As for Dr. Isaac, I love a man who won’t take no for an answer and am glad he kept pushing Declan to open up and share, when most people wouldn’t have taken the time to look beneath the surface to find out what was living underneath.

This is what happens when both doctors are out jogging and find an abandoned baby, who tugs at the heartstrings of everybody who gets involved with her. I’m not sure about anybody else but I love a grumpy, misunderstood guy who gets emotional over a tiny little baby.

While I loved this book, it left me with so many un-answered questions, such as what kind of home life did Isaac grow up in, where are his parents, and where did his sense of curiosity come from? How did both men come to work at St. Hawk’s, and how did being together change their lives? Those kinds of every day questions.

If you’re looking for a quick read that’s a bit sexy, with smart and stubborn men, then this book is for you.






You can buy Give Chase here:

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Totally Bound, Willa Okati

Review: Flibbertigibbet by Willa Okati

Title: Flibbertigibbet

Author: Willa Okati

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 96 Pages

At a Glance: This was a wonderfully pleasant, light, quick read.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Is Donovan ready to leave routine behind and take a chance on a flirtatious flibbertigibbet?

Donovan thought he had his life all planned out. He knew where he was headed, and how he’d get there. Might not have been the most exciting life, but it was safe. Sensible. Practical. Just what he wanted.

That was before his house burned down in a freak accident. Now, Donovan’s life is all about crash space on a friend’s houseboat and entertaining the antics of his new neighbor and marina maintenance man Leaf. If Leaf ever takes anything seriously in his life, he shows no signs of it. He’s loquacious, outrageous, and not even a little shy. Absolutely not the kind of man Donovan had thought he’d fall for before he tipped head over heels for the flibbertigibbet’s offbeat charm.

When it comes down to a choice between sensible and scandalous, is Donovan really ready to leave routine behind and take the plunge into deep water?

Dividers

“Good God, the things he could do with a wink. Some men couldn’t get that much come-hither packed into the verbal offer of a blow job, free of charge.” – Willa Okati

Review: The charm of Flibbertigibbet starts with the title – how can you go wrong with a nod to The Sound of Music? – and flows through the story, largely thanks to the exuberant joy of the book’s resident free-spirit, Leaf.

Leaf is such a fun, appealing character. He is exactly what Donovan needs in his life, and at exactly the right time. Donovan is very uptight; frankly, I wondered why Leaf continued to bother at times. Buuuut, luckily for Donovan, Leaf sees something in him and continues his pursuit, bringing on some of the most fun scenes in the book.

I loved the setting of the marina. There is something so relaxing and cheerful about houseboats; it was a great choice of location for Donovan to recover from his recent trauma. The descriptions of the marina are fantastic, especially when it was decked out by Leaf for the monthly get-together for the residents. I also really liked Donovan’s friend Eve, whose boat Donovan is staying on. She brings some nice levity to the story as well.

As is a common issue with many short stories, things get a bit rushed toward the end – though, I have to say, I absolutely loved the moment where everything “clicks” for Donovan. Even as it became clear we were heading to that tidy wrap-up at the end, because he had been having such a rough go, Donovan’s epiphany was an especially cool moment. In fact, Okati had a nice, breezy style throughout, which I definitely enjoyed. This was a wonderfully pleasant, light, quick read.






You can buy Flibbertigibbet here:

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Torquere Press, Willa Okati

Willa Okati Inks A Love Story In “Tattoo You”

My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story. ― Johnny Depp

Tattoo You is a story about two men, Jacob Lee and Donathan who have been in a loving relationship for three years. Their love is illustrated well by Ms. Okati. It is clear that both men would do anything for the other. Except one. Jacob Lee has a terrible fear of needles. While Donathan is covered in tattoos, each one representing an important life event, Jacob Lee has been afraid to get even one.

Jacob Lee has decided that for Donathan’s 29th birthday, he will get his first tattoo as a surprise gift to his lover. He contacts the tattoo parlor that Donathan has used and sets up an appointment for a tour, not yet knowing what his tattoo should be.

The couple lives in an old house that has been converted into apartments. In order to get a discount on their rent, they agree to clean out the basement, which contains decades of belongings left behind by previous tenants.

The evening after he makes the phone call to the tattoo parlor, Jacob Lee and Donathan spend some time working on the basement project. They come across an old ledger and sketchbook from the 1860s. Donathan loves old things like this. While he is busy looking at the ledger, Jacob Lee is looking at the sketchbook. He finds it is full of images of two male lovers. In the drawings, he finds what he wants to put on his body as his first tattoo.

One of the sketches was the initials of the two men contained in the heart of a claddagh ring. Jacob Lee decides to have his and Donathans initials put into the heart and have it tattooed over his own heart. It will tell the story of his and Donathan;s love for one another.

That night in bed, Jacob Lee asks Donathan to tell him the story of the storm cloud tattooed on his hip. Ms. Okati uses this opportunity to explain the story of their chance meeting. Afterward, Jacob Lee can’t keep his secret any longer. Donathan decides to accompany Jacob Lee to the tattoo parlor.

It seems that the manager of the tattoo parlor has heard all about Jacob Lee from Donathan. She has also been trying to talk Donathan, who is quite an accomplished artist, into coming on staff as an apprentice. Donathan helps ready the supplies for Jacob Lee’s first foray into body art, including shaving Jacob Lee’s chest.

We learn in the epilogue that Donathan does accept the position at the tattoo parlor. As he nears the end of his training, he is ready to do his first solo tattoo; on Jacob Lee.

Ms. Okati beautifully shows us how deeply these two men love one another. I would have liked more of a story. This was meant to be a short, and it has all the necessary parts, but I found it lacking. Recommended as a sweet, but short read.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Tattoo You here:

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