Duo Review | Half Moon Bay

M/M Contemporary Romance
 Dreamspinner PressOctober 12, 2016

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About the Book: Deacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

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What I Loved

Easy.

I loved all the twists and turns.  Rhys Ford really knows where to cut the chapters.  It almost reminded me of my old Nancy Drew mysteries with each chapter leaving off at the height of a pivotal moment, either a spike of adrenaline because something was being blown up or shot at, or because Deacon and Lang were being romantic.  Even though the story wasn’t perfect, those chapters refused to let me down.

I also think Rhys Ford is good at writing affection and mutual respect.  Deacon and Lang were really kind and good to each other, and I love that in my romance novels.  I much prefer balance to the emotional roller coasters we usually see in contemporary.

Finally, I thought Zig was absolutely adorable, yet she broke my heart.  There are a lot of stories that have a child in them, but often that child becomes a prop, lacking depth of their own.  That wasn’t the case with Zig.  She popped off the page almost more than Deacon and Lang.

Where I Struggled

The mystery was a bit all over the place.  I couldn’t tell if Rhys Ford actually played all this out in her head beforehand, like an outline, or if she just wrote it with a roll of the dice.  It wasn’t a bad mystery, it just wasn’t particularly inspired.

Also, while an occasional insta-love is tolerable, what we want is to read and witness the characters slow descent into love.  I do love Rhys Ford’s affection, but unfortunately when Deacon is talking about how he’d know the feel of Lang’s body anywhere, and it’s only been a week, the cynic in me starts to roll my eyes.

Conclusion

Despite my problems with Fish Stick Fridays I still really enjoyed the read.  I don’t have any qualms about moving on the sequel.

Thank goodness, because that would have messed up this Duo Review post!


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About the Book: Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

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What I Struggled With

Unfortunately there was less I loved about Hanging the Stars.  I was really hoping to like this one as much as the first, but unfortunately I was underwhelmed.  Neither mystery was stellar, but in Fish Stick Fridays I found myself caught up in the adrenaline of it all.  I was hooked as each chapter ended on a cliffhanger, making me dive right into the next.  With Hanging the Stars it all felt that much more contrived.  Nothing felt natural about the rhythm.

The romance between Angel and West also felt so rushed.  Normally stories of reconnection can jump start a faster romance novel, but in this case there wasn’t any build up at all.  It was instantaneous, and not in the sexy way.

Lastly, West hired a bodyguard who didn’t actually guard his body.  It seems like he was never actually around.  No wonder they were in so much trouble constantly.

What I Loved

I loved Roman as much as I loved Zig.  Rome’s relationship with Angel was really sweet.  There’s something so special about sibling or parental relationships, and when they’re well written it can make the whole story.

I also loved the little glimpse we got of Lang and Deke, because I just loved them both so much in the first book.  I love that I didn’t have to completely say goodbye to the both of them, and Zig.

Conclusion

If she continues with the series, I’d read more.  I’d love to read a book about Montague.  I like the way West and Angel described him.  He’s intriguing.


Thank you to Dreamspinner Press for providing copies of both books, in exchange for an honest review.

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About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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