Bluewater Bay #DelightedBytheSeries

Bluewater Bay #DelightedBytheSeries

Bluewater Bay

Lights, camera, action!  A small town on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula is the setting for a popular paranormal TV series that becomes the background for a new series of romances written by multiple authors.  I enjoyed this set up in another series so I was eager to try it again with this story.

I had the opportunity to listen to the first two books back to back so chose them for a series review.  I’ll do a quick rundown of both with my thoughts.

Bluewater Bay #DelightedBytheSeriesStarstruck by L.A. Witt

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Series: Bluewater Bay #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide on April 29, 2016
Length: 7 hours 1 min
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars      four-flames

The story begins when former movie actor, Levi Pritchard is approached by an old friend who is the director of the blockbuster TV series that is being filmed in his small town.  She, and the producer, offer him the role of the bad guy.  Levi has always wanted to play a role with depth instead of just the hunky action hero and this offer is tantalizing, but he moved to a small backwater town far from Hollywood for a reason.  He hates jumping through all the hoops and always hiding he is bi-sexual, but won’t come out.  He has his reasons and his dysfunctional family is top on the list.

Carter, the openly gay star of the show, has idolized Levi since he was a teen.  Levi is the reason he got into acting and the reason he chose to come out as gay.  Carter can barely keep his mind on his job knowing that Levi is considering a part on the show.  A friendship blooms and the hint of something more.  Carter knows that friends is all it can be because he will never hide in the closet for any man and Levi will never come out about himself and now he can’t if he wants a comeback shot at acting in the show.  Hopeless, right?

This was a slow moving friends to lovers story.  The conflict is essentially about Levi and Carter being true to themselves and honest with everyone else.  Levi has his reasons, but as he gets that his reasons will never make him happy and may lose him a chance at love, it comes to a crisis point.  Up until that crisis, the story meanders.  The romance had the opportunity to get really angsty what with Levi holding back and Carter holding nothing back, but it didn’t.  I enjoyed that these were adults acting like adults well other than a few moments that I wanted to smack Levi to get over trying to please people who were never going to be pleased.  The pace is sluggish, no doubt, but I still enjoyed the story, the characters, and their backdrop of acting and the small town.

On a side note, Levi’s cats stole the scene every single time.  They were his pals, but their little personalities and antics made me laugh and smile.  I wanted to swoon a bit when they stuck by him when he was going through his crisis moment.

Bluewater Bay #DelightedBytheSeriesThere’s Something About Ari by L.B. Gregg

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Series: Bluewater Bay #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide on May 9, 2016
Length: 2 hours 41 min
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars      three-flames

The second installment focuses on town resident, Buck Ellis, and returning ‘made good’ town prodigal, Ari Valentine.  Buck and Ari were best friends since grade school.  Buck lost his dad and Ari had a drugged out mom.  Ari went a bit wild in high school and then left without looking back on the day Buck lost his mom and became the guardian of his kid brother, Charlie.  Buck’s future was promising, but he did what he had to do only now he feels his life is on hold and all the good chances have passed him by.  Into this walks Ari.

Buck doesn’t know what to do with this new version and he struggles to reconcile with the past.  Anger and hurt have him off balance and lashing out.  But then he listens and gives Ari a chance to explain.  Buck now has a choice if he can get past his fear and the past stuff tying him down.

This was both a story I enjoyed, but also struggled with.  Buck can be a jerk.  He had it tough, no doubt and no argument, but he wears it like it is some martyr’s hair shirt and he’s the only one who has ever suffered and lost.  Then there was the rushed ending.  It was a happy for now.  I was left with questions and needed more resolution after some of the things.

But, that said, I loved the idea of childhood friends finally getting a chance and the prodigal son returned to make good.  I loved Buck and Charlie bach-ing it together and trying to keep what’s left of their family.  I thought the tough and honest reunion scenes were heartaching just as Buck getting busted as a peeping Tom cracked me up.  A pretty good story and left me pretty well pleased.

The audio narrator for both books, Nick Russo, was a familiar voice and is always a welcome element to the story.   I enjoy his work because he makes a story come alive in my mind.  Each character is distinct and he gets the tone and pace just right.

So, all in all this new Bluewater Bay series has promise.  I enjoyed the gently paced simple story and can easily recommend it to others who enjoy m/m contemporary romance.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #176 LGBT
Audio #20

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • yay to friends to lovers! I love those type of romances 😉

    • Me, too! And I liked that she took the time to really convince me that they were friends and could be more. It was nice.

  • I think I have Starstruck in paperback. I think I got it as a freebie at RT last year. I haven’t read it yet. I still want to read it. Glad you enjoyed them. I also didn’t realize they were on audio. I might have to pick them up to try. A shame I can’t get the Whispersync discount with my paperback. LOL 🙂

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Hey, yes, I like that idea of having audio with a paper copy purchase. 🙂
      Fun that you got it as part of your convention goodies.

  • Sounds like it’ll be a good series. I like friends to lovers type stories.

    • It does sound promising at least two books in. And the friends to lovers really works for me, too. I like how it usually helps me believe in the relationship more and it can be fun instead of conflict all the time.

  • Friends to Lovers is always one of the best tropes to read. This does sound like a great set to read. And it sounds like it has a great pace too which is always a plus.

    • It was definitely a nice fit for my mood of wanting an easy read/listen with enough conflict to make it interesting. Definitely for those who want good relationship and small town. Loved that both were an aspect of friends to lovers- agreed, great trope! 🙂

  • A good narrator really make a difference. I will have to look for Nick Russo. This sounds promising but I don’t like the fact that the first book lacks some focus at the start. Great review!

    Carole @ Carole’s Random Life

    • They are slower builds so there won’t necessarily be that early on grab-you in scene. But they are nice for a lazy day or while doing the chores and wanting a little distraction.

  • Those series written by multiple authors van be fun. I have read a few of those. I love a good friends to lovers story, so the set-up of the first book would work for me. I am glad to hear it didn’t get too angsty and the characters acted like adult. And pets can be a fun addition to a series when they have their own personalities.

    The second one seems to have a fun set-up as well, but that’s too bad about the Buck’s behavior, that type of behavior always annoys me a bit. Even if others haven’t been through the same as them, that isn’t to mean their struggles don’t matter. And I am not a fan of when too many thins don’t get wrapped up.Great reviews and I hope you’ll enjoy the third book as well!

    • Yes, it is neat to see the changes with each book that a different author’s writing style brings to the table and yet there are similarities b/c they are writing about the same setting and have the characters crossing over.

      Both had good friends themes and had some good things happening. I think it is the mystery lover in me that has to have all the answers if the story is done. 🙂 I hope I like the other books, too. I have read a book further in this series that actually didn’t work for me, but not all these earlier ones.