REVIEW: Flat Whites & Chocolate Fish – Jay Hogan

Flat Whites & Chocolate Fish - Jay Hogan

Genre: Contemporary Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

ADRIAN POWELL has a secret, a secret he’s guarded for 17 years. But it’s come at a cost—few friends, fewer lovers and a lifetime of loneliness. If he’s a bit grumpy and a tad pessimistic, who can blame him? So, exactly how he’s ended up with a bunch of nosy friends, a beautiful lakeside cottage and a successful business, is beyond him.
It’s a life he never imagined, and one that includes a problematic new neighbour, NIALL CARMICHAEL–an irritating, equally grumpy, sexy as hell silver fox, who kisses like a dream, shakes every one of Adrian’s walls, and who might just prove Adrian’s undoing.
But secrets have a way of catching up with you. And when Adrian’s past comes knocking, it might just threaten everything he’s built.

The Review

I hate to make a quick judgement, but “Flat Whites & Chocolate Fish” is my favorite so far from the “Southern Lights” series. Adrian Powell has been a character of mystery since he was introduced in the first novel “Powder & Pavlova”.  I’m glad that Jay Hogan gave Adrian his own story – it really opens up the door to a unique character.  

Adrian Powell is the man that works magic with coffee beans.  He’s also got a hidden talent at being an author.  He’s very much a loner and treasures his privacy along with his companion Zafa.  He’s stubborn in his own way and he still has a fear that comes in the way of an estranged family.

Niall Carmichael is all big-business-property-buyer.  He has no time for relationships or family. He’s stubborn, he’s been hurt and he carries a lot of guilt with himt.  He kept his mind on business to give his former ex everything, but not the companionship needed in their marriage.  But Niall also took his job too far when it came to a loving family. 

Both Adrian and Niall have different views about their age difference, privacy, love, family, trust and sharing themselves with others.  Niall is trying to make up for lost time with his family.  Adrian is hiding a secret, not only to protect himself but those around him.  When his ugly past comes back to haunt him, everyone connected to Adrian is now in danger.

Hogan knows how to work magic when it comes to breaking the mold with her characters.  As Adrian’s story unfolds, there’s there’s a new understanding about him and his life.  As for Niall, his life is shaken up when feelings start to awaken for Adrian.  I like the banter and the battle that Hogan has created with Adrian and Niall.  The thing that really stands out about Adrian was how Jay Hogan made him the “wizard of words”.

Hogan also brings some former and new characters into the mix – Tanner and Ethan, Kurt, Stef and Cass, and Elle – and Tomas also makes an appearance.    We also see Niall’s sister Kim, nephew Chris and niece Hayley, Niall’s Dad Derek and Rarotongan mum, Lottie who is a fire cracker. And Niall’s best friend Max is very interesting. 

As I think about why this is my favorite, it’s the difference from the previous books – “Powder & Pavlova” and “Tamarillo Tart”.   “Flat Whites & Chocolate Fish” is packed with emotions, suspenseful with a touch of action and mystery. It kept me on edge and was a page-turner for me.  No hints on the next book in the “Southern Lights” series, but I’m sure it will be a wonderful surprise!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.  

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