Alina Popescu, Writer

Home for the Holidays Blog Tour Stop: Review & Excerpt

Home for the Holidays Blog Tour Stop: Review & Excerpt
December 03
19:45 2013

I just love holiday themed everything! Music, movies, and books. That is why Home for the Holidays was a very exciting read for me. Plus there’s a sexy musician and his even hotter boyfriend that you got to meet in Lori Toland’s The Replacement Guitarist. Before we start though, a little more about the book:

Jason Stockton and Blaze Shinozuka are looking forward to escaping their hectic rock and roll lifestyle for a relaxing holiday. Their plan seems promising, and the passion between them burns hotter than ever as they keep each other warm despite the icy temperatures.

When a surprise Stockton family get-together threatens to reveal what Jason would rather keep hidden, their budding relationship is put to the test and an impromptu trip to Hawaii makes the differences between them more obvious than ever.

Thanks to two chaotic family holidays and a lot of painful secrets, Christmas could end up being more than their new found love can endure.

And *NEW* The Journey Onward…

Getting back from paradise and being alone is exactly what Jason and Blaze need to build their relationship and break down the barriers between them but nothing is ever that simple. Being in LA means back to work for Jason and Blaze gets a sample of what life will be like as Jason’s partner.

Can loving each other be enough to keep them together? Blaze is finding out how much work goes into keeping a relationship alive and in their darkest hour, they will have to stand united as partners to weather a storm that could devastate their future.

My Review

The one thing we tend to think of when it comes to holidays is time with our family. But families are in no way easy on a new relationship. Lori Toland managed to wonderfully prove a family’s acceptance of a relationship does make a stress free first meeting. While the Stockton family has absolutely no problem with Blaze and Jason dating, they still don’t think twice about barging in and drilling poor Blaze as only families can do.

Blaze’s family on the other hand have been only recently introduced to the reality of his sexuality and are not that eager to embrace his sexuality. The two Grandmothers in the story are a pleasure to read! Both extremely strong and colorful women, both ready to fight for those they love.

What the reader gets is a front seat row at Blaze and Jason’s interaction with a horde of people and problems, all putting quite a lot of pressure on their relationship. While it may seem they have been dating for a while (a little over half a year), the truth is they are still very much in the get-to-know-you phase. Blaze has been touring and they have seen very little of each other. Add a little travel between New York, LA, and Hawaii, and you have a nice little cranky mood to make the fireworks pop.

Home for the Holidays400x600The story is steamy, real, and funny at times and anyone who has ever had to introduce a significant other to their family (and yes, most families are a little crazy), will completely relate with the experiences in the book.

Blaze and Jason learn how to handle their now extended family and each other, how to communicate better, and how to focus on what’s important in their lives. Their careers, the threat of more long months spent apart, questions about the future, and wounds from the past will all be thrown at them, along with the relatives, sometimes not giving them too long to learn how to deal with it all.

A little taste of the story

Lori Toland has shared an excerpt of the book with us and I have to say it was one of my favorite scenes (also something I wanted to do when I was in NYC). So enjoy!

When Blaze reached the street, a horse drawn carriage like the ones he’d seen in Central Park was parked in front of the restaurant. Jason gestured for him to get in and he cocked his eyebrow. “A horse-drawn carriage. Really?”

Jason grinned. “I’ve always wanted to go on one but I’ve never had the chance to.”

“You’re kidding, right? A hot guy like you couldn’t rope a date into going with you?” Blaze teased.

Jason ducked his head. “There wasn’t anyone I wanted to take with me before you.”

Blaze grinned, honored by the gesture. “Really? Well, then I feel special.”

Jason got in and offered his hand to Blaze to help him into the carriage. Blaze smiled, getting in and settling down onto the leather seats. “Are you sure it’s okay for us to do this?”

Jason frowned. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

Blaze shrugged as Jason settled into the seat next to him. The driver gave her order to the horses and they set off. Once the carriage rolling smoothly, she glanced over her shoulder at them. “There are some wool blankets if you need them. It’s supposed to snow tonight.”

Jason reached for them but Blaze caught his hand. “I’m allergic to wool, Jase. Besides, I don’t think I need it. My coat is lined.”

Jason leaned over and whispered, “I think she told us that so we could snuggle under the blanket.”

“Oh… well, in that case….” Blaze grinned, and when Jason pulled back and returned the smile, a thrill of happiness ran through him. Jason threaded their fingers together, and tucked the blanket around their bodies, being careful so it didn’t touch Blaze’s bare skin.

Blaze looked around at the buildings as they made their way toward Central Park, the hoofbeat of the horses creating a rhythm of its own. Jason squeezed his hand through his lined gloves, and he looked over at his lover. “Having fun?”

Blaze nodded. “Are you?”

Jason reached up with his other hand and cupped Blaze’s cheek. “Yeah.”

He smiled as Jason leaned in. Their lips met in a gentle, unhurried kiss and when he pulled back, Jason trailed his gloved thumb over Blaze’s cheek. He leaned in again, and this time he slid his tongue in to meet Jason’s, and he moved closer to his partner.

Blaze felt something against his cheek, and he reached up to brush it away with his finger. Nothing could distract him right now, not when Jason sucked on his bottom lip gently. Blaze sighed softly, and reached beneath the thick material of Jason’s jacket to pull him close.

Something else brushed against his cheek. It must have been his hair and he tried to make a mental note to get a haircut, though Jason drove away the thought with another kiss. He felt the sensation again, and he pulled away from his boyfriend to brush the strands out of his face.

Jason opened his eyes a fraction but Blaze barely noticed. Snowflakes stood stark white against Jason’s dark curls before they melted. He grinned. “Jase, look! It’s snowing.”

Jason looked toward the sky and his smile took Blaze’s breath away. When Jason looked back, his eyes were shining as the snowflakes melted along his impossibly long eyelashes. “Perfect,” Jason said softly.

About the author

CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

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Twitter: @loritoland


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Buy Links

Home For The Holidays:


The Replacement Guitarist


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About Author

Alina Popescu

Alina Popescu

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